8 Questions With Jaclyn Schiff, Managing Editor of the Brazen Life

June 2, 2011

9:58 am

It’s apparent that there are many changes going on at Brazen Careerist, the Gen-Y focused entrepreneurial startup operating in the networking and job search sector.

At the end of 2010 Brazen opened an office in the DC area, its staff has grown to more than ten strong, and the company continues to pursue innovation for Gen-Y community at large.

Last Wednesday, Brazen announced a rebrand of its logo, website and blog, and it appears that the change has been met with open arms by its community. Alexa.com’s web traffic rankings reveal that Brazen’s website has leapfroged nearly 10,000 other sites in the US this past week, and should become a top 10,000 website in the United States within weeks.

Jaclyn Schiff, Managing Editor of Brazen’s blog (now dubbed “The Brazen Life”), spearheaded the revision and reintroduction of the blog. We thought it would be a good idea to ask her a few questions about why the blog has changed, how if fits in to Brazen’s long-term strategy, and why anyone should care.

1. Tell us about Brazen Careerist?  Why should we care?

Brazen Careerist is a social networking site for young professionals. Brazen’s comparative advantage is Network Roulette — roughly professionally-oriented speed-dating. It’s actually a lot of fun, because you get randomly assigned to chat with other participants, and you only get three minutes to network before moving on to the next. You can fit a bit more into three minutes than you can 140 characters, but it keeps things moving and you walk away, er sign off, having met an impressive range of colleagues.

2. The website has had a blog for several years.  What prompted the change, what were the past blog’s shortcomings, and how will this revision attempt to overcome them?

I came aboard last month, so I’m speaking from a relatively fresh perspective on all this. I’d rather talk about opportunities than challenges, but if you want to talk challenges I can try to dust off my crystal ball. Brazen launched as a blog network in 2008, and part of its growing pains might have been a dizzying amount of good content, but perhaps that content could have afforded to be more focused. I can tell already that there is a ton of impressive talent out there and to the extent that I can play curator and organize the content in a coherent way, I think I will have succeeded.

3. What’s your background? What were you up to before joining Brazen?

A native of Johannesburg, who has lived in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Virginia, I’ve lived in a few different places, and I like to think it’s beaten some perspective into me. I’ve been involved in inside-the-beltway lobbying, public relations and journalism, and I’ve published in CBS News, NPR, Huffington Post and PBS’ blog MediaShift, amongst other places. Most recently, I covered global health and health policy for the Kaiser Family Foundation’s non-profit news service. In between Brazen Careerist posts, I intend to expand my company Schiff Wecker Media, which helps clients develop journalism-driven communications strategies.

4. Will the content focus shift on Brazen’s blog, and how often will the blog update?

If I told you the content would shift, it would mean I already knew where it was headed. I’m going to have to go with Yoda on this, and say there will be an element of shutting my eyes early and often and listening to the force. More seriously, the blog is going to be an organic thing, that we will develop as a community. I can tell you with absolute certainty that the content is going to provoke, and it’s going to be meticulously well-written and well-researched. My hunch is that we are going to try our hardest to be timely and to cover the most important topics and issues that affect people building their careers. I think we will try to profile truly exceptional people as well to pick their brains on why and how they’ve risen to the top.

In terms of frequency of content, let’s make a deal. You come by every day, and we promise there will be something new every day. Also, we will be sure to leave the e-light on for you.

5. How will the blog fit in with Brazen’s product strategy?

We see the blog as being a barometer for what high-achieving young professionals are thinking — there’s really no better source of inspiration for events we want to plan. So our events stem from content-based discussion and the content naturally helps drive people to the virtual networking that interests them.

6. Will you be taking any risks, and if so, what are they?

This interview was a risk, as I’m only starting to get my hands dirty! Let’s put it this way — we will be taking calculated risks. I want to bring more of a focus on video than we’ve had in the past. Keep an eye out to see what we do.

7. How have you found authors and contributors for the new blog?  Are you looking for more?

We are launching with an outstanding Brazen contributor network. This is a core group of bloggers who will provide regular content and get special perks. We also accept guest posts and I’ve heard from lots of amazing people who are already part of the Brazen community. Tim Murphy, the founder of ApplyMate.com, and Health 2.0 guru Andre Blackman are two examples.

I am always on the look out for new contributors who are good writers and good thinkers. I’m on the verge of checking under tables when I go out to eat. I’ve been asking around my network, and like on some evites, friends are allowed to bring friends, and friends of friends.

8.  Any last words?

Only to express my appreciation to you for hosting me and helping get the word out about the Brazen Life.


Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Adam Zuckerman. Adam is an entrepreneurial attorney with an MBA, is a blogger and people connector inspired by the intersections of business, law, media, technology, and all things outdoors. Adam has also contributed to The Brazen Life, author of “3 Easy Steps for Using Twitter Lists to Network and Find a Job”. Connect with him on Twitter, @AdamZ.

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Adam is an entrepreneurial attorney with an MBA, is a blogger and people connector inspired by the intersections of business, law, media, technology, and all things outdoors. Adam has also contributed to The Brazen Life, author of “3 Easy Steps for Using Twitter Lists to Network and Find a Job”. Follow him at @AdamZ.

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