Cari Champion is a leading example of a woman working in a man’s field. She battles male egos everyday on ESPN’s First Take, but manages to still steal the spotlight. She has recently become an advocate for Lean In, a program designed to empower women.
In an interview with VIBE, she says:
On finding my voice:
When I was a junior or senior in high school, I knew [journalism] was what I wanted to do and that I was going to pursue it because I wanted to be class president. I started running my campaign, and my mother was telling me about what it meant and the responsibility. I knew [it meant] galvanizing the troops. [The class] was trying to determine where we were going to have our prom. The establishment and administrators were suggesting we do it their way and we, as the students, wanted to do it our way. I knew I wanted to have a voice, help people who couldn’t be heard or couldn’t necessarily vocalize what they wanted. My dream and goals were always just to be a local news reporter. I would envision [myself] making a difference and I loved telling stories. The two just worked perfectly well for me.
On managing multiple male personalities:
There’s no blueprint. It starts behind the scenes. There is always a double standard [for women] so we have to be comfortable—and that is such a tough thing to say—we have to be willing to, for lack of a better word, lean in. For Women’s History Month, we [had] Sheryl Sandberg come on First Take and her “Lean In Together” movement is such an amazing thing. We have to be able to speak up in the morning or evening meeting. We have to sit at the head of the table and give suggestions no matter what the outcome is [whether] they don’t like our suggestions, what we have to say or our words. We still need to be willing to say, ‘Hold on one second, I’m talking.’ A lot of my job is managing personalities and people and that goes on [or off] television. You have to become an expert in observation. I understand people, what makes them move, what doesn’t or how I feel they’ll react and I anticipate all of that. When I’m dealing with three, four guys at the table, it really is a barbershop and you have to know how men interact. It goes for the person you’re working with. It also has a lot to do with how they respect you and how you respect them, and just being able to prove you can sit with [the guys] and be okay with sitting with them.
It’s so refreshing to see strong women paving a way for other women to follow. GIRL POWER!