Pass It On: Work-life advice from Twitter curation director
NEW YORK (AP) — Joanna Geary started off as a journalist in the U.K. and now lives in New York, where she is currently Twitter’s director of curation. In that role, she’s in charge of showing users everything from the day’s biggest news events to quirky trends.
Geary, 38, spoke with The Associated Press recently about managing people in different time zones and managing a work-life balance. Questions and answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Q: What does your day-to-day work look like?
A: I have direct reports in London, in Toronto, in New York, in San Francisco, in Tokyo and in Sydney (and indirect reports) in Mexico and Brazil. When you’re working away from people, it’s really important to have structured time to see people. So that means that my days get quite elongated.
Q: What have you learned about problem-solving over the years?
A: The greater the diversity of skills, background and personalities in the room, the more likely it is you’ll come up with the best solution and the best way to implement it.
Q: How much do you pay attention to your competition?
A: I keep pretty well informed about what’s going on in our industry, but I try not to focus too much on competitor watching. I’ve been in that position before and it can be all too easy to turn yourself into a hostage to other people’s strategies rather than doubling down on understanding your unique value and trying to enhance that.
Q: What advice would you give your younger self about managing people?
A: You are never, ever going to have all the answers. Most answers are going to come from your team, and your job is to try and create an environment where they are recognized and rewarded for putting them forward. Also, however hard you try, you will mess up. The most important thing is how you deal with that.
Q: What advice do you have on how small business owners and others can use Twitter?
A: Start small and follow people that you know or are just one or two people removed from people you know. Learn to connect and have conversations with them. A lot of value can often be obtained from expanding your network even by just a little.
Q: What do you do for work-life balance?
A: I enjoy the time I spend with my husband, family and close friends. Moving to another country has made me value the time I get to spend with them much, much more. I’m also a massive podcast fan, so will often use my commute home as time to listen and decompress.
But you’re also talking to someone who back in the U.K. used her free time to start London’s biggest monthly meetup of technologists and journalists. Technology and journalism have always been an interest beyond a job, so I wholly admit the line can be blurred.