I'm USA Today Network President Maribel Wadsworth, and This Is How I Work
Twenty-two years ago, Maribel Perez Wadsworth started at the Gannett-owned
Rockford Register Star
, covering Illinois agriculture. Now, as president of Gannett's
Current Gig: President, USA Today Network and Associate Publisher USA Today
One word that best describes how you work: Intentionally
Current mobile device: iPhone
Current computer: MacBook Pro
First of all, tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.
I'm a Miami girl born and raised, including studying journalism at the U before starting my career at the Associated Press Miami bureau. My then-fiance was working as a reporter-anchor in Rockford, Ill., and after a year of long distance romance I took a leap of faith and moved there-best decision I ever made. Twenty-two years later, I'm still married to him-and it happens the Rockford Register Star is where I first joined Gannett, covering the agriculture beat (see aforementioned leap of faith).
After a couple years in the Midwest, I had the opportunity to return to Florida for a reporting role at
in Fort Myers, Fla. We absolutely loved the community and I was lucky to
In that position, I led cross-divisional initiatives that helped me learn our operations, uncovering a passion for protecting and growing the business side of journalism-which ultimately led me to my current role.
As the newly named president of the USA Today Network, I oversee a diverse portfolio of some of the country's leading news brands, including USA Today and 109 local
Take us through a recent workday.
One of the best things about my job is that every day is different. This is a recent Monday.
4 a.m. - Alarm goes off and I groggily reach for my phone, regret having stayed up to watch Game 2 of the NLCS when I have a 6 a.m. flight to catch. I curse my love of baseball as I shake myself awake and then leap into packing, showering and hustling out the door by 4:30 a.m.
7:15 a.m. - Arrive at LaGuardia and head to first meeting of the day at our brand agency to review the latest work to develop a new brand campaign for the Network.
10:30 a.m. - Arrive at my Midtown office to prep for the weekly national sales team meeting, at which I present the updated strategy for our content division and introduce the CEO of Grateful Ventures, our new majority investment in the lifestyle brand space.
After a couple brief one-on-ones with NYC team members, I'm back on a shuttle to DC where I finish my day with my weekly meeting with my CEO and then spend a couple of hours reviewing materials ahead of our board meeting the next day.
And I'm home by 7 or so in time for dinner and e-mail catch-up while watching The Voice. (I'm a sucker for all such reality talent shows, as I have no artistic talent to speak of but great admiration for those who do.)
10:30-ish p.m. - I realize I've fallen asleep on the couch, and it's off to bed. I've lived to fight another day.
What apps, gadgets, or tools can't you live without?
What's your workspace setup like?
As long as I have my laptop, phone and a cup of caffeine I can pretty much work anywhere and do, often 30,000 feet in the air. When working out of my office, I have the added benefit of family photos and a comfy couch.
What's your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
The family meal plan. A spreadsheet of 30-minute meals from which each family member chooses one night's menu. We select on Sundays so I can get the groceries that correspond. Only two rules: no picking what someone else did and no complaining about what someone else picked. Saves time and stress, and is generally healthier than other time-saving alternatives.
How do you keep track of what you have to do?
Old-fashioned pen-and-paper to-do lists. There's something remarkably satisfying about crossing things off a list. That, plus I'd be lost without my Outlook calendar.
How do you recharge? What do you do when you want to forget about work?
Cooking, beach time and hanging out with my husband and our boys. When all of those things come together at once...that's my version of heaven.
What are you currently reading, or what's something you'd recommend?
I challenged myself to read 25 books this year. Pushing the last few weeks of the year, I definitely have some cramming to do. I'm currently reading Amor Towles's A Gentleman in Moscow , having loved his Rules of Civility . One of my favorite recent reads is Jeannette Walls's The Glass Castle , a heart-wrenching memoir of one family coping with mental illness . ( Yes, the English lit major in me is showing.)
Fill in the blank: I'd love to see _____ answer these same questions.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
What's the best advice you've ever received?
That you can be good at everything, just not all at the same time-that's especially good advice for women. There is immense pressure to be a perfect mom, perfect wife, and perfect employee. Well, forget perfect...it's not even easy to be good at all of those things most of the time, let alone all at the same time. It's essential to measure your successes in small increments, focusing on the day-to-day successes and keeping everything else in perspective. No one can be incredible at every aspect of their lives every second of every day. Appreciate the moment, even and maybe especially when it's a learning one.
Is there anything else you'd like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans?
We should all get more sleep. The world would be a far less grumpy place. ☺
This interview has been lightly edited.
The How I Work series asks heroes, experts, and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? Email Nick .
The How I Work series asks heroes, experts, and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? Email Ishita.