There are rock star women of the business world you know, and then there are the unsung heroes. Sure, we love the Cathie Blacks and the Carly Fiorinas of the world – the Marissas and the Sheryls whose high powered and equally high profiled careers drive excitement and energy around women in business. But maybe even more, we love women who build strong and viable businesses, who make deals and keep their reputations clean, whose names you might not know. Gina Centrello is one of those women.
She is rarely interviewed and unfortunately less talked about than many women in business, but her impact is heavy. She took Random House from flailing to wildly successful and (according to Marie Clarie) “still made it home for dinner.” She is the definition of a working mom and someone who has clawed her way to the top. She often gets flack for being of a different pedigree than many editors in the industry and has been criticized for her style and lack of experience.
Marie Claire landed the coveted interview with Centrello recently, and while all of her insights were valuable, this tidbit proved to be our favorite:
How important have mentors been to your career?
Publishing is much more of an apprenticeship business. If you’re fortunate to work for smart people, which I was, you can learn from watching how they publish books. Sometimes you learn what you wouldn’tdo if you were in charge. For example, when I started in the business, if you had children, you didn’t just walk out because you had to take the baby for a doctor’s visit. You made up an excuse because you wanted to be taken seriously. I knew someday I wanted to set up a company where that wasn’t necessary.