This Is The Career Advice You Need To Hear

Always know where the light switches are.
Business people meeting at table in conference room
Business people meeting at table in conference room

She worked at Vogue for 14 years, InStyle for four and now she's one of the most important players at two of Conde Nast's biggest titles. No, we're not talking about an editor, we're talking about Connie Anne Phillips, the publisher and chief revenue officer at Glamour and Self.

The Philly native is in charge of making money for the mags and has built an impressive career in sales, marketing and advertising. She's won a slew of awards, counts Anna Wintour as a mentor and tells it like it is.

We sat down with Phillips to learn about her majorly successful career to date, and to find out what advice she has for those entering the workforce.

Here's what we learned:

On what a publisher and chief revenue officer does:

I run the business, marketing and brand positioning of two brands, Glamour and Self. In print, digitally -- any way we can monetize our assets. So wherever we can make money, that's what I'm in charge of. So while I'm the chief revenue officer, I'm also basically the chief make-money-any-way-you-can officer.

On how she got into the business side of fashion:

I always knew that my goal was to live in New York and have a really successful career. And so when I moved to New York, I went to work on Wall Street. It was the '80s, I had shoulder pads and I wore royal blue a lot, but I didn't love it. And then I tried commercial real estate and worked for a great company and it just didn't connect. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, so I made a list of 25 people who were the happiest, most fulfilled people I knew -- but they all had very, very different jobs -- and I interviewed these people. I was very specific. "Tell me what you do on the day-to-day, tell me what makes you happy, tell me what you like about your job, tell me what you don't like about your job" and one of the people I interviewed was a sales rep at Rolling Stone magazine and I loved everything she said. And I was like, "That is the perfect day," because you're business minded, you have to be creative, you're putting a puzzle together, yet you're learning about all these different businesses and it just clicked, right then and there, I was like, that's what I want to do.

On the learning curve while transitioning from real estate to sales:

I think there is a learning curve every single day. If you're really successful, you're constantly learning. What I think is great is, I never know what's coming next, but I have a phenomenal team that is constantly introducing me to something that's coming out and my job is how am I going to monetize that for my clients ... so I embrace a learning curve every day.

On what her day-to-day looks like:

Every day is different and that's why I love my job. Some days I'm meeting with presidents and CMOs and media planners, I'm organizing the staff, working with our marketing and creative service team to come up with assets that help my team sell the brand positioning -- so all of the presentations that go out regarding all the assets of the two brands, I oversee that. The great part of what I do is that, it's a combination between being creative and finance. I talk to the editorial team every single day. Whether it's Joyce [Chang] from Self, Cindi [Leive] at Glamour or members of their teams -- it might be Paul Ritter who is our creative director here at Glamour. We are completely interactive and talking all the time, every day.

On interview deal-breakers:

I'm a little distracted by chipped nail polish. And I like someone to be prepared. If I feel like they've done their homework, I feel as though they are going to do their homework when it comes to business.

On whether your major is an important factor during the hiring process:

Take what interests you. That's the most important thing. I look at it on a resume just as a talking point, but you hire people based on how clever you think they are, how hardworking you think they are, how passionate they are, how determined they are going to be, that's it. It's not whether they are a business major or an English major.

On the challenges of selling print vs. digital:

I think that the challenges aren't very different in selling both. I think the challenge is you have to really know your company's business, the company you're calling on. The sales call that a buyer gave you a year ago, or five years ago or 10 years ago hasn't lengthened -- it's still 45 minutes, it's the same 45 minutes, it might be an hour if you're lucky, but you've got so many different assets to sell them now, so it's about how do you get that 360 degree approach to that client's business across to them in that time. I think the real challenge is, how do you prepare for every call.

On how she tackled a major career challenge:

I was up for a really big piece of business a few years ago and we were up against a company that was very different -- it wasn't a magazine company, it wasn't a media company, it wasn't a branded company, it was primarily a television company, so it was media, but it wasn't print-based and this was probably going to be the largest sell of my career. And I actually went back to advice I was given in high school by my favorite English teacher. She said, 'Connie Anne, if you take everything as a molehill, you'll never face a mountain.' And so I started so far in advance of the meeting to pitch that business by looking at it every single day and involving as many really smart people as I could in the pitch. And we won it. But what I'm really grateful for is it was a huge challenge, but it went back to really simple great advice I got in high school.

On her least favorite part about her job:

It's quirky, but I hate having lunch at my desk. I hate eating out of styrofoam and plastic.

On her advice to her younger self:

I would have gone on vacation.

On the real key to success:

I always tell people, the best way to succeed: do your homework, be prepared.

On whether she thinks work-life balance is realistic at the beginning of your career:

No, I don't. I just don't, I think it goes back to be the first one in and be the last one to leave. Now everything is powered, but I always knew where the light switches were. I think the path to the corner office is hard work. End of story.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Yes, You Can Make It In Fashion” is a HuffPost Style series that profiles men and women across every area of the fashion industry and explores how they rose to the top, how they thrive and their practical advice for young people trying to break into their world.