Hillary Klein: Storytelling As a Career

Hillary KleinIn episode 21 of the Coffee Break w/ NYWICI podcast, we caught up with Hillary Klein, Head of Strategy and Operations for Public Affairs at WeWork. Full of funny anecdotes, Hillary chatted about WeWork’s massive growth and the challenges and rewards that come with her job. Here are some of the key takeaways from the interview that you can apply to your own career.

Embrace your college and alumni network

Hillary got her first job at Burson Marsteller from a boss who also graduated from her college. “Syracuse has an incredible connection of people in the industry… I wound up getting my first job at Burson-Marsteller through a friend at Syracuse. She had been in their internship program and sent around an email looking for account executives.” Her boss, Lisa Kovitz, was also a Syracuse grad.

Listen to Hillary’s interview at Coffee Break w/ NYWICI

Look for new challenges at your company

Hillary spent a decade at Edelman and it kept her challenged. “It was definitely something new every two years or so, and the benefit of having such a big network and portfolio was that there was always something new to learn…lots of unexpected paths. By the time I left, I was sort of doing two things simultaneously—I was both working as a media strategist and advising a client, which was amazing—and something unrelated, which was business development.”

Use your current role as a springboard

“WeWork first came on my radar when Edelman was working with a new (WeWork) hire, who is currently my boss. It was a team of one and obviously needed support; that’s how we got together…what the team here was doing was amazing. It felt like this moment in time, if I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity to get involved, I might not get that chance again.” WeWork was six years old at the time and had decided to invest in an in-house public relations team.

Accept that you are not going to enjoy everything

Hillary has never enjoyed budgeting and working with spreadsheets because “I don’t think I’m good at it! But I don’t hate it like I used to. I recognize that it’s one of those things that comes with a job that I otherwise love, and that’s okay.”

Understand what is non-negotiable in your job

For Hillary, what is non-negotiable in her job is vacation time. She learned that having time off was important to her while on sabbatical at Edelman. “However much vacation you have, being on when you are on and being off when you are off—that discipline is so hard to follow.”

Follow @wework to find out more about the exciting things happening at Hillary’s job.

—Andrea Goldstein


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