Ten Tips for a Successful Business Career


Kellie Goldstein, CFO, Travel Channel

As chief financial officer at the Travel Channel, Kellie Goldstein says she’s found the perfect job, one that marries her dual loves of travel and television.

“I was the original latch-key kid,” she says. “Lots of Gilligan’s Island after school.”

In her journeys around the globe and up the corporate ladder, including twelve years as a senior executive at Thompson Reuters, Goldstein has learned a lot about achieving professional and personal success.

She recently shared these insights with students in one of Virginia’s top business programs—the George Mason University Professional MBA.

Ten tips for a successful business career

1. Networking really matters
It’s never just about getting the job done well. Get out there! We tend to live in self-centric bubbles. We all have a lot more in common than you may think. And your next job is most likely to come from an acquaintance.

2. Surround yoursJWB 031615 GMU_KGoldstein 061-WEBelf with the right people—up, down and all around
If your team isn’t working, make a switch. You’re a blend of the people you spend the most time with. Make sure you like what’s going into the blend. And make sure it’s fun.

3. Be a truth teller
Transparency is critically important. Trust is needed in every role. Anticipating needs creates trust.

4. Just do it
Everyone starts with zero experience. If you don’t feel like you’re in over your head, you’re not trying hard enough.

5. Embrace change
Make this your personal competitive advantage. Find the places where you can make a contribution.

6. Chart your own path
Determine what matters most to you, set a goal and let that goal be your north star. 

7. No one can have it all
Be where you are when you’re there—100 percent at work; 100 percent at home.

8. Know when to say yes and no
Evaluate the risks and rewards of every opportunity. Consider the ‘fringe assignments’ that make others nervous. And when you take them on—become a true evangelist for those projects.

9. CommuniJWB 031615 GMU_KGoldstein 190-WEB - Copycation is critical
Kindergarteners and CEOs get graded on this same metric. Learn to convey simple messages that resonate.

10. Get credentials
A strong technical and business education builds competence and trust.


Goldstein earned her MS in Accounting from the George Mason University School of Business. Her presentation was part of the Brown & Brown Distinguished Speaker Series hosted by the George Mason University School of Business and sponsored by Brown & Brown Insurance.

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Janet Palmisano

Janet Palmisano is a member of the Recruiting and Admissions team at the George Mason University School of Business.

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