• Give a Gift
  • Customer Service
  • Promotions
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Win
  • Games

June 19, 2012

I Started at the Bottom… Now I'm the Boss!

Share
Special Offer

Julie Greenwald
Chairman and Chief Operating Officer, Atlantic Records

STARTED AS: Personal assistant

Law-school-bound Greenwald took a summer job as aide (and chief coffee fetcher) for Lyor Cohen, head of the then fledgling hip-hop label Def Jam Records. The 42-year-old mother of two worked her way up to president of what later became known as Island Def Jam Records before jumping with Cohen to Atlantic Records in 2004.

TIP #1: ASK A TON OF "DUMB" QUESTIONS. "I was 22 when I started with Lyor, and my desk was literally on the edge of his couch. It was very intimidating. But ignorance is bliss. I went in, asked a lot of questions, and threw out a lot of dumb ideas. I had nothing to lose. For every idea that made them say, 'Wow, that's really good,' they made fun of me for the 50 others that weren't. But I wouldn't let it bother me."

TIP #2: DON'T WHINE—FIX THE PROBLEM. "All the male executives used to go out on golf outings, and I didn't know how to play. I felt left out and out of the loop. It was like, no matter how much I was respected inside these hallways, if I couldn't do those extra social bonding experiences that make executives tighter, I was at a disadvantage. I had to speak up. So I suggested we go to basketball games or skiing instead, which I knew Lyor loved to do—and I did, too. And Lyor agreed. That's how I fixed that problem. I just had to speak up."

TIP #3: EVEN THE GREATEST JOBS DEMAND SACRIFICES. "I live a crazy life—every night I see a live show and get home at midnight. My children [Lulu, 12, and Eli, 7] used to get very mad at me because I never picked them up from school. I was the only mother who didn't, but I just couldn't leave the office at 3 p.m. Of course, now my daughter gets to go to concerts and she appreciates what I do. But there was a long time when she'd say, 'Why does Dad always pick me up?' I think it's really comforting when super-successful women acknowledge the fact that it's really hard."


Share
Connect with Marie Claire:
Advertisement
horoscopes
daily giveaway
One (1) winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $188) and a year’s supply of hair products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $108).

One (1) winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $188) and a year’s supply of hair products from L’Oréal Paris (ARV: $108).

enter now
You Know You Want More
More From Career and Money Tips
6 Truths About How To Make it in The Fashion Industry

Whitney Port dishes on how she worked her way up from reality star to fashion mogul.

How To Land A Job At Microsoft

Enhance your PC—your personal career.

What If There Was a Dictionary of Words Used Only to Describe Women?

It would make an awfully thick volume indeed.

post a comment

Special Offer
Link Your Marie Claire Account to Facebook
Welcome!

Marie Claire already has an account with this email address. Link your account to use Facebook to sign in to Marie Claire. To insure we protect your account, please fill in your password below.

Forgot Password?

Thanks for Joining

Your information has been saved and an account has been created for you giving you full access to everything marieclaire.com and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your username and/or password or complete your profile, click here.

Continue
Your accounts are now linked

You now have full access to everything Marie Claire and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your settings or profile, click here.

Continue