Name: Brittany Geragotelis
Job Title and Description: Managing Editor of American Cheerleader magazine; I assign, edit and write articles for four separate publications, interview celebrities, and run photo shoots across the U.S. for an audience of 1.2 million teen athletes.
College/Major: Washington State University; majored in communications with an emphasis in journalism and a minor in English
Website: Work web: americancheerleader.com; personal web: brittanythebookslayer.blogspot.com
Social Media: I’m on Youtube: youtube.com/thebookslayer
Her Campus: What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?
Brittany Geragotelis: As Managing Editor of American Cheerleader, I run all day-to-day operations of the magazine: assigning articles, handling budgets, and editing features. I also write all our cover stories, celebrity features, our review section, run all of our photo shoots, and handle the magazine’s PR/publicity campaigns.
In terms of a typical day, it changes up, but when I’m in the office, I get in around 8:30 AM, go through my e-mails, make sure my staff is on point with upcoming deadlines, go into meetings with our publisher to help shape the image of the magazine, write upcoming features for print as well as original features for the web, answer reader feedback, etc. My day usually ends between 5:30 and 6:30 PM.
On non-typical days, I help line up our cover girls, choose our celebrity spotlights, run our celebrity shoots and come up with ways for the magazine to be covered by the mainstream media (like getting “Access Hollywood” to cover the magazine by going to cheer camp with the Jenner girls and getting our magazine on shows like “Glee” or in the "Bring it On" movies). As a manager, I spend most of my day in meetings and do my interviews and writing assignments before and after work.
HC: What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?
BG: I actually did my internship for American Cheerleader the summer before my senior year of college and the company said that if I wanted a job after I graduated to come back. So, without anything concrete lined up (I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this), I moved to NYC after graduation and my company said that they would put me in a part-time position until something full-time opened up. Luckily, the front desk position opened up a few days before I started and I was able to start full-time right away. Though I mostly answered phones and ran errands for the first year, I made myself indispensible to the company and worked my way up. Now, 10 years later, I’m managing editor of a national publication!
HC: What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?
BG: How political it can be. Not just within the magazine industry, but within the cheerleading industry. Of course, with the economy being what it is now, the lines between editorial and advertising have been blurred over the years. Unfortunately, this is how it is across the board in publishing, and although I think most journalists wish this wasn’t the case, as an industry we have to adapt with the times in order to stay afloat.
The other thing I wish I’d known is where the industry was headed. When I was in school over 10 years ago, no one could have foreseen that so much of publishing would be online now. Not that publishing is becoming obsolete; just that it’s morphing into a bigger entity and having knowledge of the online world has become so important to a potential employer. The number one advice I give to all our interns is that they must take as many internet/social media classes as possible while they’re in college. Having basic knowledge of html, blogging and social media like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter is almost a requirement when it comes to publishing…and for most jobs for that matter.
HC: Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?
BG: My editors-in-chief. Both of these women challenged me while having the faith in me to do my job. I made plenty of mistakes along the way, but they each had patience with me and set great examples as women with integrity, intelligence and strength.
HC: What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
BG: Everything happens for a reason. I’ve said this phrase in the past, but it wasn’t until recently that I really began to understand what it meant and started to apply it to my life. I like to think I know what’s best for me and how my life is supposed to turn out, but I’m realizing lately that I’m not that all-knowing. So, if something in my life doesn’t happen the way I think it should, I try to remind myself that it’s all happening according to a plan that’s so much better and bigger than the one I could come up with for myself. If you think that way, then you let a lot the results go and life becomes a lot less stressful.
In terms of business, my boss gave me some great advice when I ran into some difficulties dealing with the attitudes and actions of some of the people I managed. She told me that I have to pick my battles. Now I try not to freak out over every little thing and only focus on the big stuff. Do I want to be happy or do I want to be right?
HC: What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
BG: I think we all go through a time-period where we’re learning what it means to be a professional adult in a job environment. I went through my own struggles with understanding what was expected of me as an employee in terms of appearance, action, language, job performance, etc. This takes some time to develop and I think most bosses understand that and will wait for you to grow up emotionally (at least, this is what I experienced), as long as you’re constantly a work in progress. As an employee, you can combat this growth period by watching how your superiors act/dress and working toward that. It doesn’t mean you need to be a clone or a kiss-up, but you can pick up a lot of helpful clues on how to succeed from those who have been there and worked their ways up the ranks themselves.