Each week we present an influential woman whose career and style have inspired the team at Silkarmour to aim higher and dress better.
In the custom of avoiding Fox News like the Daily Mail on this side of the pond, Megyn Kelly, a Fox News presenter, had largely gone unnoticed by us for a while (having watched her past interviews, regrettably so).
That is, until the star of Fox network decided in a very un-Fox manner to question Donald Trump on his record of a medieval attitude towards women at the GOP debate. Since then, she has graced the cover of Vanity Fair (click here to read the excellent profile on her), become the nightly star of every politicians nightmare due to her sharp and ruthless questions, and inspired women on both sides of the pond to speak, and act, fearlessly.
This is not her first time to speak up against a Fox beloved politician or to take an opposing side of a debate. In January 2015, The New York Times dubbed this a ‘Megyn moment’, winning her a fan base which usually shuns the network.
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Megyn majored in Political Science and got her J.D. from Albany Law School in 1995, subsequently pursuing a career in corporate litigation to pay off her mounting student debts (her father had passed away when she was 15, after which the family continually struggled financially). As the first female associate in Bickel & Brewer she was tested for her ability to keep up with the macho culture (she passed and was hired). Following a successful, but demanding, position with Jones Day, she discovered that you can push yourself relentlessly and find professional success, only to end up hating what your life has become.
It was at this point that she decided to change trajectory and pursue her lifelong ambition to work in journalism (ironically her original university application for the program had been rejected).
The career gamble, starting from square one in media, and leaving her lucrative pay as a lawyer, paid off: The Kelly File ranks as the second most-watched program in all of cable news. Whilst many commentators question her future at Fox due to her harsh stance on Trump (with Fox demographics largely supportive of the candidate), there is no question her career at the forefront of journalism has been secured.
As highlighted in her interview with Sheryl Sandberg at the MPW Summit, taking a risky career move has allowed Megyn to exchange her positional power (working a secure job in a respected law firm) for personal power - defining her job, and her success, in her own way.
Likewise, she has had no issues when it comes to salary negotiations: “I always have people telling me, ‘You’re not going to get that much.’ And I’d say to them, ‘I’m going to get that, and more. Because I’m worth it…the smart bet is on me.”
Whatever the outcome of the main presidential elections, our bet is on her too.
Career Golden Nuggets
1. Seize Opportunities
“When the opportunity comes along to grow, seize it. When you see a challenge at the office walk through it. Find your best self, and when you don’t know what to do, ask what the 20-year old plus you would do…and it’s almost like a conscience that will walk you through these tough decisions.”
2. Be Prepared
Spending 10 years as a lawyer taught Megyn Kelly the importance of over-preparation. The only way to 'out-hustle' a lawyer with a Harvard business degree on the other side of the table is by being prepared for anything. She credits this habit of always being prepared for her ability to stay calm before important shows.
3. Do not settle for less
Kelly credits Dr. Phil for giving her the push she needed to leave her job as a lawyer, and her unhappy marriage, taking his message to heart: ‘The only thing between you and someone you envy is that you settled for less’. Never settle for less, not with your career, not with your pay, and not your home-life.