Basic Info

Maria Aspan
Contributor Status:
Native AdVert
Initial Contribution Date:

Career Info

Primary Industry:
Media / Journalism, Writing
Personal Career Headline:
Writer, Editor & Journalist

My Native AdVert

Career Snapshot:

I live and write in New York City. I’m currently an editor-at-large at Inc. magazine, where I write features about finance, technology, gender, and entrepreneurs affecting the larger business world. I also write the weekly Lady Business newsletter, about the intersections of gender, business, and culture.

My first book, Startup Money Made Easy: The Inc. Guide to Every Financial Question About Starting, Running, and Growing Your Business, will be published by Harper Collins in February 2019.

My work has won multiple journalism awards, including 2017  “Best in Business” honors for feature writing from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW).

I’ve also worked at The New York Times, Reuters, and American Bankerwhere as national editor I covered the financial crisis, its aftermath, and its toll on consumers. My writing on technology, startups, and pop culture has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Village Voice, the Chicago TribuneSlate, and elsewhere.

What Else To Know

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How did you get into the industry?

Thanks to a couple of amazing journalist mentors, I got a newspaper internship that turned into a news assistant job at The New York Times, and allowed me to start freelancing business articles there. Then, in 2008, I took a job as a banking reporter right before Bear Stearns failed, and spent the next several years covering the financial crisis and its aftermath.

Any emerging industry trends?

The journalism industry has been going through some brutal growing pains (or, rather, shrinking pains) for pretty much as long as I’ve been working in it. I’m heartened by the growth and investment at some large legacy publications, and I’m hoping that the digital-only media that have had such an influence on the voice and vitality of the news business can figure out a better business model (one that acknowledges the importance of their employees in shaping their influence).

Any industry opportunities or challenges?

Social-media and tech giants rightly get criticized for causing a lot of problems in journalism (monopolizing digital advertising, failing to effectively police online harassment, allowing Russian trolls to influence elections…). But at least their rise has also made it easier in many ways for journalists to be more entrepreneurial, to connect directly with sources and readers, and to distribute their work in so many different media. (For example: I write long print features for Inc.’s monthly magazine, as well as shorter, more immediate analysis articles for our website; I also write a weekly email newsletter and regularly discuss my work on Inc.’s podcast.)

Career advice to those in your industry?

I’m so glad I kind of fell into financial journalism; it’s given me experience and niche knowledge that’s valuable at all sorts of employers, and when covering all kinds of stories. So I generally recommend taking jobs where you can gain some sort of specialized knowledge, even if it’s not always the most glamorous or exciting-seeming subject; where you’ll be challenged; and where you’ll work with smart, generous people.

My Daily Thoughts:

My Goal of the Day: To spend my time on things that are meaningful and make a difference – and that also bring me joy.

My Thought of the Day: I think a lot about the frozen-yogurt metaphor in The Good Place: “There’s something so human about taking something and ruining it a little so you can have more of it.”

My Action of the Day: To pay attention to who’s in (and making) the news, and to think about how those expert voices shape the news. (And to start brainstorming for my weekly Lady Business newsletter).

My Deed of the Day:

My Tip of the Day: Be curious, and say “yes” enthusiastically but selectively.

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

The sheer diversity of people, places, and experiences contained in New York. It’s never boring unless you allow it to be.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

If I have time: Eggs scrambled on top of a slice of whole-wheat sourdough toast. If not:

Whole-wheat toast with organic chunky peanut butter.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Probably still sleeping, despite my occasional attempts to become a morning-workout person.

10:00 AM – In meetings or catching up on email, with good coffee.

12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

Lunchtime yoga at Equinox at least once a week helps me shake off the hunched-over-a-computer lifestyle. Then the kale salad with rotisserie chicken (and hot sauce) at Dirty Bird Tribeca feels less like a Sad Desk Salad.

7:00 PM – Either meeting friends or sources for drinks/dinner, or heading home to cook and write some more.

11:00 PM – Reading in bed.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Green tea when I first wake up, at least one good cup of coffee mid-morning, and sometimes a glass of red wine at the end of the day. Also – and it’s so rare I get to brag about this! — but I drink more water than anyone else I know.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

The New Yorker’s app is a great reading experience and has single-handedly changed how much of each issue I read (and how much guilt I have about recycling the unread paper issues stacking up in my apartment).

What should everyone try at least once?

Spending time alone in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

I love traveling to new places and having at least an afternoon on my own to wander without any specific agenda. I also really enjoying trying new restaurants alone when I travel – somehow it feels less awkward than eating alone in New York!

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