Jill Herzig is editor in chief of Dr. Oz THE GOOD LIFE, a new healthy lifestyle magazine and joint venture from Hearst Magazines and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Inspired by the optimism, curiosity, and energy of Dr. Oz, the magazine delivers fascinating news for the body, mind and soul, plus a healthy dose of fun.
Previously, Herzig was editor in chief of REDBOOK magazine since 2010, where she led the title to a successful redesign and re-energized the conversation between the brand and its 8 million readers. Under her leadership, REDBOOK won a Clarion Award in 2014 and a Gold National Health Information Award in 2011, and was nominated for two ASME National Magazine Awards.
Prior to this, Herzig was the executive editor of Glamour from 2003-2010, during which time the magazine won three ASME National Magazine Awards, including Magazine of the Year, and was nominated five times. In addition to managing the editorial content and staff of the magazine, Herzig worked on brand extensions, including the development of books and special issues. She also played a leading role in the planning of the magazine's signature events.
Herzig was features director of Glamour from 2001 to 2003 and served as special projects director of Self from 1999 to 2001. Before that, she was executive editor of New Woman, senior articles editor of Glamour from 1993 to 1998, and prior to that, a senior editor at M. Herzig began her career at Cosmopolitan, as associate book and fiction editor.
HOW HAS YOUR LIFE EXPERIENCE MADE YOU THE LEADER YOU ARE TODAY?
Curiosity and imagination are the non-negotiable job requirements of all magazine editors. That's what motivates us to chase down news and invent new ways of presenting information. So many influences helped to fire up my creativity, but most of all the summers I spent in rural Vermont as a kid. It was the 70's--no Internet, no video games, no cell phones. The nearest store was too far to even pick up the newspaper. The extent of our media exposure was a tiny black and white TV with rabbit ears made of tin foil (it got three grainy channels if you were lucky) and my parents' typical sixties collection of folk music records. So all day, I ran around the dirt roads and fields and woods and streams with my best friend, Heather. We made up whole worlds and played out incredible dramas in them. I'm so grateful to have found a business where my imagination is still constantly at play. And nothing thrills me more than bouncing ideas around with other highly excitable editors and designers. Yes, I lead a team, but we're really just creating together.
HOW HAS YOUR PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT EXPERIENCE AIDED YOUR POSITION AT DR. OZ THE GOOD LIFE?
I had never worked on an official launch before coming to this magazine, but I was the editor in chief of Redbook before I got here and we did a soup-to-nuts rebrand of that magazine three years ago. It was such a complete overhaul that many new readers thought Redbook, then 112 years old, was a brand new magazine and thanked us for starting it. The Redbook experience helped prepare me for the untethered feeling of launch life. You try new stuff all the time; some of it works and some of it doesn't. You don't get too attached to your ideas, especially if the readers don't love them as much as you do. Launching requires a much looser style, basically, and if we hadn't taken such an extreme approach at Redbook (it worked by the way--from both a consumer and advertising perspective) I'm not sure I would have been up for the challenge of launching a new brand.
WHAT HAVE THE HIGHLIGHTS AND CHALLENGES BEEN DURING YOUR TENURE AT DOTGL?
I've loved working with Dr. Oz and Lisa Oz. Meeting them to talk about the magazine for the first time in Hearst Magazines' Editorial Director Ellen Levine's office was a major highlight. We clicked immediately. Their energy is astounding. Another highlight-and challenge-was the launch of our website and social media platforms on September 1. There is so much health news, and health "gossip" out there online. It killed me not having a way to jump into the conversation with our clear point of view. It's been thrilling to engage with our readers outside the pages of the magazine and see what resonates most with them online. We've developed a great dialogue, and I'm excited to expand on that relationship in the future.
HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK/LIFE BALANCE?
It's elusive, but one change I made this year was cutting out working at home after dinner. I work on my commute from Brooklyn, all day in our open newsroom at the Hearst Tower, and on my commute home. That, my friends, is plenty of work. Once I'm back home, I am all about my daughters and my husband. I carve out time for exercise because I would go bonkers without it. Also, I am always thinking about my next vacation with the fam. And almost every Friday night, I invent a new cocktail. My tolerance for alcohol is pathetically low, so I've gotta make that one drink count.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BIGGEST ISSUE FOR WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE?
It's incredibly challenging to push through the years when you have little kids without dropping out of the game entirely. Support systems for working moms of tiny kids are virtually nonexistent. Those are such important career-building years; I think we've got to do a better job bolstering those women. When I had my daughters, I also had an amazing boss who let me take longer-than-normal maternity leaves and understood when I would sometimes bolt out of the office to deal with something going on at home. I am eternally grateful to her. Women need more bosses with the power to manage the way she did.
HOW HAS MENTORSHIP MADE A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL LIFE?
I've been so fortunate in this regard. My mentors are also great friends. They give me sage advice and push me to try scary things, but they are also the best lunch dates around. Wildly funny, always honest, and very cool.
WHICH OTHER FEMALE LEADERS DO YOU ADMIRE AND WHY?
There are so many, ranging from Hillary Clinton to Malala Yousafzai to Amy Poehler. But I am also inspired by the women I encounter every day running small businesses and teams around New York. No boldfaced names--just gritty women making it work in a frenetic city.
WHAT DO YOU WANT DOTGL TO ACCOMPLISH IN THE NEXT YEAR?
I'd like our site to become the most trusted source of healthy lifestyle information online; just solid news and constant motivation. I'd also like to move up the list of the top-selling magazines on American newsstands. We debuted at #9 after only seven issues, and we're now at #7, but I'm excited about additional growth as we get Dr. Oz's message out to a broader audience.