Kathryn Minshew is the CEO & Founder of The Muse, a career platform and job discovery tool serving more than 2 million professionals worldwide. Kathryn has appeared on CNN and Bloomberg, spoken at MIT and Harvard, and was recently named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Media and Inc.’s 15 Women to Watch in Tech. She previously worked on vaccine introduction in Rwanda and Malawi with the Clinton Health Access Initiative and worked at the management consultancy McKinsey & Company.
Why does the world need a work revolution?
Work comes in all shapes and sizes, yet most people don’t get the help they need to figure out what they want to do with their lives. That’s what we aim to tackle at TheMuse.com . As children we’re given such a limited set of options: doctor, lawyer, fireman, engineer. When we grow older the options expand, but only to those we learn about via our friends and family or see on TV. At TheMuse.com, we aim to correct this information asymmetry by giving people a personalized, inside look at a variety of careers and companies.
How are you or your organization reinventing work in some way (big or small)?
We at TheMuse.com want to change the way people think about their careers. We do a lot to help individuals succeed, from covering negotiation strategies to tactics for hiring, firing or managing a team. In addition, we help people find jobs they like via the lens of company culture and fit. They can explore the inside of hundreds of jobs via photos of the offices and video interviews with employees.
Why do you do what you do?
I absolutely love what I do at a very deep, gut level. Even when the day-to-day going gets tough, on a macro level I feel like I’m working on something incredible and I can’t stop until the problem is solved and the vision is realized. I’ve never felt more aligned with that nebulous concept of “what I was supposed to be doing” with my life. I love what I do and I’m so grateful that I’m allowed to do it.
What is one discipline/industry totally different from your own that has inspired you?
Film and theatre. I have a close childhood friend who’s a theatre director, and I immensely enjoy watching her create a living, breathing play from an idea and a script. I find the art of improvisation to be incredibly helpful as well.
What’s your preferred work environment look like?
I like well-lit spaces with ambient noise, and my ideal work environment would be in the midst of friends and colleagues who are all striving for something big. My team currently works out of the General Assembly space in Flatiron, NYC, and it’s a great combination of aesthetics and functionality.
Tell us something surprising about you:
Before I started my company, I used to travel all the time. I’ve been rejected from the border between Rwanda and the DR Congo, and from the crossing between Iran and Turkey. I’m a junkie for new cultures and new experiences and there are very few places I wouldn’t look forward to experiencing. One of my more surprising talents is that I’m a very good shot with a South American blowgun.
What piece of technology (other than your laptop/smartphone/tablet) could you not live without and why?
Airplanes so I could travel internationally ☺
What do you do for fun?
I love biking, reading great stories and exploring new parts of New York City.
How do you stay productive throughout your day?
I try to mix up as many different activities as possible, so I’m never doing just one thing for too long. I intersperse 2-hour blocks of focused work time with meetings, brainstorming sessions, and shorter email clearouts in order to keep my brain on its toes.
Tell us something surprising about you:
I’m great at accents and occasionally convince people I’m French, British or various dialects of Southern American.
What is “required reading” or “required viewing” for people who want to understand what makes you tick?
- Sometimes people understand my company the best when they hear me talk about it.
- My approach to entrepreneurship relies heavily on connections with other people, and I consider this to be a mini-manifesto in that regard: Harvard Business Review, Never Say No to Networking.
- I’m a huge fan of movies that make you think, and a recent favorite was Looper.
How can people connect with you?
Where in the world are you?
New York, NY