Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Speaker Series: 2013 Global Women’s Executive Summit

Katharine Weymouth serves as Publisher and CEO of The Washington Post, and will be a featured panelist at the 2013 Global Women’s Executive Summit.

Katharine Weymouth, Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of The Washington Post

Being the publisher and chief executive officer of The Washington Post can be almost as challenging as juggling life with three school-aged kids. But, somehow, Katharine manages. Having joined the The Post in 1996 as Assistant Counsel, she worked four years in the legal offices of the news organization at both the newspaper and the website. Katharine earned a B.A. magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1988 and a J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1992. Following law school, she clerked on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for one year. Maintaining a global brand in publishing is difficult, especially when the landscape of the industry is rapidly changing. But for Katharine, it’s a matter of staying in step with the trends and putting her hard-earned education and business acumen to work.

We asked Katharine to reflect on her success and offer advice to future pillars of industry. Here’s what she had to say:

What can an aspiring leader learn from your missteps?
It's okay to fail. In fact, you are going to make mistakes: the key is how you handle them. Accept responsibility, learn from it, and move forward with that learning. The worst thing you can do, in my view, is be afraid to try things because you might fail.

What other career path has always interested you?
I used to think you could plan your career out. Like most type A people, we are planners. But in my experience, the most interesting careers don't work that way. Keep as many doors open as possible and be open to trying things that put you out of your comfort zone. I was planning on being a prosecutor. I think I would have loved that job, but my life led me in a different direction, and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I have been given.

What drives your success?
Fear of failure coupled with a drive to succeed and overcome the odds. Surround yourself with the best people you can find. Seek to hire people who are smarter and better than you are, and give them the room to run. My job is to enable them, set the strategy, and remove obstacles.

Does the media or public set different standards for men and women?
At the end of the day, no – it's results that will drive the public's perception of your success. Women CEOs at the fortune 500 level probably do get more scrutiny – think Marissa Mayer, Meg Whitman, Sheryl Sandberg, etc.? But at the end of the day, it's results that matter.

Hear more perspectives and follow the conversation during this year’s Global Women’s Executive Summit on Twitter, #HLGWES.

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