by Lauren Shapiro*
What do Tina Fey, Gayle King, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Sheryl Crow, Susan Chira, Ina Garten, Anne Keating and Marissa Mayer have in common? They all proved, at the 40th annual New York Women in Communications Matrix Awards, that it’s not just a “boys club” anymore! From the television industry to the White House, the Matrix Awards celebrated women who have made a difference in the communications industry.
As Doris Kearns Goodwin pointed out, she was only one of two female White House interns for Linden B. Johnson out of a total of fifteen, while Tina Fey entered comedy at a time when funny women were the minority among men. Now, we celebrate women who dared to dream big, work hard, start a family and never let anything or anyone stand in their way.
The Matrix Awards was held at the Waldorf Astoria in the infamous ballroom that once witnessed many a New Year’s Eve before Times Square became the place to be. The room was sold out and roared with laughter as Oprah joked with Gayle King about how they settle editorial disputes at O Magazine: “Do you see a G on the cover, Gayle?” And you could hear a pin drop as Doris Kearns Goodwin talked of her time assisting Lynden B. Johnson with his memoirs in his final years and Ina Garten inspired everyone to do what they love when she shared her husband’s advice before writing the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks: “If you love what you do, you’ll be great at it.”
While the honorees and their presenters (including Jill Abramson, Mariska Hargitay, Seth Meyers, Anna Quindlen, Lesley Stahl, Katie Couric, Oprah Winfrey and Maria Bartiromo) told fascinating and inspiring stories about their time in their respected industries, a common theme became clear – Many of these women were scrutinized for raising a family and continuing to be successful in their career.
It is a double standard that still exists, even in 2010, that a woman who works and raises a family is more likely to be asked “How do you do it all?” than a man who has the same responsibilities. Tina Fey noted that she was posed this question many times at a press junket with Steve Carell (who also works and raises a family). She continued to explain that Steve was never asked that question, which seemed to have a scrutinizing undertone almost insinuating “You’re really screwing this up, aren’t you?” But what the Matrix Awards and the New York Women in Communications organization proves is that you (man or woman) can be successful both professionally and personally.
Did you attend the New York Women in Communications Matrix Awards? What stood out to you about the event? Please share your thoughts with me and the other readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.
*Bio: Soon after graduating from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, in 2006 with a B.A. in communication and a B.S. in business/marketing, I joined the BurrellesLuce client services team. In 2008, I completed my master’s degree in corporate and organizational communications and now work as the supervisor of BurrellesLuce Express client services. I am passionate about researching and understanding the role of email in shaping relationships from a client relation/service standpoint as well as how miscommunication occurs within email, which was the topic of my thesis. Through my posts on Fresh Ideas, I hope to educate and stimulate thoughtful discussions about corporate communications and client relations, further my own knowledge on this subject area, as well as continue to hone my skills as a communicator. Twitter: @_LaurenShapiro_ LinkedIn: laurenrshapiro Facebook: BurrellesLuce