A conversation with two very intelligent, talented, and motivated women took place this morning at the offices of Morgan Lewis in Washington, DC. The ULI Washington Women’s Leadership Institute hosted a group that was happy to get out of their houses after the recent blizzard, and were inspired to greatness when they left the event.
Julie Smith is the Chief Administrative Officer at The Bozzuto Group and Kathleen Matthews is currently running for Congress from the 8th District of Maryland. Kathleen’s two prior careers included a long stint as a journalist and anchor for WJLA TV in Washington and six years as the Global Communications and Public Affairs Officer at Marriott Corporation. From her early days at Stanford University she wanted to do something that made a difference, and she certainly has done that, providing a role model for young women moving through their careers.
Kathleen talked about her career in the news business, and how invigorating it was to be covering and shaping stories about important issues of the day. Her career focused on education, healthcare and equality in the workplace. She had her own nationally syndicated talk show called, “Working Woman” that focused on the challenges of being a woman, working and raising children. Kathleen’s advice to young women was to go for it all, that child rearing seems like an eternity when you are in it, and that the payoff at the “empty nest” stage is positive. She is married to Chris Matthews, a prominent journalist, and talked about how raising their three children was difficult because of juggling schedules and commitments, but that they “powered through” and created independent, motivated children. When asked if her children seek her advice on new endeavors, she said, “not really” because they have the strength to think and act for themselves.
She talked about being one of the first female anchors in local TV, breaking the mold that moved from two white men, to a white man and a black man, to include a woman. She continued her pioneering at Marriott when she was the only woman in the executive team but worked hard to bring more women into management and leadership positions. She discussed the difference between diversity and inclusion. Her message is that having many different types of people represented in an organization is not the same as the deliberate act of welcoming the diversity and creating an environment where all different kinds of people can thrive and succeed, and that she is proud that during her time at Marriott the company moved towards full inclusion.
Kathleen finally addressed the priorities she would focus on in Congress which include gun control, environmental concerns, and legislation to benefit working families and women. Kathleen believes that more women in Congress may work to create a more civil discourse and lead to more getting done on the Hill.