Journalist Tina Brown tells us how one person can help change the world, and what advice she would give to her younger self.
Tina Brown and 2015 Toyota Mother of Invention, Doniece Sandoval.
Tina Brown is a game-changer on the go. Formerly the editor-in-chief of Tatler, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Newsweek, the Daily Beast founder most recently launched Women in the World to shine the spotlight on female champions shattering the glass ceiling on a global scale. The media maverick recently touched down in the Windy City for Women in the World’s Chicago Salon at the Museum of Broadcast Communications. "I really love coming to Chicago," says Brown. "You’ve got all these amazing women, and they're all very civically committed, which is not true of every city."
Though the globetrotting journalist’s visit here might have been a whirlwind ("I wish I could go to [stop. reset.] that just opened"), her program on social change left a lasting impression. Here, the Christian Louboutin-clad Brown reveals why thinking small can wield huge results.
It’s hard not to leave today feeling inspired. What would you suggest to readers who want to really raise their voice for these social issues? TINA BROWN: There’s no doubt that the power of many makes the story one. Networks of information are critically important. If you want to try to get involved with the deradicalization of young women, go to Edit’s [Dr. Edit Schlaffer] website or to Oby’s [Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili] website, and figure out how you can help with your skills in finding out what are the forces that are fighting terrorism. One of the things that really came out today was just how easy it is to open your doors to communities of women who can convene at your house and avail themselves of your skills and contacts to take that message to young people who have been so lost.
Women in the World recognizes Mothers of Invention. Speaking of that, which woman has been the biggest influence on your life? TB: All these women I bring to Women in the World have been an influence on me. Today, [Lava Mae founder] Doniece Sandoval’s the one who inspired me the most because I thought it was so inventive of her to see a problem most of us walk past. She doesn’t ask herself, "How can I fix the world?" She thinks, "What is something I can do?" She takes one small thing, maybe, but a big thing to someone’s life, and that’s what’s inspiring, actually—the everyday, intimate thing that can make a huge difference to someone’s life.
At Michigan Avenue, we’re celebrating women of influence. How do you define "influence?" TB: Influence is about having a voice people hear; influence is about leading a conversation rather than following it. It’s about deciding, "I think this is important," and making it important. That’s the difference between someone who is just a follower, and a woman who can change the game by saying, "This is important because I’m saying it's important." That’s a fantastic gift to have so that you can actually put something on the agenda.
I saw so many women here today of different ages. Knowing what you know now, if you could go back and tell yourself something, what would it be? TB: "Understand who you’re in business with and value the people who help you make it work." Know what is making you succeed, and nurture that very hard.