I’m Lauren McGoodwin, CEO of Career Contessa, and This Is How I Work


I'm Lauren McGoodwin, CEO of Career Contessa, and This Is How I Work

After graduating into a lackluster job market, Lauren McGoodwin needed some career guidance. She eventually got a job working as a recruiter for a big company but still felt there was a lack of career development resources available to young women—so she decided to create her own.

Career Contessa is focused on bringing long-term career advice to young women through conversations and interviews. They also offer mentorships with professionals that don’t devolve into cheesy life advice. It’s fairly new—Lauren started it in 2013 as a side project—but they’re well on their way to establishing an outlet where millennial women can find some career guidance and connect with mentors. We spoke with Lauren to learn a bit about her own career and how she works.

Location: Los Angeles, CA. I live in Redondo Beach and work in downtown LA.
Current Gig: Founder + CEO, Career Contessa
One word that best describes how you work: Efficiently. At least, that’s what I strive for. On any given day, I’m moving from editorial to product development to social media strategy and more. I try to be efficient with my time by scheduling every meeting and blocking off parts of my day for heads down work.
Current mobile device: White iPhone 6
Current computer: MacBook Air. I just got it, and I’m still amazed at how much lighter it is than my 2009 MacBook. Given that I’m lugging it with me everywhere from home to coffee meetings to our coworking space, I should’ve upgraded sooner. My shoulders appreciate it.

First of all, what was the impetus for Career Contessa?

I started Career Contessa as a passion project while I was working as a recruiter for Hulu. The site featured informational interviews with successful career women from a variety of industries and job functions. It was my way of educating women about potential job opportunities in a relatable and visually appealing way—a resource I wish existed when I was the one in a job I hated and trying to figure out what I should do next. I ran Career Contessa as a side project for 1.5 years before I left Hulu to work on it full-time.

This year, we expanded Career Contessa to include a new service, Hire An Expert, a women-centric career mentorship platform. During my time as a recruiter, I noticed a real gap in career mentorship available for women, and I wanted to change that. The problem is that the career mentorship space is fragmented. Typically, women have limited resources looking to their friends, parents, or a cheesy life coach for advice. But those resources don’t always have the right expertise or background you need when you’re looking for specific help on your career path.


What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without?

I’m obsessed with Instagram. So obsessed that it’s the only social platform I’ve refused to give over to my social media team. I like to personally curate the quotes and captions, and it’s a way that I can make direct contact with our readers. I’m also a LinkedIn junkie and I love teaching other people how to use it to help them grow professionally.

What’s your workspace setup like? Coffee shop with laptop and headphones? Home office with a standing desk?

We’re in a “cowork” space in Downtown LA’s Art District. That actually makes it sound more formal than it is—it’s a cool old loft apartment converted into an office with about a dozen creatives (film makers, graphic designers, jewelry makers, etc.) in desks scattered throughout. Career Contessa works from a large table in the back corner. When I first went full-time with CC, I worked exclusively from home, but it was too isolating for me and hard to know when to turn off work at night. Now the team works together at the space all week and from home on Fridays—I think having a day at home provides a nice change of pace and ultimately makes us more productive and innovative.

The best thing about our cowork space is the mix of personalities and projects, plus the odd conversation about new restaurants, the presidential campaign, or someone’s latest internet date. Plus the Arts District is exploding. It seems like there are trendy coffee shops, food trucks, and breweries moving in every day so we’re never at a loss for good lunch or happy hour options.

I'm Lauren McGoodwin, CEO of Career Contessa, and This Is How I Work

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?

Besides all the side streets I take to make my 60-minute commute shorter? In terms of work, I definitely rely on the folders inside my email to keep all the moving parts straight. I get anxious if I have too many emails just sitting in my inbox so I put every email into a folder with the “priority” folder always getting first dibs. At first this routine seemed tedious but after practicing it for a month, I realized how big a time saver it really was.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?

Too much technology can be overwhelming and I like my to-do list easily available throughout my day to update. I’m religious about writing a to-do list each morning without any fancy apps. Pen and paper all the way.

I'm Lauren McGoodwin, CEO of Career Contessa, and This Is How I Work

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?

My Fitbit. I wear it everyday and most people I work with know I’m going to suggest we “walk while we talk.” It’s a big effort to hit those 10,000 steps each day!

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret?

I make green smoothies that are actually delicious—and healthy.

What do you listen to while you work? Got a favorite playlist? Maybe talk radio? Or do you prefer silence?

Silence—but there’s plenty of cowork chatter happening throughout the day.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before. It’s all about the power of routines and even though I’m already a very habitual person, this book is changing the way I think about routines in my life and business. I also loved her first book, The Happiness Project—another game changer for me!

How do you recharge?

I’ve recently gotten into boxing and I love it! I’m aware this sounds nuts, but there’s something incredibly “recharging” about hitting something really hard. I also reset by taking a walk and listening to a non-business advice podcast. A walk and fresh air can be a real treat for your brain.

What’s your sleep routine like? Are you a night owl or early-riser?

I’m a very early-riser. I get up at 5am each day and do my best “focused” work between 6am-9am. I leave for my office later in the morning since my commute is better at that time, and I start pounding through emails and meetings once I arrive. I love waking up early so I have a part of my day that is quiet and uninterrupted.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.

Alexa Von Tobel of LearnVest. Carly and Danielle from The Skimm.


What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

That clarity comes from engagement. We all get stuck at some point in our lives, careers, health, etc. But sitting on the couch and thinking really hard about the solution won’t cut it. Get out there and try new things, talk to new people, or just experience something new. Long before CC, when I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life but knew the job I had wasn’t “it,” I racked up countless hours going to informational interviews. Believe me, by the end, I knew myself better than I ever had. The more you engage, the more clarity you’ll gain.

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans?

We’ve dubbed this the year of “engagement” for Career Contessa so we’d love to hear any feedback or ideas our readers have for us. We’re not only expanding our online mentorship offerings, but we’re aiming to expand our reach with in-person workshops and events. We’re also looking into partnering with other great women, companies, and platforms to bring some hybrid programs and offerings to our readers. We love collaboration.

The How I Work series asks heroes, experts, and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. Every other Wednesday we’ll feature a new guest and the gadgets, apps, tips, and tricks that keep them going. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? Email Andy. Photos by Joe + Kathrina.

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Don’t expect miracles with ‘facelifting’ spray Plosion




Japanese company MTG, which previously brought us face-slimming device Facial Fitness Pao has a new product called Plosion, a spray mist that it claims can provide an instant facelift to the user.

The Plosion spray device has two liquid chambers within — one containing a skin serum, and the other filled with carbonic acid. The carbonic acid purportedly allows the serum to better permeate the skin and be retained in the deeper dermis layers for better efficacy.

Carbonic acid-based products have been on the rise in the Asian beauty industry. Its proponents say the carbonic acid sets these sprays apart from regular water-based face mists, which spritz water that only sits on the topmost layer of the skin. Other manufacturers also say washing your face with carbonated water can help deep clean pores, slough off dead skin, improve your skin’s elasticity and radiance, and freshen up tired skin after a long day. Read more…

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Plans to Issue Stock Using Bitcoin's Blockchain Technology Have Been Approved

Bitcoin has been shaking up the world of finance, but its underlying technology—known as blockchain—may yet have an even more pervasive effect. Now, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has given the green light for shares to be issued on the blockchain.

According to public documents filed by the company Overstock, the SEC has approved it to issue publicly traded shares via blockchain-based technology. Wired notes that Overstock’s already used the blockchain to issue private bonds, but that didn’t require approval from the SEC.

You can think of the blockchain as a kind of global ledger which keeps accurate track of the exchange of money, and that’s how it’s used by Bitcoin. But anything that has a value—from property to stocks—can in theory also be recorded using the same concept.

The move to allow stock to be publicly traded using the technology, then, is big news. And it may yet prove to be the start of an entirely different approach to the way that financial systems are managed in the future.


Image by Stéfan under Creative Commons license

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Party-Screenshot-1 Just in time for your holiday soiree, Spotify is unveiling its latest push into event- and activity-based music curation to capture users who may not have playlists of their own. It is taking the wraps off Spotify Party, music sets for social gatherings crafted by DJs — with the debut including exclusive content from Diplo. Spotify Party will initially be available only on iOS… Read More

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The best drone photography of 2015, from all over the world




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These are some of the best photos posted in 2015 on Dronestragram, a social network specifically for sharing drone photography.

"Drones are becoming an increasingly accessible way to get a new perspective on the world," Eric Dupin, CEO of Dronestagram, said in a statement. "There literally are no physical limits as to where a shot can take place anymore."

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. Read more…

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