Featured Member: Jennifer Lazarus

Tell us your work story: Who are you and what do you do? 


I am a seasoned digital media professional with 15+ years in content and social media creation and strategy in both the health and wellness and lifestyle categories. I have a proven track record for growing audiences and building retention with unique content and marketing campaigns that bring energy to brands and reach target audiences wherever they are. In my role as Chief Digital Officer, I achieved a 300% growth in audience and revenue for the core digital products while simultaneously building out social media platforms from infancy through maturity, eventually reaching over 1 million engaged users.


What is your proudest professional accomplishment?


In 2013, I was recognized by Folio magazine among the 100 Most Innovative and Influential Professionals in Magazine Media.


What is the hardest challenge you’ve faced, work-wise?


The hardest (and most disheartening) challenge I have ever faced was in the earlier days of my career when I encountered women who wanted to hold me back instead of lift me up. I vowed to never repeat history and have made this a focus of any management position I’ve held.


If you could change one thing about how your given field operates, particularly with regards to women, what would it be and why?


I would want to see more women at the top — in the C-Suite — or seated at the table making big strategy decisions. Women are critical thinkers when it comes to dissecting and understanding audience, and delivering key content to those audiences. In my field, it all comes down to this and we just don’t see enough women filling these roles at big digital media companies. 


What advice do you have for other women looking to make a career change but who are afraid or lack confidence? How is it on the other side? 


Believe that you are as capable as anyone else who has done the same. It’s not an easy road, but you have what it takes. 


Do you have any advice on how to craft a winning pitch?


My approach, for better or for worse, is honesty. In other words, I tell them what I know how to do well and I try to never overreach.   


What continues to draw you to your chosen field and what do you hope to accomplish in the years ahead?


In my field (Digital Media), you are forced to keep up with the latest on everything — so it keeps your mind sharp and au courant. It can also be dizzying. 


What is the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received? 


Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good (because I could).  


Who has been your biggest cheerleader / supporter / mentor?


My biggest supporter was my boss of 12+ years who was the president and CEO of the company. He always believed in me, and promoted me at a very young age. He encouraged my ideas and believed in my abilities. With his confidence and support, I felt like I could do anything, truly. I was very lucky to have him as my ally for so long, and because of him, I had many successes.


How do you negotiate the balance between life and work when you’re the one setting the boundaries? 


This is the toughest challenge and I have to admit I am not so great about it, as hard as I try. I do create a schedule for myself while my kids are in school so I am available after school and in the evenings, but this can sometimes be impossible. I try my best, and hope it all evens out in the end. I don’t know any working parent who doesn’t struggle with this. 


If you could tell your younger self one thing about what this professional journey would be like, what would you tell her? 


Be prepared for a winding path, and all the challenges that come along with it. And, stop worrying so much. 


How do you make work work for you?


I have to like what I am doing enough to make it work for me, otherwise, no matter what I do it simply won’t work. 

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