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         This issue of Washington Women is presented by
            Reznick Group: "Building Business Value"

By Karin Tanabe for Bisnow on Business

We were on hand yesterday as Katie Couric accepted the Sewall-
Belmont House & Museum‟s Alice Award (named for Suffragist
Alice Paul), for “breaking barriers” on behalf of women. The Capital
Hill site devoted to the history of the women‟s rights movement
made an apt locale for Couric to tell a crowd of 250 of her own rise
to the top, which she assured was not meteoric. She recalled a
meeting early in her career in which a businessman said, “Katie‟s
successful because she‟s hard-working, industrious, and because
of her breast size.” Explained Couric: “That was before executives
discovered that harass was not two words.”
As an assignment editor at CNN, the Arlington native received a
call from the network president saying he never wanted to see her
again. “He was the first in a long line of naysayers who miraculously
discovered me when I was a success,” Couric said. Her recognition
came after four years in Florida mastering a day-to-day deadline,
after which she came home to work with WRC-TV (NBC 4). Her
coverage of Marion Barry drew the attention of Tim Russert, who
asked Couric if she‟d like to serve as Deputy Pentagon
Correspondent for NBC. It was 1989 and the Persian Gulf War
became her “journalistic battleground.” She moved to NBC on April
4th, 1991. “I was 4 months pregnant with my daughter Ellie. I woke
up, threw up, and went to work.”
Couric and friend Laurie Powers. Couric is active in the fight
against colon cancer. Her husband, Jay Monahan, died of the
disease in 1998 at the age of 42. “When I grow up, I want to be just
like Katie,” says Powers. I support her in everything she does. My
father also died of colon cancer.”

Couric stayed with NBC until 2006 and spoke nostalgically about
her stay there. “Who else can say that they interviewed Howard
Stern and Yasser Arafat on the same day? But when first female
solo-anchor on CBS came up, I had to give it a try. It‟s been two
years full of challenges, but like Eleanor Roosevelt said, „women
are like teabags, you never know how strong they are until you put
them in hot water.‟”
To Couric, one such woman is Hillary Clinton. Couric spoke
resolutely about the coverage the former first lady received in her
presidential campaign. “I believe that Senator Clinton received
some of the most unbalanced coverage I‟ve ever seen. Seemingly
objective journalists mocked Hillary the nutcracker. A female anchor
said she looked 92 and would scare away independent voters. I‟m
concerned about the increasing misogyny and the objectification of
Even in 101 degree heat, Couric finds the energy for a laugh. Her
parents and friends, including the afternoon’s emcee WRC’s
Barbara Harrison, came out to honor her.

For the Washington crowd, Couric stayed on the matter of politics.
When asked “What book besides the Bible will you bring to the
White House?” by Couric, McCain answered Wealth of Nations by
Adam Smith, to which Couric pointed out he would need it based
on the current economy. Obama said he would bring Doris Kearns
Goodwin's Team of Rivals. Couric didn‟t mention what tome she
might tote along from CBS if the rumors of a departure before her
contract expires in 2011 are true. But based on the outpouring of
affection from yesterday‟s crowd, Couric‟s team of rivals were
nowhere to be found.

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