November 26, 2014  

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Meeting Former Secretary of State Ranks High on List

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I spent 15 years as a working journalist. Some of that time as Mississippi’s first female television sportscaster and the rest spent covering news in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and the Laurel/Hattiesburg area.

During that time I was lucky enough to meet and/or interview some big names including Mother Teresa, Dr. Jonas Salk who invented the polio vaccine, opera superstar Leontyne Price, Super Bowl MVP Jim Plunkett, Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers, Baseball Hall of Fame member Phil Niekro, plus WNBA player and Olympic gold medal winner Ruthie Bolton … just to drop a few names.

During the political portion of my career I met/worked with/interviewed Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and George H.W. Bush, plus a host of senators members of congress and cabinet members. Since coming to work at Southern Miss in January I’ve met Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Katie Couric, Dan Rather and the man I call the “Great American Philosopher,” Jimmy Buffett.

Last night was a true first for me. I got to meet former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright … the first female secretary of state and at one time the highest ranking female in U.S. government. As a woman who came of age in the early 70’s the chance to meet a woman who has achieved so much and given even more was quite a memorable moment. To know the places she has been, the people she has met, the secrets she has kept and the deals she has brokered is to see a snapshot of a portion of our history.

As women beginning our careers in the early 70s we were just beginning to believe we could have – if we wanted – meaningful careers, hold high positions and make contributions to the world. We heard it and she proved it.

Albright told me a cute story which really illustrated how far women have come. She said last year her then 7-year-old granddaughter asked her mother: “What’s the big deal with grandma Maddie being secretary of state? All the secretaries of state are girls.” In her short time on earth she’s heard of Albright, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton. What a refreshing point of view!