Women in Leadership: Julia Ziegler, Director of News and Programming at WTOP News

Julia Ziegler

Noetic’s Women in Leadership series highlights strong women leaders across industries who inspire us personally and professionally – as leaders, collaborators, and humans. They are recognized and influential in their respective fields and they leverage their positions of leadership to uplift, encourage, and support other women. 

This month we are proud to feature Julia Ziegler, Director of News and Programming at WTOP News.

If you could provide a nugget of wisdom…

Success does not come without a lot of hard work and commitment. I believe every successful person has had to sacrifice at one point to get where they are today. In journalism, that might mean working holidays/overnights, picking up shifts on your day off, or staying late during a breaking news event. Promotions and opportunities do not come to those who want them simply because they want them. They come to those who put in the work to grow themselves and enhance their craft.

What is your rule of thumb when it comes to leadership? 

People always come first. I will drop everything I’m doing if someone on my team needs to speak with me. A business can’t operate without great, engaged people, which is why your people should be at the center of everything you do. Take care of those people…help them grow…lead them to success. 

Who has had the biggest impact on you and your career? 

Professor John Sanchez, my news media ethics and broadcast journalism professor at Penn State. I would not be where I am today without him. His belief in me as a young journalist pushed me out of my comfort zone and his work ethic is something I continue to model today, along with the work ethic of my parents and grandparents who worked hard for everything they had.

What has been your greatest lesson in the workplace? 

Listen more. It’s something I’m still working on 18 years into my career but it’s incredibly important. You learn more when you listen more.

How do you strike an optimal work/life balance? 

I’m probably not the right person to ask this question to! I love my work therefore I spend a lot of time engaged in it. Journalism is a mission-driven profession, a part of my being, and something that brings me joy. I’m lucky that way. That said, if you work hard it is definitely important that you also take time to disconnect. I’m big on taking mental health days – random days off that are just for me and give me time to reset. And in my day-to-day life, it’s important to be present. The dedication and focus I show while I’m at work, I also bring to my family and friends when I’m with them. 

What’s your advice to young females beginning their careers? 

I would say this not just to young females, but young people in general. Take every opportunity someone throws your way. Say yes to learning and trying new things (even if you aren’t sure how they fit into your ultimate goals). Be proactive. Get to know your coworkers. The people around you have so much valuable information and lessons to share, and most are willing if you speak up and ask. 

What is the most important quality we can offer in our day-to-day roles? 


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