Lisa Garcia Quiroz
By speaking up, I found a future I could not have predicted, but one that has blossomed into something beautiful.
I started my career at Time Warner Inc. right after I got my MBA. While I was in school, I didn’t share the dream of the majority of my colleagues: to create a business, cash in and retire. My goal was to eventually lead an organization that would make a difference in people’s lives. I felt strongly about the power of media and the influence it has on people’s views of themselves and others; I wanted to have a voice in that future.
Three to four years into my career at Time Warner Inc., the head of consumer marketing decided that he wanted to create an offshoot that could be marketed to social studies classes in high school and colleges as a way to teach writing. Historically, the marketing function for this type of publication had been handled by outside vendors. My boss wanted to break the contract and bring the work in-house. It was a unique opportunity for Time Warner Inc. to work with a younger demographic.
He reached out to our team and asked if anyone wanted to take the project on. I had always had an interest in education, had several family members who were teachers, and I’d done a lot of volunteer work in the area. It seemed like a great fit for me.
The “typical” MBAs on the team were not interested. In fact, there was a great deal of grumbling. This wasn’t a typical path to becoming a publisher of a magazine, and many thought it was a step in the opposite direction from where they wanted to go.
Seeing the missed opportunity, I raised my hand and said “yes.” At that moment, I didn’t think I would be with the company as long as I now have been.
A few months into the position, I found myself in an advisory role with teachers, working to understand the end user. During this experience, I came up with the idea for Time for Kids, a classroom news publication, which would be created and distributed by my team. It was to be written in the perspective of a child.
I talked to several teachers and advisors before bringing the idea to my boss. He suggested that I create a two-page memo to submit to his boss, who responded with a small budget that we could use to test the idea.
The concept was not one that resonated with my editors. In fact, I had to handle the first prototype with outside editorial help. Then I brought it back in-house and showed everyone the initial thinking. We tested the idea and it was a success. The rest is history.
Four years into my tenure at Time Warner Inc., I found myself running a business within the company. That decision led to my eventual naming as the publisher of People Espanol, five years earlier than I normally would have been. By speaking up, I found a future I could not have predicted, but one that has blossomed into something beautiful.