Discussion of news topics with a point of view, including narratives by individuals regarding their own experiences

Welcome to The Work Day, a series that charts a single day in various women’s working lives — from gallery owners to stay-at-home parents to chief executives. In this installment, we hear from features director Erin Florio, who recorded a workday in November.

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Name: Erin Florio

Age: 38

Location: New York City

Job title: Director, Features and Editorial Franchises, Condé Nast Traveler

Previous jobs: I’ve held various editor titles at Condé Nast Traveler for the past six years, though I worked as a deputy editor and associate editor at other publications in New York and London before that. I’ve been working in travel media for 15 years which thrills me and makes me realize my age!

What led me to my current role: I knew early on that if I wasn’t doing something that I genuinely enjoyed, I wouldn’t be motivated to do it as well as I could, regardless of money. I have always loved travel and how it lets you answer some of the questions you may have about the rest of the world. Growing up, I moved a bit for my dad’s job — first to Seoul at the age of 4, and then to Wellington, New Zealand, five years later. We never transferred out of New Zealand, but there was always the chance we would, and I began prepping for these possible moves in my mind: What would life be like in Kenya? Or the Philippines? Or in any of these places where we could end up?

I’m fairly certain this gave me a curiosity about life in other countries that I’ve always needed to indulge. I went to university in the United States to study journalism to become a travel editor and landed my first gig after graduation at a travel magazine in Rome. I’ve stayed on that track, and traveled all over the world, ever since.

When I started at Condé Nast Traveler, we were a local-market magazine with a growing digital presence. Since then, the media landscape has shifted and so have we — to become a travel media brand across a multitude of platforms including social and video, and we have joined forces with our six international brands in markets around the world to become one global voice in travel. Being a part of the transition of this brand as the industry pivots to new ways of storytelling, and working with members of my team across six countries to do so, has been really exciting.

My job is challenging for many reasons, but I recognize how lucky I am to be doing what I set out to do way back when.

How I spend the majority of my workday: As an editorial director of a media brand increasing its global reach, my days run the gamut from large-scale planning to finessing the final details of a story ready to get out the door. My calendar is generally pretty full with meetings each day, which could mean an hour to hone pitches and lineups with my fellow editors, conversations with industry figures like hoteliers and destination representatives, chats with writers to workshop ideas, big-picture strategy sessions with team members from other departments like sales and marketing, and brainstorming new initiatives and processes for CNT.

Between it all, I am usually hunkered down editing copy and moving stories, assigning articles and catching up with direct reports or others assisting on larger-scale projects. My inbox is notoriously my scary place, and though I am always in it, I feel I can never quite get ahead of all the emails I get each day. (Apologies to anyone still waiting on a response from me! It’s coming!)

Heading somewhere fabulous after work for a press dinner or cocktail was fairly typical pre-covid, and I am happy to say it seems to be coming back; this week alone I had an event to attend nearly every day.

My workday

5:40 a.m.: My 1-year-old decides when my day starts; I consider making it to 6 a.m. without hearing from him a small, rare victory. He is really into chasing balls these days, so I roll a few in different directions on our living room floor and let him go wild. He’s hungry and I’m not caffeinated, so I begin to prepare him a breakfast of banana, eggs and cereal as I make my way through a full French press of coffee. I only get a few hours of awake time with my son during the workday, so super early starts don’t bother me a bit.

6:50 a.m.: I wake up (bribe) my partner with a cup from the French press and hand over our little guy so I can hop in the shower. Around this time, I start to catch up with colleagues on email who are already online in offices around the globe.

7:30 a.m.: Regardless of how hectic my day may become, I always make a point of walking to work rather than catching the subway. The hour it takes, partly spent crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, lets me collect my thoughts and get set for the day ahead in a way I can’t do at home or on public transport. I never skip it. I’ve even walked in blizzards, which may not be totally safe...

8:40 a.m.: Today, Condé Nast Traveler is hosting our annual Points of View summit. It’s a day we always look forward to: a virtual conference with editor-moderated panels and networking opportunities attended by Condé Nast Traveler’s 400-strong community of travel specialists. As such, my office today is an upgrade — a small conference room which ticks all the necessary tech requirements including a backdrop of the Manhattan skyline that looks gorgeous on-screen. I do a tech check with the producers and review my notes for my panels later on.

The view from Condé Nast Traveler's conference room. (Courtesy of Erin Florio)
The view from Condé Nast Traveler's conference room. (Courtesy of Erin Florio)

9:30 a.m.: My first meeting today is our All Hands weekly check-in with the whole editorial team. We are slowly returning to the office after working from home since March 2020, and we discuss updates there and some team news.

11:30 a.m.: After time on email and editing my notes, I log into the conference, which kicks off at noon. The production team does some fancy software work to make sure all us panelists are where we virtually need to be while the audience starts logging on from all over the world. Last count, I see a couple hundred viewers online, waiting for us to start. I planned ahead and grabbed a ready-made veggie wrap from our cafeteria before logging on, and I inhale it with the camera off. A lunch break definitely isn’t in the cards for today.

1:30 p.m.: My panel is up, and it’s a goody: I am moderating a conversation about travel’s role in aiding the global recovery from covid. It’s a serious topic for sure, but we make it fun and engaging (thank you again, my rock star panelists!) and the audience has some excellent questions for us throughout.

3 p.m.: Between catching panels on cruises, diversity and experiences in travel heading into 2022, I keep my stories moving and check in with a superstar writer I am sending out to report a feature story for us soon. The good news about a virtual summit is that you can keep it on all day and dip in and out as other work obligations get dealt with. And all the while I am trying to keep up on emails!

4 p.m.: I’m back on screen, this time to moderate a virtual networking room with our travel specialists. These guys are the real pros and are all over all things travel; they certainly don’t need me to keep the conversation moving, and I am happy just listening in! Great points are made about hotel price gouging and where travelers are heading next. And as the conversation is in full, riotous swing, we are pulled back into the main conference presentation for closing remarks.

5 p.m.: To toast ourselves and welcome our global editorial director over from the London office, my colleagues and I have arranged drinks at a bar nearby. It feels great to actually cheers with wine, cocktails, whatever you have, with the team in person again. During stay-at-home orders, we arranged virtual happy hours with each other, but nothing beats a bartender-made drink enjoyed in real life.

6 p.m.: If I could, I’d stay for many more drinks, but I want to see my little guy before he goes down for the night, so I take the subway home (I don’t have the luxury of time to walk). En route, I pick up a bottle of Gruner and some groceries so that my partner and I can cook dinner and relax together a bit once the baby’s in bed.

7:45 p.m.: Baby is down, wine is poured and I start on dinner, which tonight is spinach and chicken orzo with plenty of Parmesan and pepper. Just as I love the hours I get early on with my son, I really look forward to the couple of hours my partner and I have on the nights when we are both home where we slowly have a drink, prepare dinner and reconnect. It’s nothing fancy, but it really helps re-center everything after a day of running around.

10 p.m.: This is about the time I start to drift off, though my partner is generally up longer. I may read the fiction in the New Yorker or a chapter from a book, but nothing helps me fall asleep like streaming something mindless on TV. Ten minutes in and I’m out.

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