Fairygodboss of the Week: Tracy David
New York, NY

FGB: Tell us about your career. How did you get to where you are now?

TD: I didn't follow a straight career path and for many years I worried about not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. But, I realize now that all the experiences I've had is the reason I've gotten to where I am today.

I have an undergraduate degree in elementary education because I thought I wanted to be a teacher. It was only in my senior year that I knew it wasn't for me. After college, instead of teaching, I managed restaurants and eventually was hired by a friend to help him open several restaurants in downtown Manhattan. It was there that I started working with graphic designers and architects and fell in love with design.

I decided I wanted to be a graphic designer and cold-called Shiseido because one of my favorite designers, Eiko Ishioka, started her career there and I talked them into offering me an internship. I also worked at creative agencies and did a lot of identity design, which is what got me interested in branding. That led me to apply for my masters degree in strategic communications, which I got from Columbia University, which fast-tracked my marketing career.

I went from Bloomberg to Dow Jones and now I run marketing for a startup. I oversee PR, branding, design, customer acquisition, and content marketing. When I think about how I got here, it comes down to hard work. I always felt I had to work harder to prove myself because I didn't have the years of experience behind me.

FGB: What is an accomplishment you are proud of?

TD: My daughter and my relationship with my partner. Despite working all the time, I still come home to hugs and kisses.

FGB: What was a challenge you overcame?

TD: One recent professional challenge put a lot of things into perspective for me. I was part of a round of layoffs when the CEO I was reporting to left and the company brought in a new CEO. That never happened to me before. And, while I was relieved in many ways, I was also terrified. Because I had worked my way up to an executive position, I had built a false sense of security. When that came down I doubted myself. A lot. In hindsight, I'm glad I went through the experience because I was forced to stop and think about what mattered in my life. I had a great career, but I was unhappy and exhausted. I realized that it's completely possible to have both happiness and a career you love.

Lightning Round:

FGB: What do you do when you’re not working?

TD: Cooking, visiting museums and galleries, watching classic films (when I'm not watching Peppa Pig), playing dress up with my daughter.

FGB: If you could have dinner with one famous person - dead or alive - who would it be?

TD: Sigmund Freud

FGB: What is your favorite song?

TD: These Boots Are Made for Walkin' by Nancy Sinatra

FGB: What is your favorite movie?

TD: I can't pick just one because I have so many favorites, but here's a short list:

Chinatown by Roman Polanski

Citizen Kane by Orson Welles

Rosemary's Baby by Roman Polanski

2001: Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick

The Godfather 1 & 2 by Francis Ford Coppola

Belle de Jour by Luis Buñuel

My Own Private Idaho by Gus Van Sant

Dial M for Murder by Alfred Hitchcock

FGB: What book would you take with you on a desert island?

TD: The Last Temptation by Nikos Kazantzakis

FGB: What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?

TD: Real estate in New York City

FGB: Who is your Fairygodboss?

TD: My sister. She's older (although she won't admit it), wiser and always sees the sunshine through the darkness.

Fairygodboss is all about women helping other women - so each week, we celebrate a woman who made a difference in another woman’s career. Is there a woman who has made a difference in your career? Celebrate her and thank her by nominating her here.