Millennial Minds: Founder of Motto, Callie Schweitzer, On Her Editorial Career

Mikela Warman
Mikela has been working in the fashion industry since 2012 with the likes of Marie Claire, Giorgio Armani, WWD and VERANDA Magazine. She passionately studies the industry of style and how it coalesces with various different aspects of life such as art, career and cultural influences. When she’s not daydreaming at Bergdorf’s, you can find Mikela at yoga, watching Netflix documentaries and taking long walks around Manhattan. As a founding member of the site, Mikela also currently heads the brand management of 20something.

In this week’s Millennial Minds, we nailed down some time with Callie Schweitzer, the founder and editorial director of Motto, TIME’s newly launched sister site.

The fresh-faced outlet breaks out its content into three verticals: Work, Play and Live. Although life happens simultaneously, what better way to de-clutter this confusing, hard-to-navigate, and yet beautifully curated life? By separating the site out into these three different categories, we embrace the driving forces that quietly navigate every day, week, month and year of our lives.

Callie is the embodiment of a young woman who has hustled from the very start. No stranger to hard work, we sat down to pick her brain for any insight into the world of millennial media.

(Editor’s note: We conducted our interview with Callie before it was announced that she’s joining Arianna Huffington’s new venture, Thrive Global, as the managing editor. We can’t wait to watch it unfold!)


20something: Where did you start off your career?

Callie Schweitzer: I studied journalism at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, where I was the editor-in-chief of the student-run news site Neon Tommy. I was in school during the explosion of social media and digital storytelling, and I got to experiment with it every single day. I always say it was there I learned that there’s no such thing as a student journalist and that age should never hold you back from asking important questions.

My experience at Neon Tommy gave me an entrepreneurial hunger, and it jumpstarted my career. When I graduated, I joined Talking Points Memo to be the assistant to the publisher. Six months later, I became deputy publisher.


Did you know this is what you’ve wanted since college?

CS: For as long as I can remember, I’ve been driven by great storytelling and making sure it lands in as many hands as possible. At Neon Tommy, I had to think holistically. How do we find more readers? How do we adapt to these new tools and tell better stories? That interest in finding readers and providing a service — giving them important news and great stories — has driven my career and has been a theme in every job I’ve had.


What is the most definitive moment of your career thus far?

CS: I don’t think there’s been just one. Seeing Motto come to life has been fantastic. It has been so meaningful to connect with women around the world as we’ve built Motto into a community that is about authenticity and vulnerability. There is nothing I love more than hearing from women who say that something they read or saw on Motto resonated with them.



What is the biggest challenge of managing an editorial team?

CS: I wouldn’t limit it to managing an editorial team — I’d say the biggest challenge of managing any team is making sure you’re always enabling people to do great work. My goal every day is to help people accomplish their goals in every way I can.


What advice would you give young 20something’s starting their career?

CS: You are your own best advocate. Know your value and advocate for yourself. Remember that.


What does your perfect Saturday look like from AM to PM?

CS: A leisurely day. Sleep late. Drink coffee. Exercise. Catch up on reading. Eat with family or friends. Watch TV. Sleep!

Media moguls… they’re just like you and me! 😛


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