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#Troublemaker

Sharing reflections from
extraordinary women

Meet Neha Gandhi
COO & Editor-in-Chief, Girlboss
Formerly SVP Content, Refinery29

WHEN DID YOU DECIDE YOU WOULD BECOME A _______?

A journalist. After my first internship at People magazine, the summer after my junior year in college, I was hooked. I wanted to interview all kinds of people, to pull out their stories, to talk about new (and old) ideas, and to see my words in print. There isn't anything quite like the thrill of seeing a piece that you really love, with your byline on it, go out into the world, and then to hear from people that they read it and had a reaction to it (good, bad, outraged, inspired—anything).  

WHAT’S BEEN THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED ALONG YOUR CAREER JOURNEY?

It's not enough to put your head down and work hard and hope someone notices. And by that, I mean: You have to work hard. You have to be excellent. You have to deliver on what you promise you will do. But that's the bare minimum. To really succeed, you have to look around and identify what a business needs and figure out how you can go above and beyond and help solve the problems that matter. You have to lead by example. And you have to ensure that people know why the work you are doing matters—take credit for it. And when you are in a position of power, give credit freely as well.  

HOW DO YOU KEEP YOURSELF MOTIVATED?

Honestly, I love my work. I feel so inspired by the mission of what we do at Girlboss—helping women define and redefine success on their own terms—that it's easy to stay motivated. That doesn't mean that I'm firing at 110% every day or that I never doubt myself or fail or fall short. But it means that when things are hard, I can think on our mission and purpose—and the value we add to women's lives daily, through resources, through access, through connections to other like-minded women—and remember why it's worthwhile to keep pushing. 

HOW DO YOU RECHARGE?

I sleep nearly eight hours every single night. That's something new in the past year, and it's changed everything. I also love the endorphin rush of running—outside or on a treadmill, it doesn't matter—just a few miles, and slowly. It feels like truly alone time for me to work through my thoughts and just spend time on myself.  

HOW DO YOU THINK WOMEN CAN HELP OTHER WOMEN?

We have to listen and hear each other. We have to amplify each others' voices. We have to consider backgrounds and experiences and viewpoints that aren't our own. And we have to show up and keep fighting for our ideals and our rights every day—even, and especially, when we are exhausted from the fight.

WHAT DOES BEING A TROUBLEMAKER MEAN TO YOU?

Challenging expectations. Speaking up when I see something that isn't right. Asking tough questions. Not settling for the status quo.  

IF YOU COULD BRING 5 OBJECTS FROM YOUR PAST INTO YOUR FUTURE CAREER JOURNEY, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

1) A pair of black patent Bottega Veneta pumps that were the very first "fancy" thing I bought for myself as a working woman. I was an assistant at Harper's Bazaar, and I definitely couldn't afford them, but I saved for a few months and made a semi-irresponsible splurge. But I still have them—and the cost/wear on this things is almost free at this point. 2) A pair of small diamond studs that my mother gave me when I got my first promotion in magazines. Wearing these helped me realize that costume jewelry, for the most part, wasn't for me. I liked simpler accessories that I could wear daily, and make a part of my routine. 3) Black J.Crew Minnie pants that I keep buying over and over. They are a mainstay of my professional wardrobe that I've work on job interviews, to board meetings—even the first time I interviewed Hillary Clinton. 4) My Apple Watch. It's not the most stylish accessory, but it's extraordinarily functional. It keeps me connected just enough. It reminds me to stand hourly during the work day. And it reminds me to breathe. These are all essential to my workplace wellbeing. 5) A long-sleeved Refinery29 workout top that we made for the team, for one of the first leadership retreats we ever did. The piece reminds me of how much I learned and how much I grew in the 6 years I was there...and it's also just an excellent piece of workout wear. And working out often, feeling that endorphin high of a quick run, is as essential to my career success and wellbeing as anything else that I do. 

    Follow Neha @nehaintown