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

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.


Dogs are capable of feeling jealousy - U.S.…

By Curtis Skinner(Reuters) - Dogs are a man's best friend, and research released on Wednesday says canines want to keep it that way.Dogs are capable…


G train riders brace for five-week shutdown

G train service will be suspended between Brooklyn and Queens between Friday, July 25, and Tuesday, Sept. 2.


Peaches Geldof's death was drugs-related, coroner rules

LONDON (Reuters) - The death of Peaches Geldof, the daughter of musician and Band Aid founder Bob Geldof, was drugs-related, a coroner ruled on Wednesday.The…


Family, supporters gather in Brooklyn for Eric Garner…

Family members gathered on Wednesday for the funeral of Eric Garner, who died shortly after police put him in a banned chokehold as they arrested him.

Going Out

Where to go drinking on National Tequila Day…

Thursday is just close enough to the end of the week to make you envision yourself already sunning on a beach towel or lounging by…

Going Out

Things to do in NYC this week: July…

Performing arts A 70’s Summer Night Friday, 6:30 p.m. The Green Building 452 Union St., Gowanus $35, 347-529-6473 Party like it’s summer in the 1970s…

Going Out

5 must-try dishes at Edible Manhattan's Good Beer

Rooting out the exotic amid the New York City bar scene is noble quest. But if you’d like to have it all come to you,…


Art imitates life (almost) in David Shapiro's new…

David Shapiro talks about his book, "You're Not Much Use To Anyone."


Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.


Brandon McCarthy finds his calling on Twitter

Yankees starter Brandon McCarthy joined Twitter three year ago for the same reason many people do: to get news quickly.


NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…


Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running…

Fantasy football: Johnny Manziel could give your running game a boost


Recharge with a post-workout smoothie from Nicky Hilton

Some people can roll out of bed right as their alarm goes off. And that alarm isn’t set for 20 minutes before they have to…


Colleges are increasingly embracing the concept of gender-neutral…

  Northwestern University recently made headlines after announcing that it would be installing two gender-neutral bathrooms in the university's student center. “These are two gender-open…


How to prepare to interview for your dream…

    Congratulations! You landed a job interview at your dream company! A lot of hard work has gone into determining which companies to apply…


The shirtdress is a summer must-have

  We love throwing on our boyfriend’s shirt and a pair of jeans (no matter how much he grumbles that it’s his turn to wear the…