Joann S. Lublin is the management news editor for The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and author of Earning It: Hard-Won Lessons from Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World, a book best described as an in-the-trenches guide for women navigating the corporate battlefield. As one of the WSJ’s first women reporters, she faced a number of uphill challenges throughout her career. Her new book chronicles her own insights and hard-won lessons—along with those from more than 50 trailblazing executive women—all sharing valuable leadership and career advice.
1. What inspired you to write this book?
My commitment was to help inform the next generation of women business leaders about what it takes to succeed in corporate America, based on experiences and insights from trailblazers already in those senior leadership positions.
2. What overall message do you hope readers take from the different stories, insights, and lessons that are shared throughout?
The book’s message is about the importance of believing in your professional capabilities and gleaning leadership lessons from your career setbacks.
3. What was it like to be one of the first women reporters at WSJ?
Joining the journalism profession in the 1970s was a strange, but fascinating, experience. After working for a woman editor in chief at my college newspaper, I was unprepared for the sexist treatment I sometimes encountered as a woman in the real world. When I covered events at private business clubs that barred women, for instance, I had to use a special door—typically one near the kitchen in the rear.
4. If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice at the beginning of your career, what would it be?
Early in my WSJ career, I rejected a chance to become a bureau chief. I told my boss I wanted to postpone such an opportunity for several years. No woman had yet become a WSJ bureau chief. I hoped to have at least one child and couldn’t imagine being a successful manager Mom. My advice to my younger self? Don’t refuse risky roles until you seek ways to reduce your chances of failure.
5. In three words, can you sum up how your career unfolded as you navigated the corporate battlefield?
Never give up!