Cathie Black

Named one of the most influential women in the business world, Hearst Magazines President Cathie Black has worked her way to the top. She oversees 19 magazines in the United Statesincluding Cosmopolitan, Redbook and O, The Oprah Magazineas well as more than 200 international titles in over 100 countries. For four decades, she has taken the magazine publishing industry by storm, and now she is sharing her business-savvy advice with readers everywhere in her book Basic Black.

Filled with practical advice for business, Basic Black has something for womenand menon every step of the corporate ladder. "I wanted to write a book that would be both kind of coach and mentor, sort of a one-to-one mentoring session," she says. "It's advice. It's tips. It's strategies about how to make your work life more effective, no matter whether you're just starting out or you've kind of moved along the food chain."
Cathie and Oprah

One of the magazines Cathie oversees is very close to Oprah's heartO, The Oprah Magazine! Cathie says she remembers the day when she and Ellen Levine, then-editor of Good Housekeeping, pitched the idea to Oprah in January 1999.

Even though they were told Oprah might not make it to the meeting, Cathie says she and Ellen came fully prepared with a presentationand a video. They visited a mall in Virginia, where they asked women what they would think about an Oprah magazine. "Oh my God, they went crazy. So we had all of this on video for Oprah," Cathie says.

Cathie says they decided to use the video in the presentation to drive the point home. "It immediately engaged her, and then it became a great 45-minute or an hour meeting, and at the end of it, just to keep us on our pins, she said, 'Well, I'm not sure I want to do a magazine but if I do it, I will do it with Hearst,' which is the parent company," Cathie says.

After reflecting on the idea, Oprah decided to go for itand the rest is history. "I'm glad I said yes!" Oprah says.

"Me too!" Cathie says.
Cathie Black meets with the team from O, The Oprah Magazine.

Cathie doesn't just write about successful careers—she has one! Cameras from The Oprah Show follow her on a long, action-packed day.

Watch Watch as Cathie makes her way from photo shoots to glamorous media events!

Sitting in her spacious New York City office, Cathie reflects on how far she has come. "I feel like pinching myself and saying, 'Cathie Black from the south side of Chicago is looking out over the Hudson River, looking up the west side of Manhattan!' And honestly sometimes I feel like I just can't believe this."
Cathie Black

While Cathie's book is full of career advice, it can help stay-at-home moms be on top of their game, too. "So much of this is really universal," she says. "A mom at home is dealing with many of the same pullshow to be in three places at one time? Or how do you just become more effective moms?"

As a mother of two, Cathie says she understands that moms have many tasks to jugglebut they must consider what's important to them. "People say to me, 'Oh, you've got it all,' and I say, 'Yes, on some level,'" she says. "But some days are better than others. Some days it all falls apart. Some days, someone's sick or you've missed a meeting."

No matter their occupation, Cathie says women should examine how they define success for themselves. "[Oprah has] said this foreverit is, 'Live your best life.' Live the best life you can have," she says. "It's not the life that your parents said you should live or your boyfriend. It is saying, 'What do I want? What's going to satisfy me?'"

Finding satisfaction can mean striving for what Cathie calls a "360-degree life"balancing your time among family, career and passions. "At the end of the day, you can love your job, but your job is not going to love you back," Cathie says.
Meredith Barnett says Cathie Black is her mentor.

To be successful at work and at home, Cathie says it helps to have a mentor you can lean on, confide in and learn from. For Meredith Barnett, there was no better mentor than Cathie herself!

Meredith worked with Cathie as an intern in the new digital media group at Hearst while in business school. "Cathie is both a personal mentor, but also a role model for me," Meredith says. "I absolutely look up to her." In fact, she says she was so inspired by Cathie that she felt confident enough to start her own Internet business.

"There's a million reasons not to do any sort of business or any kind of dream that you have. There's always going to be people who say no. There are always going to be people who don't like your idea," Meredith says. "Like Cathie says, just push it forward, push it forward, and don't let anyone say no. I hear Cathie's voice in my head [saying], 'Just be passionate about it.' I do believe that the passion is contagious."
Melanie asks how to be assertive without seeming pushy.

The audience at The Oprah Show is full of young go-getters all with questions for Cathie. Melanie is about to graduate from Northwestern University and begin her job search. "As a young woman in the workplace, how do you assert yourself in a leadership position without coming across as pushy or harsh?" she says.

"I don't think you need to worry about it, because a guy wouldn't think twice about it," Cathie says. "If he has seen a goal, he's going to do whatever he has to do to meet that goal, so I wouldn't worry so much about being pushy. I don't think there's anything wrong with being assertive and aggressive and kind of thinking of your plan and [going] for it."
Mary asks about how to go about negotiating a salary.

Mary is about to finish her master's degree in public policy from the University of Chicago. "I have a question about women negotiating salaries," she says. "Do you have any advice?

Cathie says some women do not put themselves forward enough when it comes to pay. "Gloria Steinem, with whom I worked many years ago at Ms. Magazine, used to say that women had a terminal case of gratitudelike, 'Thank you, thank you, thank you,' as opposed to saying, 'No, I deserve more,'" Cathie says.

Before asking for a raise or negotiating a salary, Cathie says you should think about practical factors, such as how much pay the job merits. "People will respect you for negotiating. You don't have to arm wrestle about it. But you can negotiate and say, 'I think for the following reasons [I deserve an increase]," Cathie says. "It's not like, 'I need more money.' Needing more money is not your company's problem."

If you don't get the raise you want, Cathie says you can ask to discuss it again in a few months. "You can follow it up in a letter to say, 'I really appreciate the time we spent. I'm very serious about wanting to get ahead from a job standpoint and financially. And as you said, I'll come back and we'll talk about it again in March,'" she says. "So it's not being too pushy or too aggressive or too over-the-top, but it's being smart and being confident in your own abilities."

For someone starting out in the business world, Cathie has a few words of wisdom. "The greatest piece of advice would be feel your confidence. Be prepared. Walk as though you know where you are going. And they'll feel that," she says.

When you go on an interview, Cathie says to be prepared with a copy of your r?sum? and a nice portfolio where you can write down important information. And, of course, always look your best. "These are very simple things that you can do. You don't have to buy a new outfit. It's looking in your own closet and saying, 'How do I freshen it up?' It's that sort of looking smart, looking well done. But it's not having to look like a fashion plate."

Adam Glassman reveals the perfect basic black career fashions.
FROM: How to Be a Star at Work and at Home
Published on January 01, 2006


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