Queen Latifah, Mary J Blige, Gloria Steinem and more spill their secrets on how to be successful women

Queen Latifah was honored  at the Matrix Awards for her work as a women in communication. The award was presented to her by singer Mary J Blige.
Queen Latifah was honored at the Matrix Awards for her work as a woman in communication. The award was presented to her by singer Mary J Blige./Credit: Maryanne Russell Photography

Some of the most successful women in the field of communications gave us their best advice for making it in the industry at the 2014 Matrix Awards, held last week in New York City.

Queen Latifah
Musician, actress and TV host

Did you overcome any struggles in your career because you are a woman?
I know for sure that there were obstacles I had to overcome being a female in hip-hop. No. 1: It was a male-dominated field, so I had to make a name for myself as a woman in hip-hop. And even then the record labels wouldn’t spend as much money on marketing female rappers as they did on male rappers, so that was another hurdle we had to overcome. It really just made me want to create my own company and not have to work for anyone and be my own boss. I was fortunate to partner with a male, a guy who is the right side of my body. If you see him, you basically see me too. We respected each other’s dreams and goals and supported each other. It should never be an anti-guy thing, but we have to, as women, be pro-woman.

Jane Mayer
Journalist for “The New Yorker”

What advice can you give to women who want to succeed in their careers?
Try to define it the way you want it to be. Don’t take no for an answer. Look for work you love and then try to shape it the way you want it to be. It takes a lot of pushing back sometimes. But when my daughter was really little, I managed to work part-time by just kicking and screaming and just saying I needed to spend some time with her. And I really am glad I did that, and yet I wouldn’t give up my job at the same time. So I just say: Fight really hard for what you want. Define it in your own mind and then fight for it.

What advice were you given that you found useful?
Back in the ’80s — the dark old days — there was a bunch of young women who got together and the advice we were given was: Nice is a vice. We were told to be a little tougher. But there was also some good advice I didn’t listen to. I wished I would have known when they told me that the high heels would hurt my feet when I got older. Because they really do!

Mary J. Blige
Singer

What advice can you give to women who want to succeed in their careers?
I would definitely say that you have to believe in yourself. And you have to believe in yourself more than anyone else does. Don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself about what you can and can’t do. It will work for you at the end of the day. The self-love thing is not cliche. It’s real! If you don’t have it, you will not survive.

Dyllan McGee
Founder and executive producer of “MAKERS: Women Who Make America”

What advice were you given that you found useful?
Don’t give up! “MAKERS” is a perfect example of that. Gloria [Steinem] said no, she didn’t want the story of the women’s movement to be told through one person, so I had to rework it. And then lo and behold, we finally got a yes.

Did you have any struggles to overcome in your career because you are a woman?
I think the biggest struggle I had to overcome was myself, knowing that I had a voice. I was afraid. Did my opinion matter? It took me some successes in my career to have that confidence — and I could have saved a lot of years in my career if I had spoken up 10 years ago.

Gloria Steinem
Journalist and activist

What advice were you given that you found useful?
I guess it comes under the general heading of “Do it anyway.” You’re not supposed to go to India by yourself at age 22 when you don’t know anybody there, but do it anyway. You’re not supposed t have your own byline or write a particular kind of piece, but do it anyway.

Do you think it’s easier or harder for women to be successful in the workplace today than it was when you started out?
It’s much easier. We’ve gone from one token to a minority. But we’re still not 50/50. The people in power have to overcome their prejudices.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…