Christene Barberich is the global editor-in-chief & co-founder of the award-winning digital media company, Refinery29, which has a global audience footprint of more than 500 million across all platforms. She is also the New York Times best-selling author of Style Stalking and the host of the podcast, Unstyled. In 2016, she was named one of Folio's Top Women In Media, and one of the 50 Most Creative People by Ad Age. MIN also named her one of the 30 Most Intriguing People in Media.
Christene is a seasoned writer, editor, creative, award-winning media maven and we are thrilled to feature this powerhouse as this month’s #aobossbabe!
Three words that best describe your head space right now...
Bright, vast, and hungry.
I wake up at....
Bed time is at....
What was your biggest challenge in launching your own business?
Never giving up, even when certain things felt impossible.
No matter how impossible things can seem.
How do you deal with them [challenges]?
By talking through them with people I trust. Waiting/processing. And then talking through them again with a real resolution in mind. I'm a big believer in certain theories, some by Freud, about the problem solving abilities of our unconscious minds. A little space/distance always seems crucial for me in the untangling process.
What do you think holds women back from achieving their dreams? It's different for all of us. But for me, personally, it's always challenging myself to think, What if? And to not put limits on my happiness, my creative ambitions, my potential.
And if you need support, find a mentor who's already blazed the trail, from salary negotiation to parenting or family care to dealing with outside criticism. And, perhaps most importantly, try to tune out the noise and listen to your own gut. If you focus, you know exactly why you're here and how far you're going to go.
What mantra do you live by?
Minimalism or maximalism?
Minimal maximalist. That's cheating, but it's accurate.
How has your attitude towards life changed in the last 5 years? I think as women, we're trained by history, media, and culture to step back or recede as we get older, which feels counter to my perspective and spirit right now. I don't want less, I want more! And, I want to give more, too...doesn't everyone?
Head or heart? [in terms of how you make decisions] They're connected. Although depending on the decision, one generally tends to take the upper-hand.
When was the moment you knew Refinery29 was going to change the digital media landscape? From the moment I met my co-founders. I knew our journey together had a profound purpose.
You are the queen of multi-tasking! How do you find balance?
I'm like most busy women who want to make a difference—in their own lives and in others. Which generally means my To Do list is long, messy, and a constant practice of checks and balances—Practical and ambitious; serious and dreamy, etc. Good measure is my jam. What makes a good leader? Courage, kindness, and trust.
What is the most valuable lesson or skill you learned from a previous boss? Brandusa Niro from the Daily taught me how important it is to be smart, strong, and funny. John McDonald from my CITY days taught me to take risks at a time when I really needed to more than anything else; And Steve Florio, former CEO of Conde Nast, taught me to ask for more, with salary, with scope, with deliverables, everything...just never settle.