In 2012, Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin launched The Skimm, a daily newsletter that provides easily digestible news for busy women on the go. Over the past two years The Skimm has grown immensely in popularity and was named by Fast Company as the “must-read newsletter for women.” Weisberg and Zakin are excellent examples of women leaders in both media and entrepreneurship.
What are the three most important characteristics of a woman leader?
Focused, driven, and unafraid.
When do you feel at your best?
Danielle: When I feel balanced — meaning good sleep, workout, a focused to-do list. Also, getting my hair done helps.
Carly: When I see a challenge through. And on Friday nights when I get to watch my favorite shows, eat a good dinner, and sleep!
What did you do in your first year after College?
Danielle: I spent the summer waitressing in my hometown, Chicago. In the early fall, I got a job in the Washington bureau of NBC News. I was a desk assistant so I did everything from field producing at White House and Congressional events to getting coffee or building desks for correspondents.
Carly: I spent the summer watching the Food Network and feeling very unmotivated and scared about job searching. In the fall, I got a job as a production assistant for CNBC. I started work the day that Lehman Brothers crashed–that was called learning on the job.
What does it mean to be a “successful” woman?
Danielle: I think it’s a very personal answer. I don’t think there’s a blanket definition of success. For me, it’s feeling like I accomplished something that I set out to do, and that at the end of the day feeling like I’ve tried to balance my personal and professional life. Not easy.
Carly: I agree that it’s a very personal definition–for me, it’s about pushing and challenging myself in my personal and professional life and finding a way to balance them both, so that I never just talk about work, and never just talk about my personal life. And always keeping a sense of humor.
What challenges do you think women in media face today?
Media is a changing industry, especially on the editorial side. I think it’s very easy to get comfortable and not work on improving your skill set. Media is increasingly becoming more and more of a technically integrated industry so anyone in it needs to be more comfortable with evolving tech tools.
What was your biggest mistake?
Danielle: I think a mistake I’ve seen myself make throughout my career is taking things really personally. I’ve invested myself in any job I’ve had and have felt like jobs were a home with family. The truth is that you go to your job to work, to learn, and to further your own definition of success. But it’s up to you to keep yourself moving forward.
Carly: Letting nerves get in the way of trying new things.
What do you do when you need a moment?
Go for a walk around the block — or have a glass of wine.
Give yourself a compliment.
Danielle: I’ve accomplished an incredible amount in under two years. And I did a great job of waking up early and going to the gym this morning — that was hard. I’m surprised by how tough a question that was!
Carly: I worked really hard to make something I wanted so badly start to happen and I figured out how to pivot my career. I also baked some very good cookies last week.
If you could give “the college you” one piece of advice what would it be?
Danielle: Stop stressing about doing everything perfectly. In the end, you do your best and it all works out as it should.
Carly: You’ll figure it out. Breathe.