Discover more from My 23-Year-Old Self: True Stories From the Come Up
What advice would you give your 23-year-old self when you were starting out in the business world?
Oh, where to start...
This is My 23-Year-Old Self: True Stories From the Come Up, a podcast — and also a newsletter — about the advice successful women in media, entertainment, and technology would give their younger selves when they were coming up in these male-heavy fields. (Yes, there are wonderful male allies out there as well, and you’ll hear from them throughout our series!)
If you could go back in time, as you were starting your career, what would you tell your 23-year-old self? And if you're around that age now, don't you wish your older self could send you some wisdom from the future?
Speaking for myself, I really could have used future wisdom when I was starting my career as a woman in media, entertainment, and technology. These are all industries that have historically been dominated by men — but like many things in life, they'd be nowhere without talented women in leadership positions.
That's the inspiration for this podcast. On every episode, we'll talk with successful women in media, entertainment, and technology — and some good male supporters, too — and discuss the advice they'd give their younger selves when they were on the come-up.
There are so many obstacles for women in these fields, and the talks on My 23-Year-Old Self are designed to help listeners avoid the pitfalls that can plague women in these industries. We're talking specific, actionable advice for women and others who are trying to move up the ladder in male-heavy industries the right way.
For example, there's a word that some women tend to overuse. Banish it from your professional vocabulary, and you will see results. (Spoiler alert: That word is not "yes.") There's also a task that tends to get assigned to women in meetings, even if they're surrounded by men that are lateral to or even junior to them. We'll talk about ways to shift that task elsewhere — without getting a reputation for coming from a place of no. This is practical advice on how to assert yourself in the right ways, how to get the respect you deserve — and how to find and friend your real allies.
Why me, and why 23? I'm Zena Burns, and after dropping out of college to work for a small indie label owned by members of The Smashing Pumpkins and Fountains of Wayne, I got my big media break at age 23. I was hired at Teen People Magazine, which was new back then and helped launch the careers of everyone from Britney, Backstreet, and 'Nsync, to Katy Perry, The Killers, Rihanna, and many more.
I eventually jumped to the company now known as iHeartMedia, where I helped launch the iHeartRadio Brand and app. And along the way to my current gig as an SVP at tech firm Futuri, I was ridiculously lucky enough to benefit from the wisdom of those who'd walked in my shoes and were generous with their time and advice. So many of my peers today want to do the same for the younger generation, and the idea for this podcast was born.
Whether you're on the come-up yourself or you just want to hear stories from some of the most interesting, successful women in business, My 23-Year-Old Self has something for you. You can follow or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. And we hope you’ll subscribe (for free!) to this Substack, where you’ll get newsletter updates with episode recaps, behind-the-scenes details, and more.
My 23-Year-Old Self: True Stories From the Come Up. Available now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.