Need some job search inspiration? Want to meet inspirational women from all fields of work? Meet Brianne Burrowes, CEO of I Want Her Job, a website showcasing talented and successful women throughout the country. From television personalities, wildlife biology, and acupuncture, Brianne tells Love Twenty all about starting up the site, her female inspirations, and the secret of balancing of two jobs.
What inspired you to start I Want Her Job?
During spring 2010, I was looking to make an industry switch in my career – from magazine journalism to advertising. A journalist at heart, the best way I knew to find out about this new career was to pick the brains of those already in it! I had some incredibly kind friends who opened up their networks to me. Then over more cups of coffee than I can count, I started to realize I was asking the same questions whenever I met with someone, and I thought, “It would be great if there was a website that featured mini informational interviews.”
At the same time I also ran a fashion blog. On it I had a weekly feature where I showcased females in amazing jobs in fashion. It was called “I Want Her Job.” I thought, “Why not turn this into a site?” I was, admittedly, burnt out on writing about fashion but loved the site for that section. So, I made a plan for the site, asked a few friends for interviews and I Want Her Job was born.
Women, no doubt, find it easier to be envious of one another rather than come together as a community. Do you feel that I Want Her Job is trying to erase this attitude?
Absolutely! I’ve always been intrigued by how men interact. They rarely get angry with one another, especially about petty things or misconstrued details. (If two men wear the same black t-shirt out, do you ever see them get angry about it? No.) And they really band together. There’s such thing as a “good ole’ boys club” because of this mentality. And it got me thinking. Oftentimes, what stands in the way of women getting ahead in their careers or personal life has nothing to do with men, but everything to do with other women. At IWHJ, we believe that women can do more if they work together – not against – one another. Don’t get me wrong; a competitive nature is healthy and necessary to being successful. But the bottom line is that women should help other women. We’ll be better off for it – collectively and individually.
How was the site building process?
I feel like a lot of people might look at building a site as a hurdle to bringing an idea to life. Maybe they feel like they aren’t technically savvy enough, or they might not know anything about site hosting. I was one of those girls, and trust me, I spent many nights frustrated trying to figure out how it all worked. But, like anything in life, I asked friends who were smarter than me in this particular area to help. I sent emails, picked their brains, exchanged editing time for time on their end to help me with the site. There’s always a way. Plus, now with sites like Blogger and WordPress, it’s easier than ever to just get started! Don’t worry about it being perfect right away. Just make it happen. Oh, and one other thing. I feel if I never would have gone through that process I would never be where I am today in my job (as a social media strategist at an ad agency). You really do learn more by just trying something – just making it happen.
What kind of response has I Want Her Job received?
The response to IWHJ has been motivating, inspiring, enriching and incredibly rewarding. I remember when the site was comprised of interviews with five friends, an About page and a Contact page. All of IWHJ’s Facebook fans were my friends. Our Twitter account had maybe 50 followers. And now, less than two years later, it’s a real community. We have a team of four – soon to be five – editors, and all of those people donate their free time to working on the site. They believe in our mission and what our community stands for. It’s quite humbling to watch this idea grow and exhilarating to watch it inspire others. And at the end of the day, it’s all for our readers. We spend our extra hours in the day creating this site to help them discover their dream job, find inspiration and become the incredible female leaders they’re meant to be.
Who are/were some of your inspirations or female role models growing up?
When I was a little girl I dreamed of being a writer, and I was an avid reader of Nancy Drew books and The Baby-Sitters Club series. Just a few months ago I had the opportunity to interview Ann M. Martin, author of the BSC books and someone who I looked up to in a big way growing up. My mom, obviously, has been a strong force and influence in my life. She was the first female vice president at the company she works at and is a born leader. How motivating is that for a girl who wants to lead more than anything?
What do you want your users to take away from your site?
I want them to leave the site feeling inspired and knowing they can do anything. I also want them to realize women want to help other women – not tear them down like media so often portrays.
Have you had any users tell you of their success stories in finding jobs from using this site?
Yes! This is one of my favorite aspects of working on the site. I’ve met girls who’ve discovered their dream job, have switched industries, have become interns at companies, etc., all because one specific profile – or string of profiles – resonated with them.
You work two jobs, one at an ad agency and the other at I Want Her Job. What is your greatest challenge in balancing both careers?
It’s definitely a challenge at times. I’ve come to realize that I can’t always be everything to everyone. I can’t always be 100 percent focused on the site or 100 percent focused on my agency. Some days my agency job takes 110 percent of my time. Other days I might have I Want Her Job on my brain nonstop. But the key to really finding some sort of balance, I’ve learned the hard way, is to carve out time to shut my laptop and not focus on either. I work on IWHJ in my free time, which means it consumes a lot of my off hours when I’m not at the agency. But the only way to prevent myself from feeling disconnected and like I’m on my laptop all the time, is to shut my laptop, make time for my friends, attend NASCAR races (which is one of my favorite things to do) and just enjoy life. Living life as the happiest person I can be while contributing something valuable to this world is what I define as true success.
How did you make the most of your experience at college? You were once the editor of the Montanan at the University of Montana for three years, which is totally awesome!
My favorite part of college was probably my job. I worked in the public relations office at The University of Montana during school. When I graduated I was offered the job as editor-in-chief of the Montanan, the alumni magazine at UM that is sent out to more than 83,000 alums! I was the youngest-ever person in this role, so the responsibility was enormous – but so was the opportunity.
Around my third year as the editor-in-chief I found myself more and more enamored with social media – from listening to what readers wanted to seeing how they interacted with different types of content online. From there, I helped launch numerous new media initiatives on campus, including our YouTube channel and Twitter account. I found myself wanting to spend more time interacting with others on those platforms, so that’s when I decided I wanted to make a career out of it. Now, here I am!
How can users get involved in I Want Her Job?
Easy! Read the site and interact with our community on Facebook, through Twitter and on Pinterest and Instagram. And don’t be strangers. We love to interact with our readers. After all, this site isn’t ours; it’s yours!