“Work like crazy to exceed expectations and to solve problems. Remember that the details matter.” —Holly Gordon, executive director of 10×10
Q: How did your professional career begin, and how did you end up where you are today?
A: My professional career began on a trip to India right after college graduation. I lugged a manual typewriter in my backpack and somewhere between Dharamsala and Amritsar, I had an epiphany: you could be paid for traveling the world and seeing interesting things and telling other people about it. And so began my passion for journalism. I rushed back to New York City and slept on a friend’s sofa until I landed a job at ABC News. The path from there to here has been driven by a desire to tell interesting, meaningful stories and to share information that can help others live better lives.
Q: Who is a leader you have great respect for and why?
A: Hillary Clinton, because she has suffered huge private and public blows and setbacks, and endured as much scrutiny for her hair as her policies, and yet she rises every morning and continues to fight tooth and nail for a world where women and girls have equal opportunities to men and boys. She is brave, smart, and determined and enormously generous of spirit.
Q: As a leader in your company, what is the best piece of advice you would offer to a new employee to help them succeed?
A: Once you have a clear understanding of your job and responsibilities, work like crazy to exceed expectations and to solve problems. Remember that the details matter.
Q: What has been a driving force in your staying power in a male-dominated industry?
A: I haven’t spent much time thinking about male domination. Rather, I have kept a focus on what I can do and achieve and how I can avoid being held up along the way. I’ve also learned to advocate forcefully for myself.
Q: As a seasoned professional, how do you share your experience with your team on a daily basis?
A: I try to communicate in a frank and open way, often telling stories of past experiences—success and failures—to give them a sense that everything can turn out OK in the end, even when faced with huge challenges. I also am the queen of metaphors.
Q: What is the one thing you make time for in your daily life that helps keeps you refreshed and positive?
A: I try to make time for some kind of exercise and to read to my kids.
Holly Gordon sets the strategy and leads the day-to-day operations to “Educate Girls, Change the World” as a global campaign for girls’ education. She is also an executive producer for the film at the center of the 10×10 campaign, Girl Rising.