This week, we are so excited to be able to celebrate Jennifer Owens, a woman who helps improve the workplace for women everywhere in her role as Editorial Director of Working Mother Magazine. Jennifer is also someone who has made a tremendous difference to Fairygodboss by serving on our Advisory Board.
Fairygodboss of the Week: Jennifer Owens Editorial Director, Working Mother Media & Founding Director of Working Mother Research Institute New York, NY
FGB:Tell us about your career. How did you get to where you are now?
JO: I began as a newspaper reporter, covering politics and business. I specialized in that for about 15 years before doing a turn in lifestyle and consumer magazine magazines. Along the way, I had become a working mother, so when the opportunity to write and edit for Working Mother magazine came along, I jumped at it. Since that time, my role at Working Mother has grown. I now oversee all of our content and research surrounding work, life and women's advancement.
FGB: What is an accomplishment that you are proud of? JO: Certainly, the founding of the Working Mother Research Institute is something that makes me very proud. We've been able to take our 30-year history of researching the Working Mother Best Companies and broaden it to include studies on all aspects of women's working and home life. I'm also proud to say that we founded National Flex Day (#NationalFlexDay) to celebrate the power of flexible work. It's the third Tuesday of October, which is Work & Family Month.
FGB: What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome? JO: I'll always remember the challenge of trying to find a new gig after having had my first baby—in fact, it fuels much of what we do at Working Mother. I interviewed with so many employers and thought for a while that I'd never be able to change jobs because I could no longer work 50- or 60-hour weeks. I also wanted to change fields and move from business reporting to consumer magazines, which is not an easy jump to make. I felt very alone and stymied in my career. But I kept going and after about a year I found a job that served both of my needs. Since then, I've had a second baby, worked for three employers and been promoted several times. It hasn't been easy, but I've been able to push my career forward while still making it to school drop off every morning, which is something I want for all working moms and dads.
FGB: What do you do when you’re not working? JO: When I'm not trading homework and/or dinner duty with my husband, I sing in a garage/punk band, called Two Minute Thrills. I also serve on a local committee to raise funds for our local library in Brooklyn.
FGB: If you could have dinner with one famous person - dead or alive - who would it be? JO: I have a total working mom crush on Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube. I'd love to do dinner with her and talk about leadership, paid leave, the internet's next big thing—and what it's like to have five kids!
FGB: What is your karaoke song? JO: I'd have to say "Everybody's Going Wild," by the Detroit Cobras. I sing it with Two Minute Thrills!
FGB: What is your favorite movie? JO: Right now, it's Spotlight. Before that it was All the President's Men. See a theme?
FGB: What book would you take with you on a desert island?
JO:Scruples by Judith Krantz - I loved it in seventh grade! I would love to have nothing better to do than read an incredibly soapy novel.
FGB: What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery? JO: If I won the lottery, I would hire a legion of personal assistants to deal with shopping of types—food, furniture, fashion—as well as all the family scheduling and what-not that clogs up our weekends.
FGB: Who is your Fairygodboss? JO: My boss, Subha Barry, is my current Fairygodboss. She has leapt in to take the reins of the complex organization that is Working Mother Media and is taking us in new directions, even as we maintain our current speed. That is no small accomplishment!