Empowered — RV’s Employee Resource Group (ERG) for women — strives to foster a community that inspires, supports, empowers, and educates all women and allies of all gender identities. And one of our favorite ways to inspire and empower our community is simply by sharing the wisdom of the amazing RV women we get to work with every day.
On this month’s Empowered leaders feature, we spoke with the Senior Vice President of Digital Content for Lonely Planet, Nitya Chambers about her day-to-day, her favorite ways to recharge, and advice she’d give to women just starting out. Check out her conversation with the Empowered Communication Team below.
Empowered: Walk us through a day-in-the-life of an SVP and executive editor on the Lonely Planet team.
Nitya Chambers: To keep it totally real, a day in the life of an SVP & Executive Editor starts with the glamour and dazzle of my husband and I getting our surly 11-year-old and even surlier 8-year-old out of bed, making a breakfast that makes no one happy but, ironically, packing lunches that I’m told are the envy of the lunch table.
Once I get to the office, every day is different — and it’s a huge reason I love my job. The other huge reason I love my job is getting to solve complex and creative problems with a team whose commitment, heart, and compassion is unparalleled.
Some days that’s brainstorming what kind of content experience would attract a paying customer; other days that’s thinking about what kind of content and contributor strategy across books and digital will help fulfill our mission.
And almost all days it’s talking to and learning from the passionate team members around the world who push the work in their diverse functional areas to help more, different kinds of people experience the joy and wonder of travel.
Empowered: What was your path to Senior Vice President? Is travel something you’ve always had a passion for?
NC: I came up on a pretty traditional media trajectory: working at the ABC News Washington bureau in a variety of production roles in the early 2000s, making the shift to the digital team in 2006 in a pre-iPhone world, covering a bunch of elections, eventually making the shift from politics to special projects across news and lifestyle verticals.
The two things that earned my seat at the executive table (before I was actually an executive) were: 1) Seeing and celebrating success cross-functionally. I learned early on that the coolest and most enduring things were more than just what one team could accomplish — bringing content, design, engineering, PR, marketing, business teams together to go after a goal and then making sure it was celebrated that way became my north star. 2) Approaching projects as opportunities to create more efficient processes for the business. Using singular efforts and calendar moments to pilot innovative content experiences that drove new ways of working were opportunities to create lasting cultural change.
I’ve always had a passion for storytelling, for building content products that help people live more informed and empowered lives, and for travel and traveling. The three came together powerfully for me when I went to CNN in 2016 to lead the development and launch of Explore Parts Unknown, the digital home for Anthony Bourdain. I am filled with so much gratitude that the magic that sparked in that work found me again when I got the call from Red Ventures to lead the content team at Lonely Planet.
Empowered: What advice would you give a woman just starting out in their career?
NC: Careers are long — and they can look a lot of different ways. Talk to as many people as you can about their journeys, make space for the advice they give you, and keep in touch with them as you move through your career. Invest in the development of others; there is no greater reward.
Prioritize your physical and emotional health while making space for learning and relationships that help you grow. Know who you are, what you value, and make note of the things — familiar and unfamiliar, personal and professional — that excite you, and don’t be afraid to change. Write those things down. Come back to them. Develop a personal ritual around your personal development to always have a pulse on you: the things you want more of and the things you want less of with regards to your life and career.
Empowered: What are some of your favorite ways to recharge or favorite forms of self-care?
NC: Spending time outside, stepping away from my devices, and going to sleep. Seriously on that last one, there are few things in the world that aren’t solved by a few hours of emotional distance and a good night’s sleep.
Empowered: What does “being empowered in the workplace” mean to you?
NC: Having a voice and using that voice fearlessly to lead teams to improve the culture and work that drive our business forward.
Now some fun…
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
- I’d love a year with the freedom to move between a few different places – beach, mountains, city, forest — as long as I was coming home to New York.
- If you were famous, what would you be famous for?
- Casting the movie version of any current event. It is one of my greatest talents.
- If you could bring back any fashion trend what would it be?
- 70s glam: eyelashes, sequins, rollerskating — what’s not to love?
This Or That
- Physical books or digital books?
- Physical books. Especially from Lonely Planet!
- Planes or road trips?
- Road trip!
- Coffee or tea?
- Early bird or night owl?
- Early bird. I love that moment before the day starts when it just belongs to you.
- What’s worse, laundry or dishes?
- Laundry. Too many steps until it’s done.
The empowerment doesn’t stop here – check out our previous Empowered feature with April Gibson-Fulton, Senior Director of Engineering, right here!