Sharing the pie
That’s my version of a metaphor a wise Latina used in a recent conversation about what a difference it makes when women support, mentor and encourage one another.
I got to thinking about this after the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) annual convention in Denver last month. This convention was especially meaningful because my dear friend and longtime news anchor Gloria Campos was inducted into the NAHJ Hall of Fame.
Gloria has been at WFAA-TV since 1984, where she became Dallas’s first Latino anchor. She’s given tirelessly to the community and has always been willing to help an aspiring Latino journalist get his or her foot in the door.
We met around 1995 through Rebecca Lopez, a former colleague and long-time friend. The way she tells it, Becky was in school dreaming of a career in television journalism when she turned on the TV and saw Gloria for the first time, called her directly and said, “I wanna be just like you. How do I do it?” So began Gloria’s role as Rebecca’s mentor, co-worker and close friend.
Gloria has unknowingly served as a role model for me. She is the epitome of grace, intelligence and never-ending generosity in a business where women haven’t always embraced each other.
It’s why I wanted to be there for her much-deserved induction in the Hall of Fame. She delivered a powerfully deep and inspirational speech. I expected to tear up, but never expected to hear her thank me for my support in what was obviously such a meaningful recognition for her.
It took me back to my days as a college student in Los Angeles, when I first noticed a Latina anchor. Linda Alvarez is her name; you may remember her. She spent years here in Phoenix.
I secured my first station internship at – you guessed it – the station where Linda worked.
When one of my journalism professors assigned us to do an informational interview with someone in the field, I naturally chose Linda. She was so gracious in answering my questions of how she started and ended up in my dream job.
Part of the assignment included a collage of words and pictures depicting our professional goal. I took a page from a magazine of a full-color promotion of all the station anchors, including Linda, and pasted it to the center of my collage, with my face taped over hers.
Flash forward nine years, and there I sat at KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, anchoring right alongside Linda Alvarez. Flash forward six more years and here I sit on the anchor desk, right alongside her former Valley co-anchor Kent Dana.
If women like Linda and Gloria hadn’t blazed the trails they did, who knows if people like me would have had the courage to believe we could pursue our own dreams. I saw Linda, she looked like me and that was enough of an inspiration to at least give me the motivation to try.
That’s how a slice of pie just gets bigger and bigger.
Success for one of us is success for all of us.