In Her Own Words: Kathryn MinshewSeptember 25, 2015
Glance at Kathryn Minshew’s CV and you might assume she’s older than not-quite-30: her credentials rival those of any corporate bigwig, up to and including an impressive CEO title. A veteran of non-profit and private-sector business alike, founder and, yes, CEO of The Muse, a millennial-minded career site that pairs in-depth employer profiles with spot-on advice, Kathryn’s already had a career’s worth of experience—and she’s just getting started. Now, with over three million monthly users and a hefty dose of venture capital, she’s poised to take on the site’s next big project—personalization. She is quite literally the definition of a mover-and-shaker, which is why we featured her in our October journal, an homage to women of character. Read on to learn what Kathryn has to say about millennials, mentorships and trusting her gut.
What drove you to launch The Muse?
When I was looking for jobs, I was surprised by how impersonal most job search sites were. I started thinking about how to take the basic information someone would normally provide during a job search to help them find a better career. That’s one of the core ideas behind The Muse.
What role does your instinct play in innovation?
I was born with a very strong gut instinct. In the early days of The Muse, a lot of seasoned investors told me that my idea wouldn’t work, or that it was too hard, or that it just didn’t make sense to them. But I think that the most powerful innovations arise from instinct—even if you can’t articulate or prove their necessity just yet. That has helped me accomplish things that a lot of other people may not believe are possible.
Speaking of muses, who has helped guide you and your career?
I have been inspired and mentored by a number of incredible people. When I first started working in consulting, I had a boss who would coach me on how to present my ideas to senior management. We would record the conversation and listen to it later that day. He would point out when I sounded effective, when I sounded authoritative and when I sounded uncertain or defensive. That sort of coaching was really incredible.
What’s the best thing about being your own boss?
Knowing that, when I’m working on something, I am doing so because I believe it’s important. It doesn’t mean that it’s always fun or that I enjoy it—but at the very least, I understand exactly why it needs to be done, and why I am the one that needs to do it.