The car industry can be a boy's club, but Jill Meenaghan is in the driver's seat.
In honor of Auto Week, the woman behind Car and Driver lets us into her chic New York office space where fashion meets cool automobile sleekness.
Keep reading to find out how Jill first got into the car business, who her inspirational role models are and what a day in the life of a Associate Publisher and Group Marketing Director for Hearst Men's Group is like.
What was your very first job?
I was incredibly lucky to start out right after college as a Merchandising Coordinator for Seventeen magazine—I edited the "Where to Buy" credits for all the fashion editorial; pulled/styled fashion shows for advertisers, and "represented" the magazine as a personality/host at sponsored events around the country and in the media. Pretty amazing first job and learning experience.
How did you get started in your career?
It was a classic example of the old "It's all about who you know:" I was fortunate to have a friend whose mother had ties with the magazine, and she recommended me to them.
Who are some of your career heroes?
I'm most inspired by women who don't let naysayers or roadblocks impede their pursuit of new ideas and dreams. For example, Marie Curie, a physicist and chemist in the 19th century, didn't let gender prejudice prevent her from making world-changing discoveries. Also, Danica Patrick, the most successful woman race car driver ever, strives to be the fastest driver—period, not the fastest female driver. And yes, I would say the discovery of radioactivity and a woman breaking speed records are equally revolutionary.
What's a typical workday like for you?
There is very little that's typical from day-to-day except of course, attending a lot of internal meetings to address the needs of each brand in the Hearst Men's Group. Whether it's working with strategic partner Skip Barber Racing School to develop Car and Driver branded driving experiences; collaborating with our partners at Esquire Network to leverage all of our platforms; regrouping with Popular Mechanics editors to start planning our tenth annual Breakthrough Awards coming up in the fall; or working with the Road & Track editors to invite racing legends, past and present, to attend a VIP dinner during the New York Auto Show. There's never a dull moment, and there's always more we could be doing.
What do you typically wear to work?
I'm a big fan of the high-low mix so on any given day I might be wearing something stupidly expensive mixed with something shamelessly cheap. Hermès meets Forever 21.
What are your favorite stores to shop for work clothes?
I'm tempted to say Home Depot because we're always getting into something over here! Most often, you'll find me at Barneys, Maje, Rag & Bone, Rebecca Taylor, Zara, Isabel Marant and Calypso.
List five things that are on your desk right now:
A 3-D Printer, a full bar and three pairs of men's driving gloves. (I kid, I kid.) Although not far from the truth, a more accurate depiction would be pictures of my son, James; stacks of papers needing attention or organization; current issues of Car and Driver, Esquire, Popular Mechanics and Road & Track and flowers to brighten up the gloomy days.
Describe your office décor. What was your inspiration? Did you decorate it yourself?
Can hoarding be considered a style? My office décor is all about controlled chaos—an unintentional collection of things that men would be more likely to covet but a woman can certainly appreciate.
What's the best piece of career advice you've ever received?
You are holding the reins (thanks, Dad).
Finish the sentence…
Today for lunch I had… Soup! It's ridiculously freezing this winter.
The first website I log onto every day is… eBay. Those deals need constant monitoring. Then The New York Times, WWD, and Adweek.
The beauty product you can always find in my purse is… My Karen Walker sunglasses—the best under eye concealer!
My must-have work gadget is… An Internet machine of some kind—iPhone, iPad, MacBook.
My usual Starbucks order is… A venti skim latte for extra tired days, and a grande skim latte on my better-rested days.
If I need a quick break during work, I usually… Watch videos on the Car and Driver YouTube channel.
If I wasn't doing this job, I would be… An E.G.O.T. winner (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner), assuming I'm incredibly talented because, well, this is a fantasy.
The best part of my job is… That nothing is ever routine.