THE BLOG
07/08/2016 04:46 am ET Updated Jul 08, 2017

Women in Business Q&A: Lauren Berger, Founder & CEO, Intern Queen

Lauren Berger is Founder & CEO of InternQueen.com and LaurenBergerInc.com. Berger's global platforms have reached over 5 million young professionals and she is internationally known as the leading internship and career expert. The lifestyle brand connects millennials with internship, career, and integrated brand marketing opportunities. Lauren Berger, CEO, created a movement of ambitious young people when she launched the brand in 2009 and dubbed herself "The Intern Queen". The brands passionate and engaged followers, engaged followers are quickly becoming the influencers and leaders of tomorrow at some of the biggest companies in the world.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I've been running my business for seven years. With every year comes more lessons, more rejection, more mistakes - more everything. I'm able to take what I learn each year and apply it to the next. In some way, you could say my failures are what push my business forward. When I first started my business many people didn't take me or my concept seriously. Dealing with that daily battle increased my confidence and has made me better equipped to handle what gets thrown at me every day.

How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at Intern Queen Inc.?
My first job (ever) was at CAA (Creative Artists Agency), a very prominent and high stress talent agency in Los Angeles. At that job, I learned that there were no slow days and it was up to me to create my own hustle. Work wasn't going to come to me - I needed to go out and find it. Today, I spend my time finding new business opportunities, I don't wait for them to find me.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Intern Queen Inc.?
The highlight of my career as Founder/CEO of Intern Queen Inc. is simply that I get to do what I love every single day. Because of my brand and website, young professionals across the world connect with great opportunities that have the power to change their lives. If I've inspired just a handful of young people to go out and make things happen - I've done my job.

The challenges have been learning how to grow and monetize a business from scratch, how to hire, train, and manage a team, how to motivate people and empower them to own their projects. The challenges have been constant rejection, cash flow, the list goes on. But the important part is - the challenges are part of the ride, and overall - it's a great one.

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry?
I created my industry and was a pioneer in the space. I hope that women can look at what I've done - turned my passion into a career - and feel inspired. I hope they take a closer look at their own lives, decide what drives them, and turn it into a business. It's not easy but if you can figure it out it's quite worth it.

What is the most important lesson you've learned in your career to date?
Rejection doesn't mean never, it just means not right now. Some of the most lucrative business deals I've done have come after years of persistence and follow up.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I try to prioritize my free time and personal life just as much as I prioritize my work. Spending time with my close friends is just as important as meeting a deadline - it must happen - no matter what. My friends and I tend to be mega-planners, this ensures that we always have a plan to see one another. Also, my relationship is my number one priority and I'm vocal about that. No matter what is happening with work, I have to make that number one. Luckily, I'm engaged to an entrepreneur who understands the heavy workload.

It's also extremely important to make your health a priority. For me, that means going to the gym a few times per week after work. It's in the calendar and I try my hardest to treat it like any other meeting and not move it around.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
Women are facing more pressure than ever to be everything to everyone at work and at home- superwoman. There's a lot of pressure to stay in the office just to stay in the office or to be "working" around the clock. My biggest piece of advice is to separate "urgent" tasks from "important" tasks. Arguably all work tasks could be called "important" and if we finished everything all of the time, we'd have no lives.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
I mentor several young men and women who have used my site and reached out throughout the years. Now, sometimes five, six, or seven years later - it's fulfilling to see the longtail effect of my advice/efforts. I get to see them turn their internships into jobs and achieve ultimate success. I'm very proud of what I call our #InternQueenFamily.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
Michelle Phan. I admire the scalable business and unique brand she's created for herself.

Sophia Amoruso. I've enjoyed watching her career path. She's a leader and a trendsetter - she'd bold - I admire that. Sometimes she makes unpopular decisions, like stepping down as CEO of her own company, and I get really inspired by that. People who do the unexpected have guts - I like that.

Rachael Ray. Since I had the idea for Intern Queen in college, I've always set out to be the "Rachael Ray of the career space". I admire her ability to take her core business and push it out to different audiences and different platforms in such specialized ways - television show, magazine, products, etc.

What do you want Intern Queen Inc. to accomplish in the next year?
This year is about taking the brand to the next level; more traffic, more students, more companies, more brands. We are taking risks and ready to dive in!