Women in the workforce, an interview with Fox News host Dana Perino
Inside Sources host, Boyd Matheson sat down with former White House Press Secretary and current Fox News host Dana Perino. They talked about the lessons she’s learned throughout her career in leadership roles and how that can apply to today’s workers and the advice she has for young women in the workplace too.
Hear part one of Boyd’s conversation below. Part two will air today at 2:35 p.m. This article will be updated after that segment airs.
An uncorrected transcript of the conversation follows:
Welcome back to inside sources here on KSL News Radio. I am Boyd Matheson. It’s great to be with you today. And we’re very pleased to be joined now by someone that most of you know already Dana Perino from Fox, we have followed Dana’s career for, from her time in the White House to her important role at Fox has a really vital voice on so many issues and helping us to frame the news of the day in important ways. And Dana, thanks for joining us.
I’m happy to be here. I always love to be visiting Utah.
We like to keep that Wyoming Colorado connection for you just to you know, keep you grounded firmly in the west here.
Indeed! Thank you so much.
One of the things that really struck me we always talk on this program about confidence is never arrogance. And that real confidence comes when you have respect for the challenge and you’re ready for the task. And you have that right humility and perspective. You’ve stood at some pretty intimidating places and spaces behind the podium there in the White House. And you have framed this in a way that I just love. You have said that confidence is kind, generous, and comforting. not arrogant. Where does that come from, from you?
Oh, thank you so much for asking. Um, I think that I really did learn it, you know, growing up, especially with my family on the ranch in Newcastle, Wyoming. And I always loved the quiet, secure bearing of my grandfather. And I liked I would watch how young people from the community and neighboring ranches would come to him for advice and support and help. And he was also very good at vaccinating the livestock. So I wouldn’t say it was like the county vet or anything like that, and nothing official. But it was a really a place where you help each other out. And one of the worst things you could ever do in my circles when I was growing up was to think that you were better than somebody else. And that was very, very much frowned upon. I mean, and I think that that can go, that can also go a little bit too far. Right?
Where maybe you’re afraid to step up at times. But I think I found a pretty healthy balance. And it’s also just the way that I want to live. I think I’ve decided that living in a place of, where there is peace and serenity and productivity. All together. Where, of course, I want to be liked as well. But I also want to be respected. I think that all comes through. And also you know, the other thing I write about is becoming a better active listener. I think that if you watch especially young people today, they’re so anxious to tell you what they think. And they are interrupting constantly that I was thinking about some of the wisest people that I know. And somebody came to mind. The late Charles Krauthammer Oh, yeah. He was such a wonderful communicator, right, a terrific, persuasive person. But how did he do that? And I was thinking back and imagining him and I remember, he used to listen, very intently and actively. And also because you know, he was in the wheelchair because of the accident that had happened when he was in his early 20s. He had to focus. So I put your phone down on your hands. And I think that helps you become a little bit more confident because then you’re actually paying attention and not trying to fake it.
I love that. It’s one of the lessons I learned that when I was Chief of Staff for Senator Lee, you know, his dad, Rex Lee was Solicitor General, you know, presented in front of the Supreme Court, which is known for this great oratory. But I went back in every, every picture that’s significant of Rex Lee was always of him listening, listening to President Reagan listening to some of that even the statute.
Wow, what an interesting exercise.
Yeah, even the statute they have honoring him at BYU is he’s in a listening pose. He’s in his tails, you know, for before the Supreme Court, but that listening is, is so vital. And as you said, Dana, it does give you that listening gives you the confidence to stand in some pretty tough spaces, your new book, which the title alone, I just fell in love with ‘Everything Will Be Okay.’ And the subtitle life lessons for young women from a former young woman, which I love, but I want to go through a couple of key lessons I think that you experienced. And I think a lot of this comes from that definition of confidence that you have you you stepped into a really challenging spot you you followed not just a long line of press secretaries. You were the second woman, but you followed Tony Snow, a bigger than life figure. And so tell us about what gave you the confidence stepping into that role at that particular point in time in the Bush Administration?
Well, I think a couple of things one, I had been a deputy for quite a long time. And I was very happy to be behind the scenes, like I did not seek to be in front of a camera. I loved helping when nobody can see me. And then when, Tony Snow, because he was one, a generous colleague and a generous boss, like he used to not worry about time with a boss. And I think a lot of people can sometimes get into this mode of thinking that it might diminish them in the eyes of the CEO, or the president or the leader of the organization, if they’re that not the ones that are in every meeting and staffing every trip, and Tony Snow absolutely did not feel that way at all. You know, he was very happy to have me, brief the President attend the meeting, manage the staff. And so I as kind of put into this position of doing all of these things except for the briefings. And I know he would have me brief as well. But as far as doing all the other parts of the job. And then when they wanted to make me press secretary, I’ll never forget that Tony Snow came to me the day he was leaving. And he said, how you doing? It’s like, well, not very good, because how am I supposed to do this? And I was upset. And he made me stand up. And I’m five feet tall, and he’s six.. He was 6’4″ maybe 6′ 5″. And he put his hands on my shoulders. And he said, “You are better at this than you think you are.” And I [uninteligable]. And he made me look at him in the eyes he was like, “You are. Well, about two weeks later. I’ve been doing the briefings managing the things that life was chaotic. It was crazy. But I was doing it, it’s fine. And then on a Friday, I was supposed to go to the briefing, but I got called into the Chief of Staff’s office. So I didn’t have my notes with me at all my big binder with me. And so I went on my I just went with this one piece of paper with some scribbles that I’d written down from the Chief of Staff’s office. And you know, Boyd, I had the best briefing I’d had to date. And when I was thinking about it later that day, I always clean up my desk before I leave for the day. And I realized, Oh, that’s what Tony meant. That I don’t have to be like him. I could be myself. And that that would be enough.
Yeah, that’s such a great lesson. And so many great lessons in there, the fact that the that Tony, was not trying to control the flow of information, not trying to manage up to the boss, but gave everybody an empowered everyone to be in that space. That’s a big lesson, I’m gonna have to have you come back to talk about this cleaning your desk at the end of the day. I have not done that one. But I want to go to something in your book that connects to that conversation with Tony. And that is that transition from being a staffer to being the boss and stepping up?
Yeah, so I write about that, too. Because I felt like in my first book, I really gave advice for how you could improve your day to day work experience with a better management, time management, better writing skills and things like that. And then I realized that there really wasn’t a modern how to guide for young people for going from first or second job into that stepping into a role that they all want, which is a management role or a leadership role, and figuring out a way to be chosen for that position, or in a very competitive environment now. Yeah. And also add to the fact that many businesses are changing in regards to COVID. Right, and working from home is now you know, that was supposed to be temporary, and now we’re living at work. And for young people, you think, well, how are you going to get ahead if you can never see the boss? And I have some advice for that, too, about keeping visible and accepting assignments that nobody else wants. And I think that some people Boyd are getting very obsessed with his work-life balance question. And I’m for time off, I’m for rehabilitation and things but there are times in your life, there’ll be times in your career when you got to step on the gas. And that might mean getting up earlier or staying later or working on a Saturday or a Sunday, while you climb up to where you want to be and it won’t always be that way.
That’s my interview today with Dana Perino from Fox, and you’re talking about that idea of this seasonal approach of there’s a time to have a season to step on the gas to really go for it to work the extra hours in the weekends. But to make sure that that doesn’t become the habit or the pattern. Part Two of my interview with Dana Perino we’re gonna hear that tomorrow at this same time, so stick around and stick with us tomorrow. She has great advice, especially for young women and women in the workforce and some great strategies there so you don’t want to miss it to Dana Perino. Well, we’ll have part two of my interview with Dana coming up tomorrow at the same time, 2:35 here on Inside Sources.
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