Laura Frerer-Schmidt: Vice President & Publisher of Women’s Health

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Laura Frerer-Schmidt is the Vice President & Publisher of Women’s Health. She is responsible for revenue and profit generation, management, marketing, digital strategy and platform development of the entire Women’s Health brand. Promoted to Vice President after leading Women's Health to unmatched growth figures within the industry (37% percent print growth/ 62%digital growth).  When she joined Women’s Health as publisher in 2011, Frerer-Schmidt completely rebuilt her team, increased sales and paging to record highs, established strong corporate culture, and created successful revenue-driving marketing and advertiser initiatives (RUN10 FEED10 and Next Fitness Star) that align seamlessly with brand’s action-based platform. She additionally established a new system of integration that leverages print, digital, other paid content (books/itunes),and international editions.

She has forged an unmatched relationship with editorial that elevated the brand from 2 billion impressions to 7 billion impressions annually. Named Publisher of the Year, Sales team of the year, and Marketing team of the year, MIN 2013. Frerer-Schmidt is a force in the industry and has been a part of the advertising community for over 23 years.  She worked for Condé Nast for 12 years, serving as SELF’s associate publisher, Teen Vogue’s national advertising director and W’s international advertising director. Her roots in publishing began at age 11 with her thriving newspaper route in small town America.

How did you get into the Publishing industry?

I kicked off my Publishing career at the age of ten with a newspaper route. Selling for a local magazine in New Orleans was my first grown-up job. Prior to coming to Women’s Health, I worked at Condé Nast for 12 years, serving as SELF’s associate publisher, Teen Vogue’s national advertising director and W’s international advertising director.

Tell us about Women's Health. What inspired the idea and what is your vision for the magazine?

Women’s Health is a huge brand that reaches tens of millions of women. I can’t take credit for the idea of this brand, but to me, it’s all about a modern, healthy new lifestyle trend called the Well-thy lifestyle…where wellness is the new cool. Women’s Health is the fastest growing women’s title both domestically and internationally and will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary this October. Every single touch point within the brand empowers our readers to take action.  

What strategic partnerships/marketing strategies have you implemented that have attributed to Women's Health's success?

Our incredible partners have been instrumental in our success. For our signature event series RUN10 FEED10, now in its 4th year, we partner with Lauren Bush Lauren’s FEED organization, Good Morning America and Crowdrise. The concept of the event is simple: Run a 10K with us and instantly provide 10 meals for those hungry in your community.  We have races in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and all over the United States. To date, we’ve raised nearly 4 million meals to help those in need.

We are also working with Domino Magazine this year for the first-ever, robust editorial and marketing partnership linking fitness, health and home for an ultimate wellness experience.

What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?

The Well-thy lifestyle, where wellness is incorporated into every aspect of your life,  is a big industry trend. You can see fashion, beauty, food, and home categories all leaning into the wellness trend. We are the perfect partner for every brand as they embrace wellness.

Life Motto?

Family motto: “Schmidt’s never quit…they never give up, they never give in.”

Women's Health's Motto?

”The question isn’t who is going to let me, it’s who is going to stop me.”

Your greatest success as VP/Publisher of Women's Health? Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?

My greatest success is turning around the business side of this brand, showing unparalleled growth in the women’s field over the last four years. Every initiative has been transformed to create unsurpassed engagement between our advertisers and our 30+ million readers at every touch point: through print, digital, social, mobile, events, branded books, bookazines, licensing, DVDs and international. My greatest challenge was getting the momentum started. The beginning is always hard.

Your advice to an aspiring publisher?

Think big.

Describe the ideal experience reading Women's Health.

For me, it’s on a plane. I get to think about being healthier and better, and it makes the trip seem less confining.

How do you motivate your employees?

I hire them because they are great. Then I expect greatness. I think my high expectations are motivating.

One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?

PB&J and coconut milk

What literature is on your bed stand?

Harry Potter (I read to my son every night)

Role model - business and personal?

Of course, my mom. For both.

Current passion?

My passion is designing and building our new property in Montauk.

Favorite travel destination?


What's next for Women's Health?

Women’s Health’s 10 year anniversary, which is coming up this October and our new Domino magazine partnership, “The Well-thy house”: A show home that demonstrates the ultimate in healthy living which will be taking in August.