June 18, 2021
In many ways, Stephanie Mehta has broken the mold for what it means to be a journalist in business and tech. Not only is she the first female editor-in-chief of Fast Company since the magazine rolled off the presses in November 1995, but she’s also one of the few South Asian faces in an industry largely dominated by white men. She has pushed for diversity in both editorial coverage and conferences, launching Fast Company’s Queer 50 list in 2020 and Vanity Fair’s Founders Fair conference for women entrepreneurs in 2017.
But spend time with Mehta, even over Zoom, and you don’t sense a hint of bravado. The 51-year-old media veteran doesn’t aim to be a large personality, something her peers echo. When I speak to other executives in her industry, they praise Mehta for her “old school” nature, for her universality rather than for her eccentricity. Adam Lashinsky, former executive editor of Fortune Magazine, who co-chaired the annual Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference with Mehta, describes her as an “every-position-of-the-field-player.” Hers is a modest power, but one that has taken her far in the competitive, brisk-paced world of media, driven largely by a versatile talent capable of reporting, editing, and moderating discussions across a vast array of topics.
Ask her about her distinguished career — spanning nearly three decades and publications including The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Bloomberg, and Vanity Fair — and she attributes that success to a simple combination of “really good luck and hard work.”