Gillian Gorman Round is general manager and senior vice president for Lucky magazine, overseeing both its editorial and business functions. In this role, she is responsible for revenue generation, brand development, and strategic partnerships. With previous leadership positions at Condé Nast, Lancôme, and Yves Saint Laurent, Gorman Round has played pivotal roles in creating successful revenue-growing programs, multi-faceted marketing strategies, developing and optimizing e-commerce platforms, and operations management. She shared her top ten tips for advancing your career during Levo League’s Office Hours.
1. Learning from a bad manager
At some point in your career, you will experience working with a difficult manager. Gorman Round’s advice is to, “learn as much what you will never do when you become a senior manager from the person that you hate working for as much as what you will do from the person you love working for.”
2. Work hard
Early in her career, she was frustrated by the fact that her peers who chose to pursue careers in banking appeared to be making significantly more money, but working less hours. “I worked every hour that God sent and then a few more,” she said. However, she now feels that working those long hours and performing some of the more menial tasks “stands you in good stead.”
3. Be humble
No matter how menial your task may appear, do it with a smile on your face. “Obviously don’t accept any nonsense or harassment,” she said. “But if someone asks you to get the coffee—get them the coffee. It’s really not that big of a deal…honestly, that will be rewarded tenfold.”
4. Not everything you touch will turn to gold
Although Gorman Round has experienced many successes in her career, she has faced many failures as well. “Sometimes you learn the most from the stuff that burns brightly out of control and then dies without trace,” she explained. If you take the time to examine the steps and the process you went through, you will learn from these experiences what you won’t do again, and that some things are fundamentally out of your control.
5. You can still grow
Despite facing failure, you can still grow in your career. “I have listened to many, many people—largely women—who have become successful say that sometimes their failures helped define them as much as their successes,” said Gorman Round.
As you progress in your career, you will most likely manage people who are older than you. “If you [manage them] with dignity, respect, and humility, you will never have a problem,” Gorman Round explained. “If you lord it over them like you’re the up and coming rising star, even if you don’t realize it, nobody will respect you and nobody will give you the time of day. You will fail—it’s quite simple.”
7. Take yourself out of your comfort zone
Although she grew up as an expat, Gorman Round found her move to the United States quite challenging. She was working long hours and struggled to meet people in a city with a very different culture. However, she feels that this experience of pushing herself beyond her comfort zone was extremely rewarding.
8. Never go through a door backwards
During her time with Yves Saint Laurent, it was acquired by L’Oréal, her previous employer. However, she had left L’Oréal on exceptionally good terms and with a pleasant attitude. That last impression of her with the company and the work that she had done there ensured that she, as well as her team, had a position with the company during the acquisition. “Never go through a door backwards, because you don’t know what will come around and bite you in the ass later,” she said.
9. Be clear about parameters
When Gorman Round was offered a leadership position in the US Lancôme marketing department, she declined the position three times before ultimately accepting. At the time, she had a 2-year-old and was pregnant with her second child. She was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to perform the job to the best of her ability and that she wouldn’t see her children. “I did not become a mother to see them at graduation,” she said.
In this instance, being very honest with her perspective manager and human resources about her pregnancy and her fears was the right approach. “When you reveal your vulnerability and your fears, but you do it in a way that in unemotional and framed within a realistic consciousness, people have no choice but to respect you,” Gorman Round said.
10. Never make a decision in isolation
When considering a difficult choice, never make a decision in isolation—you might regret it. Talk to your team, whether that is your friends, family, or significant other. Your team knows you better than anyone. “My husband is not only the love of my life, but also my staunchest supporter,” Gorman Round said. “Don’t end up with a man you don’t trust.”