Fran Hauser – Author of Embrace The Work

Episode 263

How do you embrace the work you are doing? By loving what you are doing! Author and former media & publishing executive, Fran Hauser, shares her mission to empower women to go further in their careers. Also, more about her new book Embrace the Work, Love Your Career. Listen and learn on this episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow.

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Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be I want to be, you just want to make sure you will get knocked down. But just make sure you don’t get knocked down knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone and welcome to the Kara Goldin show. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go. Let’s go. Hi, everyone, it’s Kara Goldin. And I am so so thrilled to have my next guest. Here we have Fran Hauser, who was the author of embrace the work love your career. It’s France second book, and it’s more of a workbook. There’s a lot of really good stuff in here. So it’s not just pure workbook. There’s a lot of good stuff. But we’ll let Fran tell us a little bit more about it. So I’ve actually known a friend for many, many years and gotten to know her a little bit. I wish we were closer living on the same coast. But she is just an absolute Rockstar. She’s on a mission to empower women to go further in their careers. And boy, can she actually talk a lot about different careers and and overall, just everything that she’s learned along the way with her own career, which we’ll talk about. She’s been in media and publishing. And as I said, she just recently wrote her second book, her first book, which I’m going to get her to talk about a little bit, too, was absolutely terrific. And I’m just really, really thrilled to have you here frown. So I will stop talking and and let you do a little bit more.

Fran Hauser 1:53
Okay, so happy to see you. So happy to be here with you.

Kara Goldin 1:57
Well, very, very good. So so let’s talk just a little bit about the beginning. So who is Fran and who was Fran? Let’s even go way back like to the beginning. Who was Fran as a kid? Did you always know first of all, that you were going to be in media and publishing and also that you were going to be an author? And you were going to write your books?

Fran Hauser 2:17
Oh my gosh. Well, when I think about my childhood, you know, really the first thing that comes to mind is that my parents are immigrants, you know, and I was actually even born in Italy in Reggio Calabria, which is like the tip of the boot, you know, across from Sicily. And we moved to Westchester County, which is you know, just north of Manhattan. And I’m the oldest of four. And my parents were both small business owners. So my dad was a stonemason, and a landscaper, and my mother was a tailor. And I basically started working with them at a very young age. Like, when I was in first grade, I was doing my dad’s invoices for his landscaping business. I mean, it was crazy. Like, literally, I remember vividly, I could add, but I couldn’t multiply. So like, calculating sales tax, like I actually had a table that I would like pull, like the sales tax experience, though, right, amazing experience. And just, you know, I was there translator, you know, Italian was, was their first language. So I carried a lot of responsibilities child, I got exposed to business, you know, at a very young age. And I also got to see my parents in action. And you know, they, they are very, like beautiful, kind, warm, caring people. And they’re also strong, you know, like, and that’s my first book, The myth of the nice girl is all about how you don’t have to choose between being nice and being strong. And I and I think the best leaders actually lead with both of those qualities. So I saw that in my parents in terms of the way they interacted with their clients and employees. And I have to tell you, Cara, like I was a huge reader. When I was a child, I voracious, voracious reader, I still am. The thought of becoming an author one day just seemed so like unattainable to me, you know, or even like the idea of working for Time, Inc, you know, on you know, brands like people and InStyle and Entertainment Weekly. It just seemed like so far like so it’s, it’s really so amazing and rewarding to see that I was able to achieve those things because they just really honestly seemed so unattainable to someone who, you know, was first in my family to go to college. My parents had no network really, that could be helpful to me. I really had to figure it out on my own. A lot of like, my, my cousins, my sister, my brothers are always like, how did you do it? You know, like, how did that happen? So Oh, it’s just super exciting to see the career trajectory that I’ve had.

Kara Goldin 5:04
So your first job out of college was what?

Fran Hauser 5:09
My first job was actually in public accounting. I majored in public accounting, and they worked at Price Waterhouse. And actually, that’s where I met my husband. And she was always on the partner track. And I wasn’t, it was interesting, I was kind of like, I want to go work for a client, you know, kind of want to work on the operating side. So actually, that is what I ended up doing, I ended up going to work for Coca Cola, after four years in public accounting, in a manager financial reporting role. So I was in financial reporting at Coke. I know this is very relevant to you care,

Kara Goldin 5:44
relative isn’t relevant.

Fran Hauser 5:48
But so you know, and then I was there for about four years. And I realized that while I really enjoyed finance, and accounting, I really wanted to be in more of a general management role. Like I wanted to run all aspects of the business. And I ended up getting a call from a recruiter one day about a job at movie phone. Back then it was 777 film. Yeah. And they were like just launching And they were looking for a head of finance. And I met with the fine with the founders. And I said, you know, this is really exciting. It’s the internet, it’s media. And I want to do this, but it’s really important to me that I get exposure to different parts of the company, not just finance, because eventually I do want to move into a GM role. And they committed to me that they would give me that opportunity, which was huge, because if I had stayed at Coke, I would have stayed on that. That finance trajectory was hard. When you work for a big company, you now like to all of a sudden move to marketing or to move into a different department. But you know, everyone at Coca Cola thought I was crazy to leave one of the world’s most admired companies to go to work for this early stage company that like none of them had even heard of. So it was a huge risk. But I have to tell you, it was the best career decision, I think that I could have made because they did give me exposure to different parts of the business. We ultimately ended up selling movies on to AOL. And they were the founders retired. And I ended up running Moviefone as a division of AOL. So that was my first GM role. That’s why all right, and then timing and like that, that was really the beginning of my media, you know, digital media in general management.

Kara Goldin 7:39
That’s wild. You and I, like, just missed each other on both tracks. So I cuz I was time and then I was AOL. Right, that. So that is just absolutely crazy. So let’s talk real quickly about so that book The the myth of the nice girl, why don’t you learn from being in small companies versus, like larger companies? I mean, I feel like people have so often thought, and particularly women talk about, you know, you got to be tough, you got to be like, you know, you’ve got to be the boss, right, in order to go up throughout the organization. And what did you think? Like, I just can’t imagine you, I think you’re definitely a boss, for sure. But you’re also kind and you’re empathetic, and all of those things. So at what point do you think that becomes something that people start to realize, and people in it along the way that you need to remain kind, you need to remain empathetic, especially when you’re managing people? Yeah. And dealing with customers and dealing with people I guess you always do.

Fran Hauser 8:52
Yes. And I you know, it’s interesting, because, early on in my career, when I was more of like, in an individual contributor role, I feel like I was getting that advice, like, you need to toughen up, you know, you’re, you’re, you’re too nice. And you’re you’re not going to get ahead, like you really need to be tougher. And you know, what I’ve realized is that, like, I’m the most confident when I am my true self, and who I am as a human being, you know, when I bring those values and those qualities to work, that’s when I really feel like I do my best work because, you know, I feel I know the word authentic. I feel like it’s being overused right now. But there’s this like authenticity, you know, and there’s, there’s confidence that that comes from that. And you know, what I realized Kara was that being nice, there’s so much power in it, because when you’re nice to people, they trust you. And then you’re able to build relationships, because relationships are based on trust, you know, and then I just feel like at the end of the day business is all about relationships, right? It’s all about, like being successful in business is about relationships, I want to share a quick story with you. She’ll appreciate this was a timing. Mitch Cliff was our CIO. So he ran the technology department. And I remember talking to him once. And he said that the only time anybody calls him is to complain, you know that the website is down, my computer’s not working. Right. Right. And I just like made such an effort, I’ve genuinely just liked him so much. And I really respected him. And I made such an effort to say thank you to him, you know, just to like, send him an email to call him like if somebody on his team, like did a really great job. I would even write emails to the CEO, sometimes in copy, Mitch, I’m just giving credit to his department. I love it. And I have to tell you, it was so important because I was the president of digital. So I was running, you know, the digital manifestation of all of these magazine brands, like whether they were websites or apps. I needed Mitch, his team, like, I needed his resources, you know, so whenever I would go to Him and ask Him for resources, he would always say, like, what are you going to ask me now, I can never say no to you. And it’s just, I think, a really good example of how that relationship that was built in a very genuine way, not in a manipulative way, right, but very genuine. He became such an important partner to me, you know, when I think about, becoming the largest media website in the world, you know, and that was my team that that did that. We couldn’t have done that without Mitch and his team. Right. And so it’s, it’s just it’s so important to think about how you treat people

Kara Goldin 11:46
well, and I think this parlays into your your next book, too, and the embrace the work, love your career, because I think the more you get to know people who are around you, and people who have input into your business to whether it’s colleagues or a support system along the way, that actually helps you to really understand your business and love your your business even more, right, you’re not sitting there waking up and complaining to the IT department, you’re instead trying to really understand how to make things better, and get getting them on the same page as you. So talk to me a little bit about, you know, that realization, too, and why you decided to write this book.

Fran Hauser 12:29
Yeah, I mean, this book really came to me in the middle of the pandemic. And, you know, I just remember reading all of the articles about the millions of women leaving the workforce, millions more questioning their career path and their purpose. And frankly, I was just seeing so many of my friends and colleagues really struggling with just like finding joy, you know, in their work in their career. And I wanted to do something I love to create content. And I realized that over the years, I’ve done so much mentoring, and I’ve given so many talks, and it was really sitting on all of these like exercises and questions that I asked people, and strategies and scripts. And I thought, you know, it’d be so fun to create, like a guided workbook that, like you said, definitely has a lot of content in terms of my stories and strategies and techniques. But there are also so many moments throughout the book where you can just reflect, you know, right, ask a question. Like, one of the questions that I love and the book is, is, it’s an exercise where I asked you to look at your calendar for the last month to three months, whatever works for you pick out the meetings, or the experiences or the events that put a smile on your face. And really, like think about why, like, what was it about that experience that was so fulfilling? You know, was it the type of problem that you were solving? Was it the people that you were working with? You know, was it the skill sets, maybe that the you were using, but once you can figure out like the parts of your job that are really working for you, you might be able to do more of that, you know, you might be able to say like, okay, because like for me, I remember doing this exercise when I was a timing, and I’ve been there for eight years. And it was starting to feel that itch. And I was just so focused on what wasn’t working for me in my job. And I did this exercise. And I realized, well, I love meeting startup founders, like, I actually really enjoy that. It’s like a really fun part of my job meeting the rent, the runway founders before they launched, you know, are the skim and like helping them think through like their business models and their products. And so I actually went to my boss and talk to her about that. Like I really love this part of my job. I think I could create even more value for the company if I could focus on it more. So we actually launched this innovation lab at the company that I ended up running and that got me to More years there before I ultimately left to become a startup investor, but because there was like, instead of focusing on what wasn’t working, it’s like, okay, what is working? And is there a way to do more of that?

Kara Goldin 15:12
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Fran Hauser 20:07
love that. And I think it’s just so important to be open and to be curious. And, you know, I, I think about like some of my colleagues when I was at timing, and I kind of looked up from my computer one day and realize that everyone in my network, they were all media people. And we were all talking about the same issues and challenges, you know, we get together the ad models broken that this that. And I just realized, like, you know, I really want to meet people in other sectors. And I was really interested in technology, and I was really interested in the nonprofit space. And so I like I’ll give you an example, actually, of the not the nonprofit space. I read a book called Half the Sky by Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Just an amazing, amazing book. And at the end of it, they talked about this nonprofit organization called Global giving, which was really the world’s first crowdfunding platform for like for local grassroots organizations around the world. And I just became really curious about this organization that was so interesting, because like, I, in my job, I was using technology more for entertainment purposes for, Entertainment Weekly and stuff. But they figured out a way to use technology for good. And I literally, like found the CEO of global giving and founder, I just like stalked her like online. And I sent her a note and introduced myself and said, I’d love to figure out a way to be helpful to you. And the next time she was in New York, we got together, I got to know the organization, I started, like dabbling and being. Anyway, I ended up doing a 10 year board, stent, you know, for them 10 years, I was on their board. But it all came from me like reading this book, and just kind of getting curious about this, this organization, doing the outreach, you know, and, and it started this beautiful, long relationship with them. Same thing with technology, I never could have moved into startup investing. That’s what I’ve been doing now for the last eight years, right? Like, I never could have done that if I didn’t make it a priority to meet people in the tech space. While I was at timing or true. Survived Harvey, you know, this, this was huge for me, I met her for the first time. And she was a founder. And I, you know, we’re sitting outside the time life building upon quotidienne, you know, having a coffee. And she literally said to me, she said, you know, Fran, I have so many female friends in New York City who want to launch businesses, but when they look up, they don’t see any female angel investors or advisors. And I really think you could do that. Like, I think you would be amazing at that. And she’s the one who planted the seed for me, I love the seed. And then she opened up her network to me. So like, some of my first investments were Sariah. It was Sariah actually like and her friends. But again, it’s like, it’s being it’s putting yourself out there. It’s being open. It’s being curious. It’s taking these meetings. It’s asking questions, right. And meanwhile, I feel like so many of my colleagues at timing, who didn’t do that, who were like heads down, like getting the work done. Right. And then the print publishing, you know, implodes. Yeah. And then what do you do? Where do you

Kara Goldin 23:29
regret it? Right, when it’s too when it’s almost too late. But I think that there’s another thing that I always share with people. One of the things when I started hint that I kept thinking to myself, Okay, I’m super curious about this whole world. And I’m going to jump in and see what I can figure out. But I always felt like I could go back to, I could go back to Tech, I could go back to media, I could go back and do these things. And so I think it’s almost an advantage when you’ve got these different experiences as well, where people think of it as a risk, I thought of it is actually less of a risk because I had had all this amazing experience and same with you. And if nothing else, you going and learning about nonprofits, if it doesn’t work out, then you learn something about yourself and what you like and what you don’t like or what you’re good at what you’re not so great at or what you’re interested in more than anything else. What I loved about embrace the work love your career, though to was that you talked about mentoring, and I like you probably get a lot of people who are asking, Oh, can you mentor but they don’t really have any guidelines to sort of, you know, you may ask them questions like, Well, what do you like to do or whatever? How do you spend your time, you know, like more than anything, I think this also gives you the, it’s the workbook right? So you don’t have to have Half time with Fran, you’ve got this right here, to be able to do it. And it really pushes you to kind of be thoughtful and think about these things. And, you know, maybe instead of spending time meditating on on one day, maybe you go and take your workbook and and you start really thinking about these, these issues that you want to change.

Fran Hauser 25:24
What’s so funny, you just made me think of this is like, you know, we all do these food cleanses, you know, we set aside like the five days, seven days, and yeah, go through this cleanse, and kind of feel like, that’s what this book is. But for your career, you know, it’s like, it’s six sections. And if you just spend a couple of hours on each section, that over six days, I feel like it’s such a gift to yourself, because we don’t take the time like to just take a step back and really do the work to think about like, Okay, what’s working? What’s not, you know, what are some things that I want to explore? What do I want to be known for? Like, what do I want my legacy to be? You know, what is my personal brand, like really thinking through those things? So I do, I love that you that you picked up on that, Kara, because that was really important to me. And mentoring, like, I think it’s, it’s, it’s really important that if someone is, if someone asks you for coffee, and you do the coffee with them, or you do a phone call, or you do a zoom, you know, it’s just so important that they really prepare, I think, for the meeting with you, and that they ask you like very specific questions. Versus just like, oh, so tell me about your career, like, your career, you know, you’re, you know what I mean? It’s all online, like, so I really appreciate it when people come with like, very specific, like, how did you pivot from, you know, media to startup investing? Like what, you know, what were the things that that helped you to do that, like, be these do the work be specific? You know, no,

Kara Goldin 26:54
I think that that’s really important. In fact, I so often say to people, when I am talking to them, what was the reason why you want to talk to me? Right? What’s your why? For wanting to talk to me? Okay, I want to know, because you have changed from one industry to another, you’ve, you know, had a million kids and also run a company like, oh, whatever it is, what is it? That thing? So definitely, I think it tees off a conversation much better than to your point not having done the research not having fun at work? Yeah. So definitely, everyone should pick up this and do the work. It’s absolutely great. And you guys have some of my favorite entrepreneurs, Tiffany diphu, Rebecca Minkoff, on the back of here, too. I loved seeing that that was amazing. me one of the things, things that I always ask all of our guests question about, you know, kind of your career when you were trying to figure out what you loved about your career, and maybe what you didn’t like about your career, that where you just really felt you were challenged. And maybe if you really enjoyed yourself more and had done, this workbook had had it already mapped out, you would have said, You know what, I should have gone sooner, or I should have known this about myself, like, so often, I think that maybe we stay too long at places, and then you know, we start to get grumpy, right, we started to get angry, we don’t do as great of work where we sort of reverse and get into some defense mode, maybe we start to see our own challenges or failures is something that you know, you there’s someone else’s fault, or whatever it is, but where have you seen that along the way that you, you know, are like, boy, I’m never going to do that again, if that makes sense.

Fran Hauser 28:53
Yeah, it’s so interesting, because when I look at my resume, you know, my bio was so fascinating is that I made like a big move, I would say pretty much every four years, like clockwork, it’s really interesting. And I, I think there’s something too that like, if you think about your first year on a job, you’re learning, you’re really not that productive, right? And then you’re too like, you become productive. And you’re three, like, you’re, you’re two and three, like you’re really in like a good groove, you know, and you’re creating a lot of value. And then I feel like it’s like towards the end of year three, where you start getting kind of bored. And that and then right and it’s it’s just so fascinating when I look at that look at you know, it’s like that four year mark. But I would say like for me, I think that um, gosh, I was probably, if I could go back I feel like I was a timing for 10 years. You know, that’s a long time. That’s a long time and even though like I had promotions, like I said, like every four years I started feeling very resentful. I started feeling like, it’s probably grown into your six or seven, you know what it was Kara, and I’ll never forget this, I was having lunch with anmore, our CEO. And I remember like talking to her about this, and I said, I just feel like my job has become so administrative, like, the bigger that my job gets, like, the more brands that I take on, versus when I was just working on, you know, but like, now that I’ve taken on all these brands, I just feel like it’s like, you know, I’m like, putting budgets together. And I’m working on cost containment, and I’m putting decks together, like for you to present to the board. And, and she, I remember her saying to me, she’s like, you know, what, Franch, like, sometimes, like, be careful what you wish for, you know, because, and she said, The same thing happened to religion. Like she said, I love it. When I was just working on Sports Illustrated, she was the president of Sports Illustrated, you know, and then she went on to be the CEO of the whole company. And I think for me, like, what I realized was that I really love the build, I love like working on a brand on one brand you to write and look what you’ve accomplished. I mean, it’s. So I think, for me, like that was a big aha, I was so focused on promotion, taking on more responsibility. Great. done. Now I want more, give me more brands. And I think that was a really big, big wake up call for me, was that wow, like, I really missed running a brand. You know, I miss being close to the consumer.

Kara Goldin 31:30
And there’s no wrong answer on that, either. I mean, the thing that I don’t think they teach I’ve, I’ve said this in a few business school classes, and and a few university classes, like, I don’t think they teach that in school. Instead, it’s go out and be a manager, and then a director and VP, and there are many people I know who have, who have gone that route, and have been successful at it, frankly, too, and are not the happiest people. And I think they get into sort of this. You know, they’re they’re not embracing the work right there. They’re instead in a role where they’ve got to figure out who’s doing things, right, who’s doing things wrong, who are how do I evaluate them? And it’s just not what, yeah, you

Fran Hauser 32:17
know, and, and sometimes, like, sometimes it’s a lateral move that makes no sense. Or sometimes maybe you have to take a couple steps back, you know, who I admire so much. I don’t know if you’ve ever worked with Jack rather Han, he was the publisher of Teen People Magazine. And, you know, in, in publishing, like, that’s the highest level that you can get to at a brand on the business side, you’re the publisher, right? And I remember him saying to me, he’s like, look, I’m really worried for him, because I feel like I’m missing the boat on digital, like, because that’s when, like, you know, the Internet was like really getting going and, and he decided to go back, he went to AOL, and took like, a sales role, just so that he could learn online advertising. And I just remember feeling like, just I was in awe that he did that because it was such a bold, brave, move. And ultimately, it was so smart, because now we have print and digital experience and handed up excelling. You know, and he had, he’s had an incredible career. But I just remember thinking like, wow, okay, so it’s not just this linear, like, hierarchical, you know, right.

Kara Goldin 33:27
You go and then you get you gain so much more appreciation, but also so much experience more experience for how everything works. So that was really smart. For him to do that, for sure. Well, thank you so much, Fran, this is absolutely amazing. Again, embrace embrace the work love your career. Best place for people to purchase it.

Fran Hauser 33:50
So it’s it’s available everywhere. It’s on Amazon, Barnes and Noble. It’s in bookstores. So everywhere books are sold.

Kara Goldin 33:57
And by the way, I love the feel of it, too. Oh, my gosh, thank

Fran Hauser 34:00
you. We worked so hard on that, like even like the paper Wait, I can’t tell you how many pens I tested.

Kara Goldin 34:07
I’m so I’m so funny about that. So look, I’ve been in publishing and so I, I love it. So, so so good, and the color and everything. So you can definitely tell that you’re an aesthetic person. Yeah, so great. Well, and thank you, everybody, for listening. We are so excited to have guests like Fran here and other founders and CEOs where we can hear lots of their stories so that we can all learn lessons and frankly, know that we’re not alone and that we can all be better if we choose to be so thank you again. And definitely, everyone subscribe to this podcast, give the show five star ratings. It really helps in the algorithm. And I can be found on all platforms that Kara Goldin and we are Uh, my book undaunted, as many of you know, launched just over a year ago, I may have another book in my cards as well, we’ll see. Lots of work to do in order to do that, but definitely have have really enjoyed getting that book out there. And we are here every Monday, Wednesday and just recently launched Friday as well. So it’s, it’s been really fun to be able to get everyone else’s stories out there as well. So thanks, everyone for listening. Thanks again Fran. And everyone have a great rest of the week. Thank

Fran Hauser 35:33

Kara Goldin 35:34
Before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. Successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of hint water. Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight send me a tweet at Kara Goldin and let me know. And if you like what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara Goldin. Thanks for listening