My Path to PRH: Lindsay Francis on Onboarding Remotely and Expanding Your Work Network
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 Lindsay Francis, Analyst, Sales Strategic Planning, Sales as she tells us her story in her own words.
How would you describe the course of your path to book publishing and PRH, including practical, professional, and educational?
While I never planned to pursue a career in publishing, I couldn’t be happier with where I am now! I graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a degree in Business Intelligence & Analytics. While in Philadelphia, I worked as an Analytics Intern for Amtrak’s corporate office, specifically in their Real Estate department. The internship was an incredible experience, and I was given many intriguing tasks such as building a SQL database which warehoused its maintenance data. I was able to thoroughly understand the data and even went onsite a couple of times! I never thought I would be on a railroad looking at the “data” but there I was, in a hard hat and steel toed boots! My degree and internship gave me a strong foundation in data analysis, and I knew I wanted a career in analytics.
After graduation, I moved to Boston, Massachusetts and worked for Five Star Senior Living, a publicly traded assisted care company. I worked in the corporate headquartered office for two and a half years as a Financial Analyst, analyzing trends in revenue for its multiple locations. During the Covid-19 pandemic, I decided to change jobs and move to New York City. There were no specific industries I had in mind, however I wanted to work for a company with an ethical culture and supportive leadership. My experience at Amtrak and Five Star Senior Living were both extraordinary learning experiences and made me appreciate the versatility of data analytics.
I’ve always loved reading and when I saw PRH was hiring for an Analyst for the Sales Strategic Planning team, I immediately applied. I never considered a career in book publishing before, but I thought ‘hey, this could be interesting!”. After a few rounds of interviews, I knew PRH would be the perfect fit. It was a little intimidating to plunge into a new industry, but since I had previous corporate finance experience, I found that many of my skills transferred over.
I work for the Sales Strategic Planning team which sits in the Sales department. Our team is fairly small (there are only four us!), and we work with financial data at the corporate level. We build high-level analyses and reports that are focused on the company’s financial health. The work is challenging yet rewarding and helps me grow as an Analyst. I enjoy working for PRH and am very happy I chose to immerse myself into a new industry.
One tip you would give to colleagues onboarding remotely.
The Covid-19 pandemic changed the normality of many aspects of our day-to-day lives, including the ways we choose to work. I onboarded remotely and didn’t start coming into the office until almost a year later. It was a little unusual to start a new job remotely, but it was an extremely smooth process. The IT team was proactive in helping me get set up with all the equipment needed. It can be a little daunting to start a new job without going into an office to get acclimated with the company. However, I was pleasantly surprised with how welcoming everyone was. I recommend all new hires who are onboarding remotely to take advantage of our virtual social events. Since PRH is now fully remote optional, many social events are held online. This is valuable to those who want to meet others but may not be able to come into the office. I have met colleagues in different departments, and even different countries through these events. It is a nice way for employees to expand their work network and to meet others in the company.
What attracted you to Penguin Random House, and what have been some of the highlights of your PRH job and work life here so far?
When searching for new job opportunities, I was seeking an analytical role within a company that had a firm grasp on its data. We are a data-oriented company and I’m impressed by our sophisticated systems for housing data and upholding its quality. Having access to clean and well-maintained data is imperative to the success of a company.
In addition to the technical aspects of the role, I was equally drawn to PRH’s commitment towards creating a positive and supportive work environment. PRH values its employees and provides ample opportunities for growth. A positive company culture and work environment is conducive to success and creativity as it fosters a healthy and supportive atmosphere. I not only feel valued as an employee but also feel impactful within the organization.
What’s it been like to be a GCSA mentor?
PRH partners with Governor’s Committee of Scholastic Achievement (GCSA), an esteemed mentoring program that aims to empower New York City students by pairing them with working professionals. The mentorship program serves as a resource to helps students achieve their goals for their post-secondary future. Each mentor is paired with a high school student (typically a Sophomore). The program is a one-year commitment, however it is common for pairs to work together until the student graduates high school.
I have been working with GCSA for the past two years and meet bi-weekly with my mentee. My mentee is now a high school Junior and we are deep into the college admissions process! He is a highly driven and astute student. I assist him as he works through internship applications, standardize test prep, and extracurricular activities. High school can be an extremely hectic environment and GCSA helps guide students through all the stresses. I am very grateful to be a resource to my mentee and I enjoy watching him grow as a student.