More Ugly HR Women on TV, Please


I walked onto the lot at NBCUniversal, last week, and told a bunch of talent executives that I want more ugly but qualified women on TV — especially on the financial news channels.

Sorta. I am not unreasonable. I am willing to accept average-looking women on TV — chicks without perfect hair and brilliant teeth — if it means that we can improve the quality of discussion around work, money, power, and politics. Very simply, I’m sick of taking economic and political advice from pretty women who earn (on average) less than $70,000/year.

And someone at NBCUniversal told me, “I’m sorry, baby, but you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Okay, he didn’t say baby. And he was very nice.

Apparently, the women who appear on his network — from Maria Bartiromo to Imogen Lloyd Webber — are brilliant and talented women who also happen to be beautiful. And forget about the average salary for news anchors posted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These women are well compensated, too.

He said, “I can’t speak for Fox Business News, but we hire for talent and depth.”

And I said, “Yeah, right, must be those trollops at Fox I’m thinking of…”


I know that women on TV can be both smart and beautiful. I would simply argue that for every lovely and talented woman on TV who has impeccable bona fides, there are sixteen fat + bald + ugly dudes on those networks. And just because these men and women worked for investment firms at one point in their careers doesn’t mean they know anything about the stock market or money.

My grandmother took a night job at Dunkin Donuts to earn a little extra money back in 1983. Doesn’t make her a baker.

I told this guy at NBCUniversal that I believe Human Resources professionals and recruiters are the true experts when it comes to work, money, power, and politics. We don’t make it on TV because we wear boring clothes from Dress Barn and have chunky, misaligned highlights from crappy local salons.

Yes, I’m talking about myself.

My goal wasn’t to bag on CNBC or MSNBC — although I won’t miss any opportunity to bag on Fox. My honest goal is to inspire HR professionals to speak to the press, writer letters to the editor, and appear on television to talk about their areas of expertise.

I think HR owns the intersection of work, money, power and politics. We are not just the traffic cops. We are the architects and leaders who build and manage the entire global employment infrastructure. And we aren’t on TV very often because — statistically speaking — many women in my profession are over forty, married, and have a couple of kids. We don’t do pilates, we don’t live in Westchester County, and we don’t ride around in Lincoln town cars; however, we know more about job creation than anyone in America. We spend more time with CEOs than anyone on TV. And we are awesome.

CNBC should get behind us in a big way.

When I see more qualified but dowdy women who look like Ron Insana and Dylan Ratigan and Lou Dobbs on cable news networks, I’ll be happy. Until then, my message won’t change.

HR ladies of all shapes and sizes need to get on TV. Right now. Start simple. Have an opinion. Write that letter to the editor. Speak to local civic organization. Talk to business journalists.

But feel free to nix those chunky highlights. That’s not good for anyone.

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