How the RadioChick Talked Her Way Into Two Successful Careers

Last Updated Sep 9, 2010 4:06 PM EDT

I admire people who can talk about anything in an engaging way at the drop of hat. If they're really good, you even start to like them. The best gabbers will get money out of you.

Leslie Gold, an Harvard Business School MBA, is better known as The RadioChick. Her irreverent humor and views on the battle of the sexes has earned her a large following both on traditional radio -- if you can call Sirius traditional -- as well on the Web.

Gold tells her success story to the HBS Alumni Bulletin. What I really like about it is how she talked her way into two really big careers, with basically no prior experience in either.

After graduating from HBS, she leveraged the Harvard connection to buy, of all things, a window manufacturer. "I was 20-something and had no money, but armed with my HBS pedigree, a presentation, and a good line of BS, I walked into my hometown bank and walked out with a $5 million loan." She built the forlorn company into a big business that a Fortune 100 buyer snapped up ten years later. Gold didn't have to worry much about money after that.

Next stop, radio. Like the window business, Gold didn't know much about radio, but she figured she liked Howard Stern, was opinionated and willing to learn. Here's how she got her start.

"I persuaded the owner of a tiny 1,000-watt station in Westport to let me work for free. At night, the station powered down to 2 watts; the signal reached only the twelve trailers in an adjacent trailer park, but I didn't know that. I was in radio!"
I find Leslie's story oddly inspirational. You don't need a lot of experience to dig up great opportunities. You do need some smarts, a passion for overcoming challenges and so much confidence in yourself that others believe in you, too.

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  • Sean Silverthorne

    Sean Silverthorne is the editor of HBS Working Knowledge, which provides a first look at the research and ideas of Harvard Business School faculty. Working Knowledge, which won a Webby award in 2007, currently records 4 million unique visitors a year. He has been with HBS since 2001.

    Silverthorne has 28 years experience in print and online journalism. Before arriving at HBS, he was a senior editor at CNET and executive editor of ZDNET News. While at At Ziff-Davis, Silverthorne also worked on the daily technology TV show The Site, and was a senior editor at PC Week Inside, which chronicled the business of the technology industry. He has held several reporting and editing roles on a variety of newspapers, and was Investor Business Daily's first journalist based in Silicon Valley.