Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010

Lauren Zalaznick

What is the best and worst decision you've ever made?
The best business decision I made was a variation on the "big fish, small pond." At various point along the way of my career path, I've chosen the bigger purview at the smaller venue. Producer of a short film rather than production assistant on a huge feature; President of TRIO as opposed to a smaller programming job at a bigger network. It's not about the title — it's about learning a business from top to bottom and being responsible for every decision that goes into the framework building of a smaller asset or product, and then translating that real experience to a broader scope in the next job.

I don't have a single business decision that has been so bad that it ever gutted a successful p&l or even mortally embarrassed anyone. All that tells me is that I haven't taken a big enough swing at something.

What was your dream job as a kid and why?
To be a supermarket cashier, a bank teller, or a toll taker. I loved counting money and making change. I still do.

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
Affordable, universally available, quality child care.

What woman inspires you and why?
Anyone who commits her or his entire professional life to a cause-related, not-for-profit business endeavor.

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
While making incremental inroads towards the existing "glass ceiling" in corporate America, the next generation of professional women have missed out on billions of dollars of wealth creation and business clout by not entering into the digital business realm. Whether it's the engineering culture, the start-up culture, or any number of social, cultural, and business factors, professional women have sat on the sidelines, by and large, as the "digital revolution" becomes less a revolution and more the backbone of tomorrow's Fortune 500.