Natalie Gutierrez | Staff Writer
FIU’s Kopenhaver Center will host a webinar on female empowerment and leadership success in the workplace this afternoon from 1 to 2.
The convener of the event, Michelle Marchante, will moderate the Q&A-style discussion. Marchante, an FIU alumnus, is a health reporter at The Miami Herald and was also editor-in-chief of PantherNOW from 2018 to 2019.
She began working for The Herald in 2019, starting off as a breaking news and real-time reporter. At present, she specializes in health-related issues in South Florida, including but not limited to the COVID-19 virus, hospitals, and abortion.
“I love coming back because I enjoyed my time at FIU. This is really where I learned everything… it was the stepping stone I needed for my career at The Herald. Any time I go back, I participate in Journalism Day and if I get the chance to speak to students or help out, I end up doing it,” said Marchante.
“Everyone in journalism has different experiences, and we have to reflect the community that we are serving. That way, you can have a different outlook on what to pursue.”
With a focus on Women’s History Month, this is a particularly special event that underscores the importance of amplifying women’s voices.
“I think this is a good opportunity to link this event to this month and have these discussions,” Marchante said. “You do not have to be in a leadership position to have a voice at the table. It is important to learn about tips and ways to make yourself feel included. A good workplace should give you that.”
Keynote speaker Betsy Korona serves as the Senior Vice President of Editorial Newsgathering at NBC News and MSNBC. She aimed to help attendees understand the power that comes with not only finding and developing one’s voice but also making sure it is heard.
“Korona will be talking about how she got there, what it is like to be in a leadership position, as well as the importance of making sure you have a voice at the table. The Kopenhaver Center has a history of hosting events that focus on empowering women since they are heavy on that,” said Marchante.
The keynote speaker opened the discussion by recognizing the benefit of holding this event at the end of Women’s History Month.
“My goal is to give some real, practical advice on how to use your voice to better the world around you,” said Korona during the event.
“I value hard working women, women in leadership positions, and women in journalism. In journalism, we are quite often giving voice by sharing people’s stories.”
Korona presented a slideshow on building one’s voice and understanding “the power of the mic.” She also touched on her childhood dreams, sources of inspiration, and experience in the journalism field.
“Don’t feel like you have to know the perfect message. Remember that ‘with great power comes great responsibility’, so make sure your message represents your brand and who you want to be,” said Korona.
After the presentation, Korona answered audience questions related to self-confidence, mentorship, and allyship. “My first suggestion is to ask to be part of a formal mentorship program at your organization. If there is someone you have in mind, seek them out. Find someone who is willing to go to bat for you.”
“You always have a voice and you’re [always] building your brand. Personally, I really do encourage people to consider their online footprint. Think about what you’re posting and how you’re posting.”
More importantly, Korona explained that those in the beginning stages of their career do not have to fade into the background.
“Even in those limited moments and even when you are an intern, you have a perspective that a newsroom needs. You’re seeing a news story from a different angle, so make sure that you step in,” said Korona.
“We’ve all been in many rooms where we don’t feel valued and we don’t feel heard. I think that can be incredibly frustrating, but some of it is patience. Keep trying because you will find rooms where people will listen to you… And find someone who will elevate your voice and be an ally.”
You can learn more about these events by visiting the Kopenhaver Center website.