How She Got There: Lisa Lillien, Founder of Hungry Girl

Name: Lisa Lillien
Job Title and Description: Founder, Hungry Girl
College Name/Major: University at Albany/Communications
Instagram Handle: @hungrygirl

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

LL: Running Hungry Girl is different almost every day. Sometimes I’m traveling for work, doing TV appearances or on a book tour. Other times I’m working from Hungryland, our headquarters. On the days that I'm in town and working from Hungryland, we're typically developing and testing recipes, tasting and evaluating new food products, writing and editing copy for daily emails, HG magazine and more.

What is the best part of your job?

LL: I love so many things about my job, but the best part for sure is meeting Hungry Girl fans and interacting with them. That’s why I love my book tours so much. I have been on 12 book tours and they’re super fun, energizing and a great way to connect with and get to know fans!

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

LL: I started out in entertainment by doing a full-time paid internship at an entertainment magazine while I was a senior in college. I got that internship simply by reaching out and calling them.  That actually led to my being hired as Editor-in-Chief of that publication after I graduated from college. I highly recommend internships. They’re so helpful, challenging and great for networking.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

LL: One of my bosses once said to me, "Worry is interest paid up front on a debt that may never come due…" I love that quote! It's so true! Also, my dad always told me, "Loose lips sink ships." Also very true.

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

LL: The most surreal moment of my career was definitely the first time I appeared on The View and Barbara Walters was introducing me. At that exact moment I was overcome with emotion and almost started to cry. The thought of my parents watching Barbara Walters introduce me live on national TV was a little overwhelming… and very surreal.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

LL: I look for many things. Intelligence is very important. Also, a good attitude is key… and other things that come to mind are drive, ambition, eagerness to learn, honesty, reliability and a sense of humor. 

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

LL: Be prepared to work hard—and love what you do! Be the first one in the office in the morning and the last one to leave.

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

LL: A solid, well-written, conversational cover letter. 

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