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Amy Bernstein is the editor of Harvard Business Review and co-host of the HBR podcast Women at Work. Prior to joining HBR in 2011, she had been VP, Global Thought Leadership, at ManpowerGroup. She has also held senior editorial positions at strategy+business, Business 2.0, The Industry Standard, Brill’s Content, and U.S. News & World Report.
Amy Bernstein will speak on women and the workplace at the 2019 Fall Festival, happening October 1–3 in Boston’s Seaport. Learn more and register here.
Lindsay Gearheart: What inspired the launch of Women at Work and how did you become involved?
Amy Bernstein: Women at Work grew out of the #MeToo movement. What was our response? How should HBR weigh in on a subject of such relevance to the workplace? HBR.org editor Maureen Hoch had the inspiration to use the moment to launch a podcast. She asked me, Nicole Torres, and Sarah Green Carmichael (replaced last season by Amy Gallo) to serve as cohosts and for Amanda Kersey to be our producer. I’m so glad she did.
LG: How has the podcast evolved since its first season?
AB: We’ve been taking on a wider array of topics and we’ve been bringing in more listener voices. We want to understand how they experience the workplace and the challenges of balancing the personal with the professional, so we ask them. By understanding how they see their lives, we can sharpen our focus and make the ideas and insights we explore more human and accessible. We can bring theory down to earth in a way that helps people.
LG: How do your personal experiences influence your work on the podcast?
AB: I have decades of experience being a woman at work. I’ve dealt with many of the challenges we discuss, both as an employee and as a manager and I still struggle with a lot of it—so I’m happy (usually) to share all that.
LG: What do you think is the most impactful discussion you’ve had with your co-hosts?
AB: The most personally impactful discussion was the one about self-disclosure. It’s not just that I heard from a lot of people afterwards. It’s that it forced me to reckon with the truth that I’m not always as forthcoming about my personal life as I think I am and to figure out why. That was tough for me.
LG: What are your hopes for the future of the podcast?
AB: I hope we continue to make a difference to our listeners. They tell us that we help them deal with the stresses of their lives. They tell us that we reassure them that they’re not the only ones fighting these battles. I hope we continue to help our listeners know that they’re not alone.
LG: Is there one piece of advice you think all working women should hear?
AB: Such a hard question! Advice is so contextual for me. I guess I’d say to keep your perspective—remember what really matters to you. And don’t lose your sense of humor. Ever. (Oh—that’s two pieces of advice.)
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