Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Amy-Willard Cross and I’m the founder of Gender Fair.
What has been one insight or lesson that has been most helpful in your career?
Don’t wait to be asked. I remember once after a big news event, a journalist I know started faxing (!) an op-ed at to an English newspaper, and it was accepted. I followed her lead and sent some stories blind to an editor and got published in the national paper.
What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress.
This question really stumped me … Personally, I would say it was by trying to leave my personal life through ratio decisions all the time, which caused many mistakes but created great learning for me as a person and spiritually
Professionally, I would say my mistake was thinking I could create a new media platform for women. I did not go hard enough back in 2008, when I decided to work online. There’s nothing “favorite” about that mistake, but it eventually led me to Gender Fair, which I think will be more important life work than any media I’ve ever done.
Project forward ten years. How will your industry or field be fundamentally different then? What opportunities do you see?
My original industry was culture: words, books, articles, etc. The magazine business is in a terrible stage, as is much of the media. It’s nice and sincere hope that media properties will get together and figure out a way to create a collaborative payment system so that every time somebody reads something, a few pennies are docked from their reading account. I can’t bear the fact that people will pay for the mobile device or computer on which they read, they gladly play for the ISP to access the internet, but they refuse to pay for the actual content of what they want to spend their time on.
In the last two years, what have you become better at saying no to?
I’m working on a startup — I don’t say no to anything.
However, I do say no to people who connect with me on LinkedIn without stating their purpose. Even if they want to sell to me, at least they could be up front about it.
What is the one book you recommend most often and why?
“Strunk & White,” because it’s a basic bible of wonderful English usage. I have no idea of knowing which books will impact which people, but I know everybody needs help with English.
What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?
I would advise finding out what you need to learn and who can teach you. Also, seek out someone whose work you really admire, tell them so, and try to get a job with them.
I think many people now realize that “do what you love” is a privilege for only some people.
What is your favorite quote, one you aim to live by?
“If you have something nice to say, say it.”
Send me an email to my professional address, telling me what you’d like me to do for you.