'Advice to a Younger Me': Female Leaders on Starting Out

Successful women share stories from their careers in a new video series from The Atlantic.
 

Long before Stacey Snider became the CEO of DreamWorks, she was a Hollywood assistant tasked with picking up $50,000 worth of gold chains for Mr. T. "For real!" she insists, describing the early days of her career in an interview for Atlantic Video's Advice to a Younger Me series, above. Starting in the mailroom (literally) didn't slow her down, however; she went on to become a development executive, the president of TriStar Pictures, and eventually chairman of Universal Pictures before joining Steven Spielberg as a partner and co-chairman at DreamWorks. 

With stellar careers in business, media, and tech, the women in Advice to a Younger Me bring a myriad of perspectives to the table. Michelle Peluso, the CEO of Gilt, describes a run-in with an older, more senior male colleague soon after she joined Travelocity as a young entrepreneur. It was intimidating in the moment, but she became more confident over time. "I think it's fine to be underestimated a bit!" she says, describing how she won her adversary over and was soon promoted to CEO. 

 

Two more women in the series, Ayah Bdeir, CEO of littleBits, and Rachel Haot, Chief Digital Officer of the City of New York, began their careers as startup founders in the tech sphere. Haot's experience running a crowd-sourced news platform called GroundReport helped her take on the challenges of role that didn't exist in New York (until she was hired to do it).  

 

Bdeir, meanwhile, has some counterintuitive advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: Sometimes less experience is an advantage. "Naiveté is important," she notes, saying that if she had known how tough starting a company could be, she might never have tried. Still, littleBits, her high-tech toy business, continues to grow and make engineering accessible to novices everywhere. 

 

Stay tuned for our final interview in the series with Lake Bell on Monday, October 21. The actress describes how she got into to screenwriting and what it was like to direct her first feature film, the award-winning comedy In a World. 

Presented by

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis. The only problem? He has to prove it works.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in The Sexes

Just In