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Interview with…Women’s Health Editor, Felicity Harley

With more than sixteen years experience in the magazine industry, Women’s Health Editor Felicity Harley, knows a thing or two about multi-tasking. In 2007, she successfully launched Women’s Health as its first editor. The magazine is now one of the highest selling women’s health and fitness magazines in Australia and has enjoyed resounding success as a brand.

Felicity is a respected colleague and friend of Thrive’s, having collaborated on many campaigns with us. She tells us what a work/life balance means to her and who to watch in the world of health and fitness:

You launched WH in 2007, and have enjoyed remarkable success as its editor…what do you deem as your keys to success?

Hard work, resilience and listening to your staff. I wouldn’t have had this success without the advice and support from my team.

You lead an all female workforce and as a mum, juggle work and home life yourself. How do you maintain balance?

Um, what’s balance? Fact is, I don’t have it, so every few months I go into a “me hole”. I spend a few hours by myself doing something like an intensive yoga session, getting a massage or sitting on the beach reading a book, etc. Last month I went solo to Bali for a few days and did a yoga retreat. Having this “me time” every month is the only thing that keeps me balanced, as I don’t get any of it in my day-to-day.

For a busy working woman, what are the wellbeing must-haves/dos you advocate?

No 1: sleep! Seriously I sometimes go to bed at 7.30/8pm. For me, sleep is the cornerstone to good health and wellbeing. When you’re tired, everything is out of whack from your eating habits, to enthusiasm to exercise.

You began your career in publishing more than 16 years ago, what are the most significant changes, outside of digital, that you have witnessed? 

Perhaps more so since I started at Women’s Health, my job has gone from being a magazine editor to a marketing person/advertising seller/digital guru/social media editor/PR person/public speaker. The role of an editor encompasses so much more today than it did seven years ago.

Women’s Health struck a chord with Australian audiences from day one. What do you attribute to its resounding success?

One of my favourite sayings is, “Everything is Nothing Without Health” – the inspiration on each page (from pictures, to words, to stories) is what has made us successful.

In your role as editor, you create and curate content every day, how do you decide what makes the cut?

Most of the time it’s gut instinct but also listening to reader feedback and my team, watching social media and trawling the internet for the latest in the health and wellness zeitgeist.

Initiatives you have spearheaded like I Support Women in Sport, have inspired and celebrated the success of hundreds of incredible women, who are the three who have impressed you most and why?

Jessica Gallagher, a blind skier who’s the first ever Paralympian to represent Australia in both the summer and winter games. As a skiing nut, I’m in awe of how she gets down the mountain. Liz Cambage for owning her height and being such a cool individual. And Dawn Fraser – she is engaging, inspiring and a truly wise woman.

In PR we talk about ‘influencers’ and ‘taste makers’. Who are the women who you are keeping your eye on as ‘ones to watch’?

In the health and fitness space, I’m watching Amanda Bisk – she’s a gorgeous woman who’s uber talented and educated so she knows what she’s talking about when a lot of other people on social media think they do but don’t.

If you were not editing Women’s Health magazine, what would your ideal job be?

I have my ideal job … but alas, it would be a health and fitness, travel writer so I wouldn’t have to sit at a desk all day.

PR people in your world….friend or foe?

Friends! The majority of PR people are fantastic to deal with.

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