WHO SHE IS
Kathleen Harris, VP Content Development, Levo.com
WHERE SHE IS
New York City
I’m lucky that I always knew I wanted to be a writer/editor. I went to Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and have worked in publishing since. I began my career in the startup world, from digital startup to print magazine startup. Then spent the bulk of my experience as an editor at Time Inc., The Knot, and Real Simple, with a detour to write a book (The Catholic Girl’s Guide to Sex).
3 days a week in Levo’s office, 1 day from home, and 1 day off
Sam (4), Henry & Charlotte (2)
Dark chocolate and Instagram
RECENT SMART READ
I just finished Americanah, which was amazing, and I’m now reading The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money.
GO-TO WEEKNIGHT DINNER
I love to grill. It’s easy and doesn’t require a ton of clean up! One latest favorite: Marinade salmon in a mix of maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper. Even my kids will eat it.
Real Simple, New York Magazine, Parents
FAVORITE TV SHOW
Right now? Silicon Valley
Asana, Slack, Evernote
BEST TIME-MANAGEMENT TIP
Don’t just have shoes in a basket by the front door, have a basket of socks too! My kids lose their socks more often than their shoes. I don’t know where they all go.
BETTER WAY TO SAY WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
Life. Work is an essential part of life and not optional for most people, so in my mind it’s more about making decisions on a daily basis based on what’s going on in your complete world.
1. Tell us about your work at Levo League and how you got here.
I had heard about Levo when it launched in 2011—and remember watching Sheryl Sandberg’s Office Hours. I was impressed and intrigued by what they were doing. A few months after the birth of my twins in 2013, I went to lunch with my former colleague Shannon King, who had just become COO of Levo. We talked about the company, its vision and mission to help the next generation of female leaders navigate the first 10 years of their careers. I had never been so energized. She told me they needed someone to develop a new content strategy and create and manage the editorial department. The ideas just started pouring out of me. Even though I had 6-month-old twins and knew working for a startup would be like having another baby, I was convinced I had to take this leap.
2. At Levo, you’re focused on helping the next generation of women elevate their careers. What’s your biggest takeaway from this group of women and what they want?
I’m so impressed with Millennials. I think they get an unfair reputation for being lazy and entitled. What I’ve witnessed is in fact the opposite. Millennials won’t stand for the same old, antiquated way of working. Is that being entitled? Or simply having the confidence and innovation to question the status quo to create a more modern work environment?
I think more Millennial women expect a seat at the table, expect their ideas to be heard, and expect to work for a company that values their beliefs. In our Levo Listens survey we found that when it comes to choosing a new job, culture and company values were rated as higher than compensation. They also want a family one day and want to work for a company where they can see female role models who are showing them it can be done. It’s not about having it all, it’s about making work work for you.
3. It sounds like you selected Levo as much as they selected you. As a working mom, what was attractive to you about the culture?
First, the mission really drove me. After my twins, and especially a girl, I had this desire to help build something from the ground up and knew if I was going to be away from my 3 kids, I wanted to feel passionately about the work I was doing. Not everyone can be that lucky, I know, but I was fortunate enough to find a company that was aligned with my skills, desires inspiration, and motivation.
I also knew that a startup would be more open to a modern work environment and has the flexibility to test and create its own policies. Just the other day we were talking about Levo’s maternity leave policy. Caroline asked the working moms in the room, what would be our ideal policy that is realistic knowing the demands of a startup. It was amazing to be able to help craft a policy to help other new working mothers. The United States is abysmal when it comes to paid maternity leave—it’s something I feel very passionately about.
4. All of Levo works from home one day a week. How does this work for the team?
When I started at Levo I negotiated a work-from-home day. As a working mom with an hour-plus commute, I knew this would help make life a little easier. After a few weeks of me working from home on that day, a few other team members asked their manager if they could be offered the same benefit—just because they didn’t have kids, it didn’t mean that a work-from-home day would help them out too. Our amazing CEO naturally agreed and it has created such a better, fair work environment. I don’t feel like an outcast with a special privilege.
Technology allows us to stay productive and in touch even without seeing each other. Our team is on Slack, which allows for super easy communication about breaking news stories and what’s happening. With many of our team members scattered throughout the world, our team is used to having meetings on Google Hangout. There’s not a meeting that goes by that someone isn’t calling in virtually. Because of this modern work environment, we are able to get just as much work done, if not even more. Tuesdays tend to be our “Get Stuff Done” day, where we try to schedule few meetings and focus on what we need to do.
5. How do you organize your day when you work from home? Are your children home while you are there? How does this work?
With three young children at home, I’m not going to lie, it’s not ideal. I basically hide out in the office that’s off our bedroom. My babysitter does an amazing job keeping them occupied. Since a large portion of the team is on the West Coast, my meetings tend to be in the afternoon to accommodate PST. So I will typically work from home (aka hide out) in the morning, have lunch with the kids, and then walk to my aunt’s house that lives two blocks away. She lives alone so it’s the perfect escape.