To call it a once-in-a-lifetime experience wouldn’t do the trick either.
Spending the day with Gloria Steinem is almost too big for words and even harder to capture on paper.
And perhaps that’s the beauty of this legend, this indefatigable champion…this enigmatic force. Hearing Steinem speak at the YWCA luncheon was magical (and to witness a crowd of some 850 people give her a standing ovation before she even opened her mouth was epic!) but to then have the honor of sitting right next to her in our Earth2World studio, conducting the 1-on-1 interview with a small audience on board…well, suffice it to say: it was the most impactful moment in my 30+ years in the broadcast business. And what struck me the most was not how wicked smart she is….how fiercely devoted she is and will always be to the women’s movement…or how she remains involved in the battle with tireless dedication. Yes, those elements of Gloria Steinem were evident every time she eloquently made a point or touched on an issue. But what really touched me about this brilliant, brave, and courageous woman was how deeply engaged and genuinely approachable she was. Steinem made it a point to make sure that we had set enough time aside for the studio audience to ask questions because, as she said, ‘I want to learn from all of you, I want to hear your stories.’ And she meant it. Boy, did she mean it.
Every question was met with respect, dignity, and a thoughtful answer after reflective consideration and deliberation. Every single one. You could just feel this undeniable connection, collaboration and energy in that room---activism at work. Activism, compliments of the Gloria Steinem effect.
Over the course of an hour, she had us laughing, furiously writing down some of her thoughts and musings, and feeling valued and included. Valued and included. Gloria Steinem has not forgotten the value of being human. This icon (a label which she pooh-poohs; ‘I don’t like labels’) left a deeply personal touch on me that I will never forget and will always treasure and draw from. In this world of chest-beating, ‘look at me’ theatrics, here is one of the most revered, relevant, ground-breaking Americans of all time…generously giving of herself, her time, and her energy. Witnessing that interaction between Gloria and the Earth2World studio audience was pure magic.
And my dream day was just getting started
Steinem graciously agreed to have dinner with a few of us from Earth2World and the YWCA and then I got to take her to the airport! There we were, just the two of us, heading to PDX. Casually chatting as if we’d been friends for years! I pulled up to the curb, dropped her off, thanked her and nearly died when she gave me a hug. Too good.
I couldn’t wait to get home to tell you about my favorite Gloria Steinem moment and now I would love to hear yours. Click on this link for a rare opportunity to check out the 'unedited' version of my interview with Gloria.