Oct. 16 2019
When LinkedIn Learning alerted us that today was National Boss’s Day, we knew we had to do two things: First, sit down with one of the most boss-women we know (done). And second, try to learn all of her secrets (or at least her skills). Meet Liz Plosser, the Editor-in-Chief of Women’s Health, aka the woman at the helm of WH’s digital platforms, as well as the printed glossy. Before landing her major role, Liz was a Deputy Editor at SELF, a Senior Editor at Cosmopolitan, and even worked as the Senior Director of content at SoulCycle. Research from LinkedIn Learning recently found that problem solving, time management, and decisiveness were the top skills people look for in a management role, so we asked Liz, who oversees the entire staff at Women’s Health and uses these integral management skills often, for more insight on what it takes to run a leading publication (hint: even given all her experience, Liz says that she’s still learning every day!). Keep calm, manage on—and get Liz’s best advice below. Then, head over to LinkedIn Learning for online courses that can help you be the (best) boss.
Can you tell us about your current role as Editor-in-Chief of Women’s Health Magazine? What are your responsibilities?
I oversee all of the brand’s platforms: our site, social channels, video, and print magazine. This means brainstorming content with my team, editing text, and thinking macro about strategy and goals. I work with our public relations team to increase the visibility of WH by representing the brand in public appearances (TV segments, podcasts, panels). And I work with our sales and marketing teams to share the WH vision and story in client meetings.
What specific skills does your job require?
Creativity, curiosity, healthy skepticism (necessary for all journalists!), problem-solving, a collaborative mindset, meticulous attention to detail, the ability to (and passion for!) pivot… and a passion for wellness.
Did you take any classes that helped you land your job at Women’s Health? If not, do you wish you did?
Before I came to WH, I worked at SoulCycle overseeing the brand’s digital channels. It was my first experience on the brand side and my first full-time role in the digital space. I found a Google Analytics tutor to teach me the basics. But most of my journalistic skills—reporting, editing, coverline writing—were taught by mentors over the years when I was a junior editor. (I was an English major, and the editor of my high school newspaper—as well as the “features writer” for a childhood paper called The Daily Farm that I produced with my older brother, ha!—so I believe it’s always been in my DNA.) I should add that I’m still learning every day.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned from your role at Women’s Health?
Toughest question EVER because I have learned so many professional and personal lessons over the past couple of years! I’m a type-A, perfectionist kind of person, but running a brand leads to some imperfect moments. It’s easy to see the right (or better) course of action in hindsight, but dwelling on the past doesn’t help me or the brand’s goals. So I would say, letting go: moving forward ASAP with what you’ve learned as your momentum. I love this saying: “Let’s make better mistakes tomorrow.”
What training did you receive when you started at your current company? What was helpful? What would you change?
One of the amazing things about working at Hearst is that there are teams of experts for everything we do—e-commerce, SEO. They are constantly holding training sessions and encouraging editors to take advantage of office hours or to book 1x1s.
Hearst also brings in all sorts of amazing speakers into the Tower for a Q&A between an editor and a luminary. As employees, we’re encouraged to suggest our own ideas—I recently had Carli Lloyd, the USWNT soccer co-captain, in for a talk about “performing at your peak.”
This is an amazing perk, but Hearst also has tuition reimbursement for continued education related to your career. As a senior editor at Cosmo, I was able to earn my personal training certification because the company believed it would help me do my job better.
What would you say has made you most successful at your job?
Playing sports throughout my life has taught me the importance of cultivating teamwork, whether that’s on the field or in an office environment. As a leader, I believe it’s critical to build up those around you and make them feel heard, seen, and valued. With an amazing team around you, we are all going to be more successful.
What advice has stuck with you as you’ve gone through your career?
I’ve had so many amazing female mentors in my life, and their advice has stuck with me like glue.
From Julie Rice, the co-founder of SoulCycle, I learned to “get dirty” (it’s one of the company’s core values). I believe in this passionately—you can’t be above anything in your career.
From Joyce Chang, who was my EIC at Self magazine and a friend since college, I learned to “never say no to the conversation.” Literally half of my dream jobs have hatched over phone calls or meetings that I wasn’t seeking out, at times when I felt good where I was. At a minimum, you make a new connection and learn something new!
From Joanna Coles, who was my EIC at Cosmopolitan magazine, I could rattle off roughly a dozen pieces of epic, life-changing advice, but she really taught me so much about being a leader, and really informed my approach as a manager.
And most recently, from Kate Lewis, who has known me since I was an editorial assistant in my first magazine job (!), and who is the chief content officer at Hearst, I’ve learned not to be afraid to experiment.
For our readers who are hoping to build their dream careers, what is one thing you want them to know?
Please bring a good attitude to your workplace and work. That energy is contagious, lifts up the team, and believe me, it does not go unnoticed by your superiors. Plus? It makes YOU better at your job—and a happier, healthier human being.