What is your elevator pitch when someone asks, “What do you do for a living?”

I’m the managing editor of Family Circle magazine. I joke that I herd cats, because keeping creative people on deadline can be challenging. I have an overall view of the magazine but am ultimately responsible for a lot of the minutiae: scheduling, copy editing, fact checking, budgeting and dealing with morale. I also work extensively with my advertising counterpart to set the final layout of each issue. Our circulation is pretty huge—more than four million a month—so I have some sleepless nights worrying about errors. Thankfully, those are few and far between.

Describe the path that led you to this career.

My parents are big magazine subscribers; we always had ten to 15 splayed across the coffee table. As a kid, I was obsessed with becoming a game show host, but was drawn to print after editing for my college paper (The Daily Orange at Syracuse University). I moved to New York and spent a few years as a copy editor in medical publishing, then made the leap to consumer magazines as a production director. I’ve worked for mostly food and women’s magazines, but even did a stint at GQ. I came to Family Circle six years ago and immediately clicked here. Even though I have no kids of my own, I love our editorial—smart advice for parents of tweens and teens and excellent recipes for busy families. And I appreciate we’re not celebrity focused.

What are the elements of a successful workplace?

If you expect people to be creative, encouraging a healthy work/life balance is essential, and it shows employees that they are respected.

What is the one piece of technology you cannot live without?

I never leave the house without my iPod: a 160 GB iPod Classic, which is nearly full.

What are you reading?

I edit pages for work, so at home I read less than I should. That said, I’m halfway through Marisha Pessl’s Night Film and love the pace. I’ve also just started Peyton Place. An odd choice, but it’s an American classic and set in New Hampshire, where I grew up. I borrowed it from my mother’s bookshelf when I was home for Christmas.

If you could, what advice would you give your 20-something self?

Take more chances and be more outgoing, both professionally and personally.

If you could do anything and know you couldn’t fail, what would you do?

Apart from being a famous pop star, I’d like to be truly multilingual. I was pretty fluent in Spanish (thanks to a double major and a year abroad in college), and last year I started taking Russian classes for fun. The Cyrillic alphabet is simple to learn, but the language structure is maddening.

At Double Forte’s San Francisco office, the conference rooms are named Rock and Roll, Motown, Hip Hop, Mambo, Jazz and Disco. Which name best describes you and why?

Rock and Roll, heavy on the pop: big choruses, wall of sound guitars and lots of tambourines—pretty much what’s on my iPod.

What’s in your Netflix queue?

It’s filled with suspense thrillers (I love a good ghost story like The Others or Insidious) and documentaries (I most recently watched Blackfish and Poisoned by Polonium, about the assassination of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko).