My Path to PRH: Ericka Weed on Finding your Dream Job at Home
Everyone has unique career stories to tell. In our My Path to Penguin Random House series, PRH colleagues share how they entered the world of book publishing, what led them to our company, insights into their jobs, and their future professional aspirations.
This week, we’re featuring Ericka Weed, Associate Manager, Paid Media Strategy & Advertising Operations, as she tells us her story in her own words.
How would you describe the course of your path to Penguin Random House, including practical, professional, and educational?
My path to PRH is a bit of a mixed bag. I’ve worked in hospitality, retail, medical, sales, and actually have my own photography business. My degree is in photography, and I was lucky enough to score an internship at an art gallery, which was very different than I thought it would be in the best possible way (one of my exhibition breakdowns included patching and painting 2,500 holes in the gallery ceiling!).
I spent a total of 6 years working at my college bookstore, first as a student employee on the work study program, and then transitioned into a management position there after graduating. During those years, I discovered a different kind of love for books, and realized then that I’d love working in the publishing industry.
At the time, I was sure I’d have to move out of my beloved Colorado and head to New York for a job in publishing, and because my family, friends, and roots are here in Colorado, I just couldn’t bring myself to leave.
Fast forward to how I got my foot in the door with advertising. A former colleague from the bookstore reached out to me because she was recruiting for a Media Consultant role, which happened to be something I’d always been curious about, but hadn’t pursued. I ended up getting the job, and found a new love – advertising! I kept thinking about how I may be able to someday merge my excitement for advertising with my love of books.
I learned that there was an office in Colorado for the WaterBrook and Multnomah imprints of Penguin Random House, which brought me a little closer to making my hope a reality. I signed up for job alerts, and about 6 months later, received an email alerting me that there was an assistant position open at WaterBrook and Multnomah. I interviewed, was offered the job, and enthusiastically accepted!
It’s been 5 and a half years since then, and I’ve spent 2 and a half of those years on the advertising team working on Random House divisional title campaigns. I work on titles published by Ten Speed, Clarkson Potter, Harmony, Rodale, Convergent, WaterBrook, Multnomah, Image, and Crown Forum, and I absolutely love it! My path wasn’t necessarily a straight one, but I’m so grateful to have found my way here!
You’ve had several positions at PRH, how did you navigate to arrive at your current role? And what advice would you give to others who are seeking their dream roles within the company?
I’ve greatly valued my unique opportunity to have several positions on several teams at PRH! I wanted to learn as much as I could in the beginning of my career here, allowing me to have a baseline understanding of multiple layers of the publishing industry and ultimately, to find my dream role here. I’d say I found my path to my current role by being curious, open-minded, and adaptable, and that’s what I’d suggest to others! Take advantage of the many learning opportunities offered through the company, too!
What are your personal passions and how do they influence your work at PRH?
I mentioned in a previous answer that I live in Colorado, and one of my biggest passions is enjoying an outdoor lifestyle. There are abundant opportunities here in CO to get outside!
I enjoy connecting with nature through camping, hiking, and Jeeping. I always have my camera with me, and am always looking for a landscape that speaks to me, or a piece of architecture that’s abandoned and being reclaimed by nature to photograph. My German Shepherd mix, Izzy, is my adventure buddy, and she loves exploring and tagging along on my trips!
One of my favorite things to do while camping, hiking, or spending quiet time outdoors is to read. I find such rejuvenation from nature, and it’s the perfect time to settle in with a good book. One of my favorite genres to read is mystery/suspense/thriller, so that’s often what I’ll have with me. But I also take books that I’m advertising on the adventure with me, such as cookbooks, inspirational nonfiction, gift books, and many others, so that I can get to know them. I’ve built memories of reading books at some of my favorite outdoor spots, and the two coupled together make for a unique and special passion!
What’s the best part about being a remote employee?
I’m going to start sounding redundant here, but being remote means no commute/traffic at the end of the work day, which allows Izzy and me to hit the trails right after work while there’s still plenty of daylight!
What book are you taking with you on your next camping trip?
Joining me on my next trip will be GET OUTSIDE: A JOURNAL FOR REFRESHING YOUR SPIRIT IN NATURE by Ink & Willow, GO-TO DINNERS by Ina Garten, and HIDE by Kiersten White.