Friday, June 12, 2009

Share: Fran Hauser at the Leadership Breakfast Series by Christa Babcock

Fran Hauser, President of Digital for the Time Inc. Style and Entertainment Group,was interviewed by Cheryl Darmanin, Sr. Director of Account Management at Yahoo, at Yahoo as the first speaker for an exclusive Mentors/Mentees breakfast meeting series at Yahoo on June 9th. Fran oversees all business, sales, product development and production functions for the digital products of the PEOPLE Brand, Entertainment Weekly, In Style and Essence. She joined PEOPLE Digital as General Manager in February 2006. She shared incredible insights into the life of a leader, and how one can grow into a leadership role, and answered questions from the floor. Below are questions and answers from the event. If you didn’t make it to the event and have questions for Fran, please blog them here. Fran has graciously volunteered to answer a few questions and the mentoring committee will make selections by Monday, June 22nd.

Q: I think a lot of people have parents that guide them into or away from certain careers. Tell me a little bit about your childhood, growing up and how that impacted your career today?

A: Growing up, I got great guidance right at home. My parents were actually both new to this country from Italy. They didn’t speak a word of English, so there I was as a child, making the phone calls if something needed to be fixed in the house, and helping to take on that more adult role. As for the career I chose, I remember in college that they were fine with me studying business and pursuing finance. They didn’t think it was a bad thing, at all. However, I also saw both of my parents work incredibly hard and despite the language barrier, I saw them succeed. Just watching them do that gave me huge motivation to succeed, as well.

Q: What do you look for in a leader – whether you are hiring externally or promoting from within? Why is that important to you?

A: At Time, all of the leaders have one characteristic in common; they exude a quiet confidence. As leaders, we ask ‘am I projecting confidence as a leader even during a tough time?’ Quiet confidence, not aggressive confidence. Watch people during difficult situations.

Q: How do you manage work/life balance?

A: Scheduling. I schedule time for philanthropy and for time for my family. Every Sunday to this day, I see my family. We spend time together. At first you say, ‘Oh. I’m going to get back on Monday and have 200 e-mails, so let me just get some of that done now.’ But then you realize that you get sucked into that and that it is, in fact, okay to wait until Monday. By scheduling that time, you can make sure that you fulfill your work life balance. It is important not to get sucked into the weeds.

Q: You are a board member of the Women’s Leadership Foundation. Tell me about that organization and why is it important to you?

A: The goal of The Women’s Leadership Foundation, which works primarily in New Jersey and New York City is to help girls in Urban areas, who wouldn’t otherwise be able to, get into college. We provide Financial Aid and Scholarships. When the Executive Director first met with me, she said it was important to make sure I was only on one Board and that this was it and I liked that. The girls who participate in this program would never have a chance to go to college. It makes me cry to think about it and it is amazing to see what they accomplish.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: Thinking about building products that excite and delight in what consumers want!