At InHerSight, our goal is to give you the insights you need to make the best decisions for your life and career, and our ratings data and scorecards for 65,000+ companies are a key piece of that equation. In this series, we’re supplementing our cultural insights with answers to the important (and sometimes difficult to ask) questions women want answers to during the interview process.
This week we’re talking San Francisco-based Chronicle Books. You may be familiar with some of their titles — including New York Times Best SellersOlive, the Other Reindeer (the cutest tale about a puppy who longs to be a reindeer), theGriffin and Sabineseries (you know, that series of books told in the form of letter correspondance that got a lot of buzz in the early 90’s and sort of trailblazed that storytelling format), and the children’s seriesAll My Friends Are Dead(you’ve definitely seen illustrations from these adorably morbid picture books on Facebook), to name a few. Chronicle Books pushes the envelope by publishing delightfully unique content and by remaining committed to equitable policy and culture. Here’s how they do it.
InHerSight:Can you start by telling us a little bit about Chronicle Books?
Todd:Chronicle Books was founded in 1967 and continues to be one of the most admired and respected publishing companies in the United States. Over the years, we have developed a reputation for award-winning, innovative books and gift products. Our independent company continues to challenge conventional publishing wisdom, setting trends in both subject and format, maintaining a list that includes much admired illustrated books and gift products in design, art, architecture, photography, food, lifestyle, pop culture, and acclaimed children’s titles. We have approximately 200 employees in the United States with our headquarters in San Francisco and a satellite office in New York.
InHerSight:What are your favorite company values and what are some of the ways you exemplify them?
Todd:We have five core values at Chronicle Books: Exploration, Passion, Integrity, Collaboration, and Creativity. Our mission probably best describes how we practice our values: “Inspired by the enduring magic of books, we cultivate and distribute exceptional publishing that is instantly recognizable for its spirit and creativity. Our collaborations spark the passions of adults and children worldwide, encouraging them to explore, connect, and see things differently.”
InHerSight:What would you tell prospective female employees about why your company is a great place to work?
Todd:Chronicle Books is a company that is focused on creating and maintaining an equitable workplace. We have a leadership team that is 64% female and an overall population that is 80% female, so we have a good understanding of the issues that confront working women. There are female leaders at every level and in every department at Chronicle Books, and we’re actively committed to ongoing professional education and career development for all our employees.
InHerSight:How does your company view diversity and seek to develop it?
Todd:Diversity and Inclusion have been a key topic of discussion in the publishing industry over the past few years with a particular focus on both the diversity of our products and the makeup of our teams. Chronicle Books was an early participant in a groundbreaking publishing diversity survey, and our commitment to looking at all the areas in which we can improve has led to the development of our Diversity and Inclusion Group. This group is leading the charge in terms of raising awareness, education, and diversifying our recruitment and creative talent pools.
InHerSight:Are there initiatives or support structures in place for minority groups?
Todd:We have a Diversity and Inclusion Group at Chronicle Books that focuses on D&I training, discussion and reading groups, community outreach, recruitment, and D&I issues in our publishing.
InHerSight:Nearly 40% of women leave the workforce when they have children. How does your company support working moms?
Todd:Before California established its Paid Family Leave benefit, Chronicle Books had added a 6-week paid family leave benefit to its program. With this benefit in place still, Chronicle Books typically covers at least 4 1/2 months of fully paid leave for new mothers. Our return to work program is based on the idea of flexibility, especially during the first month or so. New mothers regularly return from maternity leave and work an abbreviated schedule and/or a mixture of remote and in-office work. In addition, we offer work from home arrangements where employees can work 1-2 days from home on an ongoing basis. The message from the working mothers has been clear: these kinds of benefits and flexible arrangements are invaluable, and they are among the reasons why we have an average tenure of over 7 years at Chronicle Books.
InHerSight:How do your company’s recruiting efforts support a diverse workforce?
Todd:We have recently partnered with UC-Santa Cruz’s Creative Entrepreneurship Internship program that helps place intern candidates with diverse backgrounds, interests, and experiences. We are also working with the Associate of American Publishers and their joint program with UNCF to host diverse intern candidates in our Editorial department. We have also committed to work with the organization Youth Community Developers and the Mayor’s Youth Employment and Education Program (MYEEP) in San Francisco to host informational tours of our offices, with an emphasis on students of color and from populations underrepresented in the publishing industry.
Thank you, Todd, for answering our questions! If you’re interested in learning more, check out Chronicle Books’ open positions, read about their benefits, and see ratings from the women who work there on.
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