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How She Got There: Randi Zuckerberg, CEO & Founder of Zuckerberg Media

Name: Randi Zuckerberg 
Job Title and Description: CEO + Founder of Zuckerberg Media    
College Name/Major: Harvard University / Psychology
Website: Zuckerberg Media 
Instagram/Twitter Handle: @randizuckerberg

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

RZ: A typical day for me is anything but typical. I could be traveling to China to give a keynote speech one day, then leaving the next morning to set up Sue’s Tech Kitchen, our pop-up restaurant. Or I could be voicing the piano teacher in our Kidscreen award-winning animated show, DOT, one morning then heading down to Taco Bell HQ for a brainstorming session later that afternoon. So, there’s no such thing as typical for me. But I do wake up and go to bed (usually) every day, so those are definite (maybe) constants in my life.

What is the best part of your job?

RZ: It’s a two-fold love of what I do. I’m happiest when I’m traveling around the world, meeting new people, and I love giving speeches about how I got to where I am now and how others can too. I’m lucky to do both often––sometimes even 18 times in a month (which happened in August)!

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

RZ: Out of college, I was hired at rock-star advertising corporation Ogilvy and Mather in their brand-spanking new digital marketing department––something that no one had really explored yet back then. I wanted to work on celebrity campaigns instead and was so bummed about my new role. Little did I know it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because A) I wasn’t merely fetching coffee like my ground floor co-workers in the A-List campaign department and B) It led me to get called up to Facebook for what would forever change my career trajectory. Who knew my first entry-level job would start the foundation for my career today? 

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

RZ: I subscribe to a theory I call, “The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma.” Essentially, from the five buckets of life––work, sleep, family, fitness, and friends––we pick only three to focus on each day, which leads us to more fulfilled, focused, successful (yet lopsided) lives. This allows us to break free of the unattainable work/life balance hooey that puts added stress on our already complicated lives. Pick Three has definitely helped shape how I get things done without the pressure of being perfect.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

RZ: Only one!? I learn from all my mistakes, thankfully. I can always take away a nugget of valuable information from any roadblocks and challenges I’ve hit. But if I have to choose only one, I think my most memorable mistake was my failed Bravo reality show. There were many things that led to its downfall, but in the process, I learned how television production works and the protocol necessary to make a successful show. I brought this knowledge into my Kidscreen award-winning show, DOT, and now have a successful model to work from. I couldn’t be more grateful to have failed fast in television. 

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

RZ: I created Facebook Live during a late night hackathon session at Facebook. From there we had Katy Perry announce her new tour on the platform, hosted President Obama’s re-election Town Hall, and now FB Live is used by BILLIONS of people around the world. If you would’ve told me that something I created out of the intersection of my own two passions (meeting people and public speaking), I wouldn’t have believed it. It’s surreal when I walk down the NYC streets and see people using FB Live or when people around the world use FB Live to film me at one of my speeches. I love how life always seems to connect the dots in ways I never thought imaginable.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

RZ: I make sure any prospective employee is well-rounded in their interests and that they have a lot of them. This way we’re fostering creativity and innovation without having to specifically require it on an application. The more enjoyment a person has in their life, the more they will have to offer when it comes to implementing big ideas. Creativity and imagination are skills that cannot be learned. I look for people who innately foster being interesting. 

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?   

RZ: Get a mentor! They don’t have to be a pie-in-the-sky mentor like Oprah or Michelle Obama (though how great would that be!?), but someone you look up to who is attainable and has the time to answer a few emails and questions from time to time. Think women in the career you wish to go into, or those that already hold your dream position. Use your 20s to build a strong peer network through mentors and networking events. Meet other like-minded women in your industry now! It will pay off in the long run. 

What’s the one thing that’s stood out to you the most in a resume?

RZ: Social media has empowered us with so many [creative] tools – I like people [who] get creative with these when they apply for a job, going beyond the typical written resume: Making a video, showing a portfolio of work, an app, etc. Anything that blends tech, creativity, computer skills and a passion for their work will always catch my eye.

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Claire Biggerstaff is a senior at Davidson College where she's pursuing a major in English. Since her sophomore year, she's been heavily involved with Her Campus and has written for her school's chapter, interned with Her Campus Media, and eventually became the Editor in Chief of her home chapter. Her work as also appeared on publications like Babe.net and The Odyssey. When she's not researching news stories or holding editing workshops with her writers, you can find her enjoying an episode of The X-Files and thinking about how much she loves autumn.