Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hurry Up and WATE....

Hurry Up and Wait...

She had 'it all'...fantastic friends, check...fabulous career, check...phenomenal shoe collection, whirlwind love affairs, check and check.

She was an inspiration. We Manoloed through six seasons of her joys and heartaches. We related to her, cheered her on, because...in a way....we are her. And we'll never forget the moment when John James Preston turned to Carrie Bradshaw and sealed the deal on her fairy tale ending with three words: "I got it".

I must admit I find myself struggling from time to time on what 'it' is all about. Not long ago, I was engaged to be married to a wonderful man...a USMC Devil Dog through and through. He was the Prince Charming my inner 6 year old imagined would one day whisk me away in a hot air balloon and ask me to be his Princess. Fast forward 20 years later and I'm asking my Sister turned Maid of Honor, "Is this 'it' ", as I sat on her bed stressing over the bridal fittings that deep down I didn't want to attend. Am I in the midst of "it all"? She couldn't answer the questions for me, and at the time, I couldn't answer them for myself. I ultimately decided it was in our best interest to call off the wedding. I found myself at the crossroad of "heartache" and "how could you?". My Dad's favorite saying is, "Tough times don't last forever, tough people do". When times get tough, I fall back on what I know...work. Nose, allow me to introduce the Grindstone...I believe you two have met before.

Coincidentally, another proposal of sorts came to me by way of an NBC affiliate in Washington state. In place of a diamond, they offered Morning Anchor. A sweet title and, ultimately, my end goal on either coast. But, like the first proposal, something just wasn't right. Again, I mulled over the decision with the help of family and friends. In the end, one of the most valuable lessons a reporter can learn is to rely on and trust their gut....and mine was cramping. I thanked the News Director for the offer with the gut intuition that something better was on it's way.

I find strength when I surround myself with thriving individuals of like mind. In my career as a journalist, I've been fortunate enough to interview some amazing women who have discovered the path to 'it all'. Three, in particular, have left me "Carrie'd" away.

Recently, I met up with Emmy award-winning television Host and Producer, Amy Palmer. I got wind she was launching a new network, PowerWomenTV, and I just had to know more. We met the only way two women wrapped in Diane VonFurstenburg can; at lunch time in a lovely little restaurant in Manhattan. Similar to me, Amy began her career in local television. I'd always admired her work and, in my head, I'd decided we were friends. It's true that people look much different in life than they do on the television in your living room. In Amy's case, she was even lovelier in person. We discussed her humble beginnings in local television as both host, producer and often times, creator, of her own televison programs. A true go-getter, Amy built her career from the bottom up. I asked her how PowerWomenTV came about, and was surprised to learn my "friend" and I had more in common than I'd imagined.

Amy's goal is to highlight women who are breaking through the glass ceiling and forging new paths to success. She has taken her skills as producer, editor, and reporter and is shining the spotlight on real role models...real power women. I have to say, my favorite thing about Amy is that the word "No" doesn't stop her from reaching her final cut. She spent years gathering articles on inspiring women until finally, she had a filing cabinet packed with enough stories that the word "No" became irrelevant. Amy followed her gut and decided if this project was going to get off the ground, she was going to have to strap on her stilettos and lift it as high as her platforms would allow. She grabbed her favorite cameraman and a web designer who understood her vision. PowerWomenTV.com was born! You can look forward to Amy's inspirational blogs on Huffington Post and video from PowerWomenTV.com in the Winter of 2009. I asked Amy what is it like to have 'it all' and she responded, "Listen to your voice, your voice will lead you to your most authentic self. In documenting the lives and success of these PowerWomen, I learn more about myself and who I am everyday."

Another journalistic venture with a PowerWomen in every sense of word leads me to Philadelphia...home of "It's Your Call with Lynn Doyle". Lynn Doyle is a multi-award winning, ten-time emmy recipient and an inspiration to any woman in the biz. She too, began her career in local tv. She is also a wife, mother of two and a grandmother to twins. I figured, who better to ask about the fine balance of work and family. Lynn's response will stay with me a lifetime. "The term 'having it all' has to be self-defined. Find what works for you. And it doesn't mean this is it for the rest of your life, your children grow up, other jobs become available...you grow." She went on to say, "I think people are so afraid they may be pigeon-holed into one particular role...you have to realize there's a whole big life out there ahead of you. Find what works...you evolve and 'it' evolves."

It doesn't take a reporter to know the real story is in the details. Well, perhaps there are a few details I've held out on. First, in March of 2009 I got a tiny tattoo on my wrist. I never told anyone, but I've always wanted a small nautical star. I love the meaning behind it and the idea that you can always find your way home. A few days ago I met up with the Marine for cocktails and I was going on and on telling him about my new tattoo. I was rendered speechless when he pulled up his shirt to show me a larger nautical star tattooed right above his heart. What's even more shocking is, he too, had the tattoo done in March, only on a different hemisphere during one of his travels. Coincidence or Fate...I'll let you be the judge.

As I right this article, to the left of my computer sits my airline and hotel confirmation from the ABC affiliate in Knoxville. Evidently, my gut was right and just a half hour after I turned down the gig with NBC in Washington, my new job came a Knoxin'. This time the contract was right, the market was bigger and my gut tells me this could be a great place to make a splash in hard news. I leave one week from today to visit with the News Director and Anchors and tour the station. In other news, it seems the military's favorite expression, "Hurry up and wait", is in full effect. Turns out, the Marine received orders and he will be leaving for a year long tour of duty to Iraq. More importantly, his deployment date is the very same day I will, for the first time, step foot in a WATE-TV studio. Again, I ask you....Coincidence or Fate?

Where my star may lead me, who knows? Aside from our careers in television, Lynn, Amy and I all hold one thing in common. We consider our Moms to be our greatest role models. Each in different ways, but nonetheless, the most powerful women we know.

My mom may not be a television producer, nor does she start her day in hair and makeup or carry around a Blackberry filled the "who's who". My mom left her career as a Medical Assistant for 15 years to "Produce" our household. She is now back at work in the medical field, managing or, "producing", a Dr.'s office in West Orange. We just celebrated her 50th birthday. She is a daughter and sister for 50 years, a wife for 31, a medical assistant for 29, a mom for 27 and a PowerWoman through and through...

My Mom is a woman of many layers and, perhaps, what I am to learn from her is meant to be discovered later in life. Mom possesses the ability to work in a career she is passionate about, raise her family and recognize, attain and retain a remarkable man for over 30 years. No doubt about it, she found 'it all' and gave it her all. Hopefully, pray tell, she intends to teach her first born this essential lesson in life and love. Until that class opens up for the semester, I'll sharpen my pencil...hurry up...and WATE....