Q&A with Emma Liebmann, Chief of Staff at Fable

Q&A with Emma Liebmann, Chief of Staff at Fable

Meet Emma Liebmann, the visionary VP, Chief of Staff at Fable, a cutting-edge creative studio where the power of generative AI is firmly in the hands of its designers. With a role that transcends traditional boundaries, Emma embodies the spirit of versatility and determination. She ventures where necessary and tackles whatever tasks are required to transform Fable's ambitious vision into reality.

As VP, Chief of Staff at Fable, a modern creative studio, how do you ensure that Fable stays at the forefront of innovation and continues to empower creators effectively in the rapidly evolving creative industry?

We listen! to our users and to our employees.  It is easy to develop tunnel vision with your own beliefs and ideas - it is much harder to allow yourself to be open-minded and to actively seek new information that might prove you wrong. When we listen to our users and our employees, we challenge our existing beliefs and by doing so, we are constantly finding new ways to innovate.  I always talk about the value of skepticism in innovation - it's a term that can get a bad connotation because it can be incorrectly associated with pessimism. I believe skeptics are actually the biggest optimists because we are constantly questioning the status quo and believing there is a better way. At Fable, we have a culture that values having a healthy level of skepticism.

Your journey at Fable, especially during significant personal milestones, highlights an incredibly supportive culture. How do you cultivate and maintain this environment, and what advice do you have for other companies striving to support and advance women and parents in the workplace?

I joined Fable in part because I wanted to prove that you can build a billion dollar business without sacrificing your morals along the way. I have seen a lot of examples where those two things come into conflict and choosing between them often feels like an inevitability that comes with growth. Chris, our CEO and founder, is a good, empathetic and fair person.  He is a wicked talented product, engineering and business leader also but first, he is a good person. There are so many complicated and often contentious policies, processes, conversations companies can have but I have realized that if you have good people with good values, doing the right thing is actually simple and easy.  When you have good, empathetic, fair and humble leadership, a supportive culture often grows organically. If our team does not feel like they can bring their authentic selves to work each day then we have failed, no matter how much business success we have. 
With your focus on business operations, people operations, community, marketing, and overall company growth, can you share how you prioritize these areas and any strategies you employ to balance them effectively?

I was hoping you could tell me! As chief of staff, my responsibilities are broad - I go wherever I need to go in the company and do whatever I need to do at that moment to drive our business goals. In order to wear a lot of hats successfully, I need to maintain excellent communication channels.  This means both proactively sharing, often in extreme detail, about my own activity as well as proactively seeking information about what my colleagues are doing. We have a culture that emphasizes overcommunication - this allows me to move fast, in many directions, but in a way that is strategic and flexible. I also make sure that anything I am spending time on has a clear purpose that is tied back to the company goals and mission. When you are moving quickly, it's easy to become overly focused on what you are doing and not why you are doing it - I do 'why' checks with myself often to make sure my time and priorities align with the highest impact areas for Fable.

You mentioned your role involves going wherever you need to and doing whatever needs to be done to bring the company vision to life. Can you share a particularly challenging project or initiative you've worked on and how you navigated it to success?

One initiative I am in the middle of right now is building out and driving our customer community with the goal of increasing awareness and user success.  This is not something I have done before in my 10+ year career so it's a unique and fun challenge for me. This is an ongoing project so I can't claim success just yet but there are a couple things that i've found to work well so far: 1. Jumping in and getting my hands as dirty as possible, as quickly as possible, even when uncomfortable.2. Focus on making things happen, anything, rather than having a pretty plan in place (this allows me to avoid the trap of assumptions).3. Asking tons of questions and absorbing as much information as possible.4. NOT faking it until I make it - I've owned my inexperience and have looked to our users to show me the way since they are the ones we are building this community for.

Your passion for building and scaling genuine, ambitious, humble, bold, courageous, and status-quo-breaking companies is inspiring. What advice do you have for aspiring leaders who want to make a significant impact in their fields while fostering a supportive and inclusive culture?

Be curious, be brave and be authentic. There is so much power and value in your voice - find it and use it. 

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