Interactive One is the parent company of some of the most powerful media brands for the African American niche market; HelloBeautiful!, BlackPlanet, Radio One and TV One among them. Recently Blackplanet.com launched a radio station and the news struck a chord with music lovers.
“I think of BlackPlanet Radio as a big party with a lot of different rooms and I love that there are two great ways to enjoy it. You can come and hang out, listen and enjoy music, or you can step up to the DJ booth and get your ‘inner DJ’ on by creating your own playlist for everyone to enjoy,” gushes Maria Weaver Watson, senior vice president of Integrated Marketing for Interactive One.”
“Personally I like to listen to other people’s playlists. This morning I’m listening to a playlist created by Kandi Burruss of The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”
Watson tells rolling out that today’s female executives can have it all, work and personal life balance.
“I have two wonderful daughters who are 8 and 10 years old. It is very important to me that I am a role model to them and show them that you can have a very fulfilling career and still spend time with your family,” Watson states. “I am so thankful for the advancements in technology. I realize that if it weren’t for my laptop and BlackBerry, I would miss a lot of special moments. I try to get home at a reasonable time at least three days a week so I can review homework, read stories and put my kids to bed.”
Here, Watson shares her best career advice.
1. What is it that you enjoy most about your position with BlackPlanet?
I joined Interactive One three years ago prior to our acquisition of BlackPlanet. I was drawn to the company’s mission to super-serve the black online community by providing products and content that is relevant to this audience. I love that every day, we continue to be committed to that mission and in my position I have the ability to help advertisers make a more meaningful connection with the Black audience by leveraging our platform and creating buzz for our brands.
2. Professionally speaking, what is the best business book that you’ve read lately?
I Moved Your Cheese: For Those Who Refuse to Live as Mice in Someone Else’s Maze by Deepak Malhotra
3. Personally speaking, what health routines do you employ to strengthen your mind and body?
I run four days a week and it really helps me clear my head. I also enjoy yoga and Pilates, but I don’t have time to do them as often as I would like.
4. How do you assess areas in your personal life that are in need of improvement?
I keep a journal which really helps me stay focused on my personal and professional goals. If I am not on track to reach a goal, I know something is out of balance and I need to focus on that area.
5. What sports activities do you participate do you feel promote excellence?
Both of my daughters are athletes and my youngest daughter is a figure skater. I watch her fall over and over and over again on the hard ice trying to perfect her jumps and she never gives up and she never says, “I can’t do this.” Watching her and all of the figure skaters has taught me so much about determination and the drive to achieve true excellence.
6. What is your daily media diet? What news sites do you visit most often, and why?
I love media. I listen to the radio, watch television and read magazines — I still have subscriptions. But, I consume most of my media online. I enjoy our InteractiveOne sites, NewsOne, HelloBeautiful and TheUrbanDaily which always has the latest information, but I also enjoy Huffington Post, Mediabistro, AdAge and theGrio.
7. Do you belong to a professional membership? If so, what are the benefits of your membership?
I belong to several organizations, but the professional organization I am most active with is The Council of Urban Professionals. They are an organization that is young, progressive and relevant.
8. What is your best advice for future career women?
Always stand up for yourself and what you believe in. Unfortunately women who stand up for themselves are often labeled as difficult or trouble makers or worse. However, men who stand up for themselves are “strong” and “driven.” You have to develop tough skin and not let the name calling distract you.
Invest in your career. Many people will advise that you get a mentor, and I agree, but you also need to hire a good coach. Someone who has advised people at the level you hope to achieve can help you develop your plan and stay on track. Also, it’s wonderful to have someone you can ask for advice without feeling like you’re asking for a favor.
Develop a small professional network of people you can turn to for advice, support or you can use as a sounding board. I call my group “the dream team” and they know who they are. They can be peers, former co-workers, former subordinates or a former boss, but they should be people who know you well professionally and will tell you the truth.