Lessons from the Media’s Most Powerful Women

This Monday, Jessica had the distinct pleasure of attending the Matrix Awards, the annual celebration of influential women in the media industry by New York Women in Communications (NYWICI), an organization on whose board she sits. But for many years prior to holding a board seat, she sat in the audience at this inspiring event, held in the 1,400-seat ballroom of New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The luncheon honored seven icons from across the media landscape–from television and film to magazines and advertising–who have achieved much success in their careers. The Matrix honorees, and their presenters (many of them men), included:

Queen Latifah, a 2014 Matrix Honorees, on the red carpet

Queen Latifah, a 2014 Matrix Honorees, on the red carpet

  • Wendy Clark, Senior Vice President, Global Sparkling Brand Center, Presented by Shelly Lazarus, Chairman Emeritus, Ogilvy & Mather
  • Queen Latifah, Musician, Award-Winning Actress, Record-Label President, Author, Entrepreneur, and Cover Girl, Presented by Mary J. Blige, Singer, Songwriter, Record Producer, Actress
  • Jane Mayer, Staff Writer, The New Yorker, Presented by David Remnick, Editor, The New Yorker
  • Cynthia McFadden, Senior Legal and Investigative Correspondent, NBC News
    Presented by Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent, CNN
  • Dyllan McGee, Founder and Executive Producer, MAKERS, Presented by Gloria Steinem, Writer, Organizer, Co-Founder Ms.
  • Eileen Naughton, Vice President, Global Accounts & Global Agencies, Google, Presented by David Gregory, Moderator, “Meet the Press”
  • Jonelle Procope, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Apollo Theater, Presented by Richard Parsons, Senior Advisor, Providence Equity LLC

These women shared their words of wisdom with the crowd and, since not everyone had the benefit of being there, I’m including the honorees’ and presenters’ best (tweetable!) nuggets below:

“Women can be bad-ass and beautiful.” — Jane Mayer

“No one’s journey is a straight path.” — Jonelle Procope

“I’ve been saying the word ‘improbable’ wrong all along. There’s a space between the ‘m’ and ‘p’: ‘I’m probable.'” — Wendy Clark

“There will never be post-feminism.” — Eileen Naughton

“Staying put is a bore.” — Cynthia McFadden (quoting her late friend Katherine Hepburn)

“If there’s a place in hell for women who don’t support each other, there’s a place in heaven for those who do.” — Gloria Steinem

“Focus on what matters; don’t get caught up in the minutiae.” — Dyllan McGee

“Great things come to those who show up fearlessly.” — Mary J. Blige

“Women need to lift each other up, not tear each other down.” — Queen Latifah

The two pillars of NYWICI–“the changing landscape of communications” and “helping women at every stage of their careers”–were on full display at the Matrix Awards and if this year’s honorees are any indication, there’s a bright future for women in media.