Women in Business: Lauren McGoodwin, Founder & CEO, Career Contessa

Lauren McGoodwin is the Founder & CEO for Career Contessa. Career Contessa facilitates honest conversations by real women about work and life--to help you achieve fulfillment and balance in both.

Lauren founded Career Contessa in 2013 after experiencing a gap in career development tools for women. She designed, managed and executed the development of CareerContessa.com, which now includes 150+ career interviews with influential women and provides daily career inspiration to over 50k readers. Lauren also built the marketing, social media, and engagement strategy for Career Contessa from the ground up, including Career Contessa's popular newsletter and securing syndication partnerships withRefinery29, The Muse, POPSUGAR, and more.

Formerly, Lauren was a University Recruiter for Hulu focused on hiring, strategy, and program management. She has a BS from University of Oregon and a Masters in Communication Management from USC where she wrote her thesis on millennials and career resources.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
​I played competitive sports up until college, and I think I learned a lot about the power of a team through that. I know now that a strong team, that is personally connected to the leader and the product, is key. With my team, I make sure to recognize the great work people are doing and I schedule time every quarter for us to provide two-way feedback-- which is something I always appreciated from my past managers and coaches.

How has your previous employment experience aided you in creating Career Contessa?
Working as a recruiter at Hulu was a hugely beneficial experience for me. Because of it, I now offer accurate and actionable advice to other women dealing with career challenges. Because I've been on both sides of the table, I'm able to provide career advice and insight that actually holds true in real life, like how to stand out against other applicants or transition to a new industry/ job.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your time at Career Contessa?
I like to focus on celebrating the small victories and those include everything from doing this interview to growing my team to featuring a Contessa that I've been chasing down for some time. They're all incredible highlights to me. And I have the same challenges as any small business owner--growing my readership, figuring out how to monetize, developing products, streamlining my processes, and more.

What advice can you offer women who are looking to start their own business?
Just get started! Like many women, I love to plan and have everything figured out before I implement, but if you're waiting to have all of the puzzle pieces in place to get started, then you might be waiting forever. Starting and building a business is all done through trial and error. Build it, test it, and edit as you go. And develop relationships with other small business women--they are your best resource and ally!

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I manage my expectations and never expect to have a 50/50 split. Just taking that pressure off of myself helps me. I have also set a personal rule to disconnect from all technology every Saturday.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
The issue I get asked about the most is how to transition to a new job or industry without any experience. Women often think that if they started their career in a certain job/company/industry, and it pays well, then it's impossible to try something new--or they assume they will have to start from the bottom. Career transitions can and do happen, but it takes extra effort, work, and networking.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Mentorship is incredibly important, which is why you hear so much about it. I love to talk through business ideas and potential services with my professional network. It's always interesting to see how the different perspectives look at an idea differently. Personally, I have the opportunity to turn CareerContessa.com into a thriving business because they believe in me and that's definitely an important piece of the entrepreneur puzzle.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
I'm a big fan of Alexa von Tobel from LearnVest. I love that she built a financial tool from the everyday person's perspective, and offers an affordable, yet tailored experience. I also really admire her outlook on how to build a business and establish herself as a financial expert.

What do you want Career Contessa to accomplish in the next year?
We are really focusing on growing our brand awareness and readership by expanding our content distribution channels-- video, social media, events, etc. We'd also like to test out a career consulting service that would offer personalized, on-demand career advice for an affordable price from real career experts.