Q&A: Mika Brzezinski's Advice for Women (Stop Apologizing)

Kristin Detterline | May 13, 2015 | People The Latest National

"Morning Joe" host Mika Brzezinski tells us how she turned her bestselling book, Knowing Your Value, into a live tour.

Mika Brzezinski.

Fans of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” know that each show ends with the informal—and often humorous—segment “What, If Anything, Did We Learn Today.” Hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, along with special guests and co-hosts, do a lightning round of their favorite news items of the day. The takeaways range from complicated foreign affairs matters to splashy sports headlines.

So just what will we learn when Brzezinski brings her multi-city Know Your Value Tour to Chicago on September 25? For starters, invaluable career insights from some of the most recognizable names in news, politics, business, and fashion—plus discussions on topics ranging from personal style to the “having it all” mentality.

We caught up with Brzezinski before the tour to talk about equal pay, her typical day, and her penchant for scarves.

Why did you decide to bring your bestselling book Knowing Your Value to life with a tour?
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: The response from the book was fierce in the beginning and has just continued over the past few years, wherever I went. I noticed that women from all walks of life and all levels of their career came up to me and said the same thing: I read your book and I got a raise. I’m talking about negotiations of salaries over a million dollars to salaries that are $30,000 or $40,000. So I knew there was a message there [in the book] and women were hungry for it. It’s a message that’s aspirational yet attainable. So the natural next step was to partner with NBC and take it on the road and do it in a big way.

Are there really commonalities between the woman who is negotiating a million dollar salary to the woman negotiating $40,000?
Women have cracked the glass ceiling and made it to top levels despite ourselves. During the conferences you will hear from women who have made it to the top of their career and struggled with the same demons. One of those demons is we apologize too much. Why do we apologize our way into a conversation? Why would we start a negotiation that way? You would not believe how many high-level women have done that. We can learn a lot from men about negotiating salaries—and men will be involved in the Know Your Value Tour also.

Tell us about your own experiences with knowing your value.
Knowing your value is also about knowing when your personal stock is up or down. When I was fired from CBS, I couldn’t find a job for a year. I knew that my stock was way down. But I readjusted and I begged for a job from MSNBC and got a part-time, freelance job with terrible hours. But I was lucky to get that job. It’s easy to know when your stock is down. Women have a hard time recognizing when our stock is up.

What’s a typical day like for you?
I’m up at 3:30 a.m. every day, go to hair and makeup, and then we go live and unscripted at 6 a.m. After the show there are planning meetings or I’m working on something with the conferences and then I may have events in the evenings. I also have a new book coming out in May, Grow Your Value: Overcoming Roadblocks to Women’s Success. Typically I work an 18-hour day.

Colorful scarves are your style trademark on “Morning Joe.” Will you be packing them to go on tour?
[Laughs.] Of course.

Last question. Any Chicago favorites?
I love RL restaurant where Oprah joined us for our live show.

The Know Your Value Tour comes to the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile on September 25. Purchase tickets here.



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