Fall 2013’s First Women To. . .

THE MUSESI received the lovely grace of being able to spend the fall in Southern Europe. I enjoyed the quality of life and the freedom from the usual daily responsibilities, but I missed out on being in touch with the news from the United States. When I returned to a pile of magazines and newspapers that I had not read, I began to plow through them and discovered that there had been several firsts for women of which I had been unaware:

**In September, Nancy Gibbs, a best-selling author and essayist who comments on politics and values in the United States, became the first woman to hold the position of Managing Editor at Time magazine.

** Mylène Paquette of Montreal was the first women to row a one-person boat across the North Atlantic. Literally, this one doesn’t fit my listing of first women from the United States, but Time magazine said she was the “first North American woman to” and that certainly makes her American:

**Janet Napolitano has already appeared in the daily Women of Note twice: on November 6th, as the first woman governor to succeed another woman governor and on November 29th, her birthday, as the first Secretary of Homeland Security. Now she has another distinction: the first woman to head the University of California’s 10-campus system.

**Susan Westerberg Prager is the first dean and chief executive of Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. Earlier in her career she was the first woman to hold the position of dean of the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law.

**Three women share the “First Woman To. . .” honors for being the first to pass the Marine Corps’ combat training course: Pfcs Julia Carroll, Christina Fuentes Montenegro and Katie Gorz.

***And now, Mary Barra has been named the first female CEO of General Motors. She is the first CEO of any major auto company and General Motors is now the biggest company in America headed by a woman.

***Janet Yellen still waits in the wings for Senate confirmation of her appointment to chief of the Federal Reserve. The word is her appointment will be approved before the end of the year. At that time she joins Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, as one of the two most powerful economic leaders in the free world.

If you know of any more firsts from the fall of 2013, please add them here, by clicking on the comments section.

Dee Dee Myers – Press Secretary for the President of the United States

          I remember seeing Dee Dee Myers in a documentary-style episode of West Wing, and so I was not surprised to learn that she has said, “Never take it personally—and never lose your sense of humor.”

Screen Shot 2013-08-24 at 7.32.46 AM          Dee Dee Myers’ career has melded communications skills with politics. After graduating from Santa Clara University, she jumped into the political fray and worked on Walter Mondale’s presidential campaign in 1984. She became a field representative for California state senator Art Torres and an assistant press secretary to Tom Bradley, mayor of Los Angeles. In 1986 she worked on Bradley’s campaign for governor. When Michael Dukakis ran for president, she was his spokesperson. After he lost, she was spokesperson for Dianne Feinstein’s 1990 attempt to become governor of California. Then she was campaign manager for Frank Jordan, when he ran for mayor of San Francisco.

Her extensive experience with campaigns led to her position as national press secretary for Bill Clinton’s campaign for president, even though she was only thirty years old. This time the presidential candidate she supported won! When Clinton entered the presidency she was named White House Press Secretary, the first woman and second youngest person to ever hold the job.

After leaving her position, she became a political analyst and commentator. She co-hosted “Equal Time,” serving as counterpoint to conservative Mary Matalin, and  she served as a consultant to the seven-season drama The West Wing.  She writes for The New York Times, Time, O, Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, Politico, and the Los Angeles Times and is also a contributing editor about political issues to Vanity Fair. Myers lectures on politics, the media and women’s issues, and is a managing director of The Glover Park Group, an independent communications company. In her spare time she wrote a best-seller, Why Women Should Rule the World.

And she does rule. In 1997 she was on Celebrity Jeopardy! with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Jesse Jackson, Jr. And She Won!

LEARN MORE:

Read an Interview with Dee Dee Myers: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/interview/clinton-myers/

Find more information about her book at: http://www.deedeemyers.org

Check her out on Twitter: @deemyers

QUESTION OF THE WEEK:

Dee Dee Myers argues that it is in our self-interest to include women in corporations and politics because, not only is it fair, but the world will be more profitable. Do you share this view?