6 Questions with Barbara Fedida
, Senior Vice President for Talent and Business at ABC News, is responsible for developing and executing strategic planning for the next generation of both on-air and off-air talent.
What would you say is the most daring move you've made in your career?
Going to work full time in a new place after working part time for almost eight years. My daughter was just 16 months old. She was my third. I left the comfort of ABC with almost 15 years of relationships and experiences. I went to work for someone I didn't know (but who I clicked with almost immediately) at a place that was known to have a very different culture than the place where I had grown up. It was an opportunity too good to pass up. My husband said to me, “If you don't say yes to this job, someone else will and you'll always wonder if you could have or should have done it.”
What did you learn from that experience?
A few things. It's who you work for, not what you do or where you do it. This has been true at almost every job I've ever had. I've been so very lucky to have some of the best bosses and mentors in existence. Calculated risks are a good thing. And most importantly, I learned that picking the right partner to go through life with will pay dividends when the rubber meets the road. Had my husband not given me the nudge and support, I might have not taken the leap and that would have been a mistake.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve gotten along the way?
Stay focused, but be open to new ideas and surprises. I would give that same advice today and add one thing. Seek out feedback that you need to hear, not necessarily what you want to hear. Candid, honest feedback helps you grow and evolve.
If you could change one way women support other women on their path to success, what would it be?
There's an African proverb – If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Help one another. Listen to each other. Give each other a break. Assume the best, not the worst. And if it's ever a jump ball, pick the woman – for the opportunity, the promotion, the fun assignment. Build up the women around you and push them ahead, even if they're not quite ready. They will appreciate that you believed in them when they didn't yet believe in themselves. The guys at work do that for each other all the time. Let's take a page out of that playbook.
Any tips for work/life integration?
Work life balance is always decidedly out of balance. Know who you are and what matters. That will change almost daily, especially as you become a spouse, a parent, a boss. One day you'll have the killer idea at work that changes the game. Another, you will be mom of the year for coming home early to help finish the poster on emperor penguins. Another, you plan a fun surprise for your husband's birthday. You may have to sneak out of the office to comfort the friend who suffered a loss. One night, you take your department out for a drink. You obviously can't fit that all into one day and who would want to? (It would be exhausting.) You can have it all – just not all at once. Pace yourself, trust your gut and don't be so hard on yourself.
Fill in the blank. People would be surprised to know that I _________
am the youngest of six. Being the baby is the best, except when it's not. Lots of cover from your siblings. You need to be pretty sassy and a good listener to thrive. Good training for real life.