This interview with Linda K. Zecherthe chief executive of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a publishing house that also provides educational content, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.
Q. Were you in leadership roles or doing entrepreneurial things early on?
A. I grew up in Middletown, Ohio. You can’t get any more middle class than that in the Midwest. I had a paper route, I was a girl scout, and I was involved in a lot of clubs and sports in high school.
Tell me about your parents.
My mother was a homemaker and my father was very entrepreneurial. He started a variety of businesses — a hotel, restaurants, a trucking company. I was also very close to my grandmother. She was a Rosie the Riveter, and she worked in the steel mill during the war. She was a force to be reckoned with.
Did you have an idea of what you wanted to do for a career before you went to college?
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