The last time I saw Katie Couric up front and in person was in NYC in 2011. Katie was on The View to promote her book The Best Advice I Ever Got and I was sitting in the audience. Since then, Katie’s moved on from evening news anchor to daytime talk show host to a new interview show on Yahoo. She’s also a Mom, philanthropist and planning a wedding (in her spare time). Let’s just say she’s keeping wikipedia very busy.
Our reunion took place at the BenFM Woman of the Week luncheon outside of Philadelphia, almost three years to the day from our The View encounter (does a wave count?). I was again sitting in the audience and Katie was center stage as the keynote speaker. I wore red, thinking for sure she’d recognize me in the crowd. Of 400 women.
Inspired by her many achievements, I looked forward to hearing her message. Katie did not disappoint, opening her keynote speech with one of my favorite quotes, from another trailblazer, Madeleine Albright.
“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”
“Hell yeah!,” I said to myself. The quote won the crowd. Katie continued on to share a few nuggets about success, which included stories about rejection, moxie and honing her on-air persona by practicing in the mirror. Here are some of the highlights:
Rejection: This is not a word you typically hear when people share success secrets, especially women. Women don’t like not to be liked. Turns out rejection was a huge motivator for Katie. “Keep in mind,” she shared, “getting the broads out of broadcasting was a message I heard loud and clear in my early days.” With a bring-it-on attitude, rejection was the fuel that motivated Katie to break the glass ceiling, becoming the first solo woman news anchor. She’s doing it again in her new venture with Yahoo, leading the way for internet shows. As Katie says, embracing new challenges keeps you vibrant. I think every woman has had a naysayer (or two) motivate us to take on a new challenge and show ‘em how it’s done.
Moxie: Katie first learned about moxie from her Dad, who told her she had “it”, a combination of spirit, determination and persistence. She went on to say she got her first job as a desk assistant at ABC by showing up in the lobby and calling the head of the News Bureau. Katie dropped a few names of mutual acquaintances that went something like, “my neighbors sister’s cousin is….” and announced that she wanted to come up and say, “Hi”. He was so taken off-guard he said yes, and personally introduced her to the person she had sent her résumé to. The résumé promptly went to the top of the pile. Yeah, that’s moxie.
Practice: Katie practiced in front of a mirror, with a hair brush as her microphone, going from a squeaky-voiced reporter who was told she would never deliver the news on camera (can you imagine?), to a confident in-control journalist. When she got the call for the Today show, hours and hours of practice helped her land the job. Turns out your hair brush works on the inside of your head too.
My key takeaway? Fuggedabout (that’s my Jersey coming out) success or failure, all that over-thinking is just going to hold you back. Instead, embrace change, blaze new trails and throw in a little moxie. Challenge the status quo and you’ll not only change your life, you may just change history.
Lynn Bardowski is an award-winning entrepreneur, radio host and best selling author of Success Secrets of a Million Dollar Party Girl. She speaks to global audiences about entrepreneurship, vision and branding and is a resource for press, media and bloggers. Like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. You may republish this article in full, as long as you list this paragraph and provide a link.