Name: Claudia Chan
Job Title and Description: Founder, ClaudiaChan.com, a new media voice sharing the wisdom of remarkable women
College/Major: Smith College, Government & International Relations, Class 97
Twitter Handle: @claudiachan
HC: What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?
- Defining business growth phases & strategic plans for each phase
- Leading and empowering my team which is divided into several departments: Content & Editorial Production, Strategic Partnerships & Marketing, Events & Operations
- Typical of any entrepreneur in a startup phase, and especially since we launched this month, I have my hands in just about everything but am mostly focused on strategic partnerships which is my favorite of all the roles
- Always championing our mission and marketing the brand as ClaudiaChan.com are made up of my personal values of affecting positive change for women
HC: What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?
CC: It was my first job after graduating college in 1997 as International Sales & Marketing Assistant at W.W. Norton & Company – the publishing house famous at that time for trade title like The Perfect Storm and Trainspotting, as well as college titles Norton Anthologies. I found the job listing online and straight out applied for it. Looking back, it’s probably one of the few opportunities in my life that I did not need to network myself into.
HC: What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?
CC: My industry is media and I would say there are two things:
- Content is king and queen
- It’s critical to define the mission you want to achieve with your content and brand (i.e. what problem is it solving, void it is filling and audience it is serving?). These answers should be baked into your mission. Without this information you cannot develop a strong brand strategy.
HC: Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?
CC: There are several. My father taught me how to be more comfortable in taking financial risk; and to focus my energy more on making the money than spending it.
My mother taught me the significance of relationship building, relentless hard work, and that entrepreneurship was the only career to have. She’d say “to own my independence, I need to own my business.”
My fiancé has helped me look more at the half glass “full” and have more gratitude and acknowledgment for all of my achievements.
HC: What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
CC: I believe life’s obstacles are disguised blessings because they force us to learn more about ourselves and take steps towards positive change.
HC: What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
CC: I used to “react” to challenging situations with defensiveness or intense effort. Over the years, I have learned a better way of handling these situations is to pause, breathe and receive the situation first. When you are less in a reactionary state, you can better devise a plan to solve your problems.
HC: What is the best part of your job?
CC: I get to interview today’s most inspirational women leaders, visionaries and change makers like Christy Turlington, Susan Sobbott, and Jennifer Buffet — it doesn’t get much better than that! We have over 100 interviews with remarkable women on ClaudiaChan.com right now and I am looking forward to growing this women’s lifestyle platform into the largest online archives of women wisdom that is timelessly entertaining and empowering. Ted.com focused on in ideas worth spreading, we focus on women wisdom worth sharing.
HC: What do you look for when considering hiring someone?
CC: Passion for our mission, rainmaker skills where we need rainmaking, positive energy, excellent communication skills, and accountability.
HC: What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
CC: You have a level of fearlessness in your 20s because you don’t have much to lose and only everything to gain. Take advantage of that fearlessness and tremendous energy to achieve your dream but do it with humbleness, knowing you are learning more about the business and yourself as you go along. As you do so, define values you will live and work by that will affect positive change for others and yourself.