The Morning Joe co-hosts talk about empowering women, 2016 presidential politics, ISIS, and their favorite bands.
By Jacob Engels
On Friday, Morning Joe co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough were in Orlando for NBCUniversal’s “Know Your Value” tour that aims at empowering women. Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart and a host of other celebrities were also in attendance for the event which featured several panels and breakaway sessions focused on educating women on how to improve their negotiating talents and realizing their worth and value.
The Know Your Value tour is being held nationwide and take a lot of the tools and stories Mika shared in her book “Knowing Your Value,” which was released 4 years ago and became an instant NYT best-seller.
Our interview with Mika and Joe is below!
You both have a great chemistry on Morning Joe. What was it about the mission of the Know Your Value project made you both want to dedicate yourselves to empowering women?
Mika – The role-playing and levity we portray on Morning Joe was something that I wanted to bring to the Know Your Value tour. I asked Joe to join me because I think our chemistry and friendship helps us tell a story of why women do what they do. Why we apologize our way into the room, play the victim, trying to act like a guy.
Joe plays the perfect comparison to the way I handle things and his approach helps draw attention to the differences men and women have in the workplace, negotiating, and standing up for themselves.
Joe – You know when we were negotiating our contracts, I negotiated a very hard deal and good deal for myself. Unfortunately Mika didn’t. That is what I hope to help Mika and other women accomplish through this. If a guy does not get the deal he wants, more often than not he will just walk out.
Mika has made a good point that women often feel “happy to be there” and are afraid to drive that bargain. Being liked and popular in your business or work setting is not more important than knowing your value and standing up for yourself.
One of the more important stories we share is how at one point I was being paid 14 times what Mika was being paid and how she made that journey to getting paid what she was worth and deserved.
With Hillary and Carly Fiorina raising the issues of equality for women, Jennifer Lawrence being vocal about equal pay… was this the right time to focus on helping women know their value?
Mika – I think it is interesting to watch people react to Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina. This is not just about it being a good time… because this is the issue of our time. With Jennifer Lawrence speaking out about women getting paid equal to their male counterparts in the entertainment industry and the Sony leak have brought up issues that I and many others have been raising for years.
We have broken through those glass ceilings and have made it it, yet we are still so dramatically underpaid. The result of this problem is very damaging on relationships, a companies ability to retain female talent, and then of course the negative perception.
Carly Fiorina is incredible and such a great example of how the media and society digest things differently when they come from a women. Her debate performances have been empowering and incredible – yet we hear that she is shrill, shrewd. She is tough and has been through so much.
Joe – It is so much fun observing Mika watch these Republican debates because she gets so excited when Carly Fiorina is speaking. Carly is precise, tough, and on point. When you look at her in comparison to the others on the debate stage, she really has it together.
Mika is still coming to terms with the fact that Carly is a Republican and she herself is a Democrat.
What would you say to our country and leaders about the crisis in Paris, the Syrian refugees, and ISIS. Is there a right or wrong answer on how we handle this?
Mika – If I had the solution I would be running for president. This is not a good situation because of bad policies we currently have in place. I do not have a good feeling about the future.
Joe – We really need strong leadership. I have been disappointed in President Obama for not being more aggressive and assertive. When you have to look at the French president for leadership in America…it’s a big concern.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has made it very clear that ISIS must be destroyed. Hillary Clinton the other day gave a speech before the council of foreign relations calling on ISIS to be contained and destroyed. We are actually starting to get more clarity from everyone else besides the President and Secretary of State. I am hopeful that when he comes back to the discussion, he will have a more clear and stronger message.
He needs to rally the country and brings everyone together. Once we see movement in that direction from President Obama, I think the country will feel much better about the way we are going to handle the Syrian refugee crisis.
Favorite part about being in Orlando, favorite book, band, and TV show?
Best part about being in Orlando – Having my daughter with me and being able to spend time with her is the best part about being in Orlando. We are going to go Universal and have some fun.
Favorite band + book? The Morning Joe Band and Knowing Your Value is my favorite book!
TV Show? I love VEEP on HBO with Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Obsessed with her. Watch her and then watch Hillary Clinton – tell me if you see a difference? I’m convinced she studied up on her and adopted her mannerisms.
Best part about being in Orlando – You know, it’s the same for me. After having watched the 7 Harry Potter films about 17 times a piece with my kids, I’m really looking forward to being able to experience the Harry Potter attractions at Universal.
Favorite band + book? The Beatles, Radiohead, Wilco. Currently I am reading John Meacham’s book on George H.W. Bush. He always does a great job.
TV Show? Homeland, VEEP, and Silicone Valley when it comes book. I think Mika is right about Dreyfus going to school on Hillary Clinton. Maybe she spent some time with her like Kevin Spacey did with House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy to prepare for his role as Frank Underwood.
Learn more about the mission behind Know Your Value by clicking here.
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at email@example.com