Industry Views - January 2013

Gersh Defines Keys To Career Success

In December 2012, former president and ceo of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Lisa Gersh, spoke at LIM College in New York City as part of its CEO Roundtable Series. Gersh’s rich background includes 15 years in corporate law, and stints as president of strategic initiatives at NBC, managing director of the Weather Channel Companies for NBC Universal, president and chief operating officer of Oxygen Media, and founder of the law firm Friedman Kaplan & Seiler LLP.

She cited these keys to success that can apply to anyone’s career:

• To be a good manager or leader, you must listen.
“Smart people can kill ideas quickly. It’s easy to say ‘no’ to someone else’s idea,” Gersh explains. “It’s harder to say ‘yes’. Learn to listen hard and to play with other people’s ideas to make them better.”

• Always be honest about what you know
and don’t know. When confronted by a colleague with information she doesn’t understand, Gersh is not afraid to say, “Explain it to me.”

“I’m a fraternal twin,” she states, “and although some twins can be competitive, I believe in allowing a twin to be the best person she can be and not letting sibling rivalry get in the way.

“That also happens to be one quality of good managers—they don’t compete with their staffs. They acknowledge that people offer different skill sets and collaborate to achieve the best results.”

• Choose a career that reflects what you are passionate about and let your passions inform your choices along the way.
“Work is really a series of problems that need to be solved,” says Gersh. “You spend your day figuring out the problems and proceeding to solve them. Being passionate about your work will help it feel a little bit more like playing golf and a little less like drudgery.

“And realize that you can quit a job if you can’t solve the problems it presents and if you no longer want to do it,” Gersh states. “I loved being a lawyer and started my career at a large firm, but I knew I needed more control over my destiny,” she reveals. So she and five friends started their own small law firm.

Stay Tuned For More About LIM College
Michael Londrigan, interim dean of Academic Affairs and chair of the Fashion Merchandising Dept., LIM College, moderated the presentation and revealed that LIM will launch a Home Fashions Program in Fall 2013. He stated that often their graduates begin careers in home fashions rather than in apparel fashion, so it is the right time for LIM to be better preparing students for future careers in the home sector.


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