Women have been working in the communications field for over a century. From Nellie Bly and Ida B. Wells to Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Barbara Walters, females have worked diligently to dominate the communications world. Many women, especially women of color, have worked against the wind and fought to work in public relations, film and journalism. While there are countless women who have made strides in the communications industry, these five women have beat the odds and accomplished goals some can only dream of.
1. Robin Roberts
Robin Roberts is currently an anchor on ABC’s Good Morning America show. Roberts graduated cum laude from Southeastern Louisiana University with a B.A. in Communications. Roberts spent her four years on the university’s basketball team and became their third all-time leading scorer and rebounder. She began her career in broadcasting as a sports anchor and reporter in Mississippi and Tennessee, and began working as a sportscaster for ESPN in the 90’s. A few years later, she began working as a news anchor with Good Morning America and is now a co-anchor on the show. Roberts has beat breast cancer and a bone marrow disease all while continuing her work with ABC. Furthermore, she is openly in a long-term relationship with a woman and has voiced her support many times for the LGBTQ+ community. Roberts is the only co-anchor that’s a person of color, as well as openly gay. She’s fought adversity in her personal life but has never let it affect her professional life–she’s the real MVP.
2. Dee Dee Myers
Dee Dee Myers was the first female Press Secretary of the United States, and was the second-youngest person to ever hold the position. A California native, she graduated from Santa Clara University in 1983. She began her career working on Walter Mondale’s presidential campaign, and later went on to work as assistant press secretary to a Los Angeles mayor, as well as a spokesperson for presidential and gubernatorial campaigns in the late 80’s and early 90’s. She joined President Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992 and was his first press secretary for a little over a year. She held a reputation for making humorous one-liners in her daily press briefings. Along with being a political analyst and commentator, she authored the New York Times bestseller Why Women Should Rule The World in 2008. She is currently working in Washington, D.C., as the director of public affairs at The Glover Park Group. Myers is a prime example of a successful woman in the communications field–and she knows it. She’s worked quite hard to get where she is now and entices other women to strive for the best as well.
3. Diablo Cody
Diablo Cody (better known as Brook Busey) is best known for penning the screenplay to popular indie film, Juno. Her alma mater is the University of Iowa, where she graduated with a degree in media studies. A few years upon her graduation, Cody became a “feminist stripper“: someone who doesn’t identify with the stripping stereotypes but enjoys asserting their power with sex-positive stripping. Juno was Cody’s first screenplay and one of her most successful; she won an Academy Award and a BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay, as well as an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. Cody’s story is unusual, but it shows that just about anyone can be successful in communications if they set their mind to it. Cody began her writing career by penning her experiences as a stripper–who knew stripping could lead to multi-industry success? She’s the definition of ‘bad ass’ and is unapologetically herself, which something that we all can apply to our daily lives.
4. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is the ultimate career goal. Winfrey faced many hardships growing up; from being raised by a single mother, to being raped at age nine, to becoming pregnant and 14 and losing her child. She began her career in radio, where she co-anchored the news while she was still a high school student. She then began working on a Chicago talk show, where many believe that she changed the tabloid talk show genre. She attended Tennessee State University and began working with local radio, becoming the youngest news anchor and the first black female for one of Nashville’s most popular radio station. Today, Oprah is one of the richest African-Americans, the only black billionaire in America and the greatest black philanthropist of American history. Winfrey is the poster child of the “come up” story, proving that just about anyone from just about anywhere, could be successful. She has broken down dozens of racial stereotypes and has turned walls into doors for black females in communication, so her success really is an inspiration to us all.
5. Sofia Coppola
Sofia Coppola is an American film director and screenwriter, best known for her works Lost in Translation and The Virgin Suicides. While many criticize Coppola for using her father, director Francis Ford Coppola, to break into the industry, she has worked hard to prove her own worth. She began acting in her father’s movies, but wasn’t a fan on being in front of the lens. Coppola’s first film, The Virgin Suicides, premiered at the 2000 Sundance FIlm Festival and gave her the independence she needed to start her career. In 2003, Lost in Translation was released, which earned Coppola her first Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, as well as three Golden Globes, including Best Picture Musical or Comedy. She was the third female director to be nominated for Best Director and the second to win Best Original Screenplay. Many attribute her nominations at the Academy Award to prompting the Academy to allow more women nominated. Admittedly, Coppola was able to enter the film industry easily due to her connections, but that shouldn’t overshadow the strides she’s made for women in film.