Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of remarks between Tammy Bruce, Independent Women’s Voice president, and Maria Bartiromo delivered at the 2020 Virtual Awards Celebration.
Tammy Bruce Hi, everyone, and thanks for being here with us. The Barbara K. Olson Woman of Valor Award has been bestowed upon some of the most influential female leaders in the country since 2004. It recognizes extraordinary women who have demonstrated a firm commitment to liberty, limited government, and personal responsibility, and whose work has helped make significant improvements to the lives of women and their loved ones. In that regard, I am honored to present Maria Bartiromo with our 2020 Woman of Valor Award. Maria has had an extraordinary career in journalism – from global market reporting achievements to being the first woman inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame. Her determination and commitment to working in a competitive – and largely male-dominated field – to provide superior financial, trade, and market news is impressive. Her career as a leading journalist for multiple major networks, breaking glass ceilings and showing everyone what women can accomplish, even in the “boys clubs” of financial reporting, is an inspiration to women and young girls everywhere as well. Maria, I’m so glad to have you here with us to accept IWF’s 2020 Woman of Valor Award.
Maria Bartiromo: Oh, my goodness, Tammy, thank you. Thank you so much, Patrick. I’ve got this incredible award right here. This crystal vase, saying the Independent Women’s Forum 2020 Woman of Valor Maria Bartiromo. I am so grateful for this and for this recognition. Wow. I will cherish this so much, Tammy. And I want to thank you, and Amber Schwartz, and everyone at the Independent Women’s Forum for doing what you do, for recognizing leadership, and recognizing women because it goes such a long way in resonating with others so that little girls out there know that there is opportunity and there is a world for them to go and live their dreams and have their own leadership resonating on others. So, I could not be more grateful. I am humbled by this award and this recognition and I want to thank you so much.
Tammy Bruce Well, it’s an honor also to work on a sister network, the same network as you, and yet, even today what we’re doing here, obviously, we were going to be enjoying seeing you in Washington later this month, and it was a big gala. And this is a big gala now, of course, but it has adjusted to the fact that we’re in a very, very unique time. And the other thing, of course, that’s exciting for all of us, but women and girls in particular, is the new access to being able to do this kind of work, especially because of technology. So, we’re able to gather despite this unique dynamic and the crazy world of 2020, but what is also – what I think people have to recognize is your experience. They know you from the networks at Fox News and Fox Business, but your history is remarkable, and it allows you to speak to the surprises that occur in our lives, as we’ve all experienced this year from different presidencies, different fields of work, if you will. Different things happening in life, from terrorist attacks to economic upheaval. Can you tell us the real value of that and how it informs your work and how you see what’s happening with this year, economically and culturally?
Maria Bartiromo: Yeah, Tammy, you know, I started my career – well first, during college, I worked at a radio station, but out of college I started my career at CNN, and when I started at CNN, it was Ted Turner’s CNN. It was very different than the CNN of today, and Ted Turner was trying to do things that nobody was doing. And what he did was he had an idea to report news as it was happening. And remember, back in the day in 1989, which is when I started at CNN, people – the major networks would wait until 6:30 at night to present the news. So, you weren’t seeing news all day long.
Tammy Bruce That’s right.
Maria Bartiromo: And I remember as a young 20-something production assistant in the offices of CNN, I would look up at the TV and I saw Bernard Shaw under the bed in Baghdad telling us about bombs going off as they were going off in the first Gulf War. And that’s where I learned how to cover a story as it was happening, and it was quite extraordinary. And it served me well for when I got down to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and became the first person to broadcast from the New York Stock Exchange in 1994, when I had to cover that story, the story of the stock market trading as it was happening, during the trading day, live from the trading floor. And I’ve been so grateful to have had this front row seat to so many different cycles of our economy, beginning with the individual investor revolution, when individuals thought that they could arm themselves with information and make a difference in their own financial life, to the housing boom, and to the dot com boom, where we were valuing companies based on clicks to a website, to the bust of dot com, to globalization, to, as I mentioned, a boom in housing and then the bust in housing. And the list goes on. September 11th, the different administrations that I’ve covered, George W. Bush to Bill Clinton to Barack Obama to Donald Trump, and I’ve learned a lot during that timeframe that it takes courage to stick your neck out, and it takes courage to follow a story and keep following it. I think after all of that time, I spent 20 years at CNN and – I’m sorry, 20 years at CNBC and five years at CNN – I am most proud of my work right now and my work at Fox News and Fox Business because I’ve been able to once again find stories and be truth-telling on them. I am a truth teller, and from the moment I walked into Fox, I have been educated about how Washington works, about how politics works, policy works. I didn’t study any of that at CNBC, but when I got to Fox, I started understanding better how Washington works and I’ve just been illuminated and the feeling that I’ve had – so grateful – to be able to follow what took place in the 2016 election and a tremendous coup to take down Donald Trump, and to weaponize the intelligence agencies, and then to keep telling the truth even as much of the media pushed back at me and much of the skeptics of this president said that it just wasn’t true and I got slammed about it. I feel so proud to stick to the truth and keep telling the truth no matter where it leads and no matter what pushback you get. That is journalism. And journalism can change the world. It can lift people’s lives, take people out of poverty with knowledge and education. And so, I’m proud of what I’ve been able to do. And so that’s why I’m so grateful for you to recognize it. Thank you.
Tammy Bruce Well, Maria, there is a great question I get a lot, and it’s difficult to answer. And you, I think, are a perfect person to be able to answer it, because about what you just said about what journalism means for young people and girls and boys and thinking about what they want to do, and they see you and it’s like, well, I want to do that, right? So, this is very exciting. You know, you show that you can be interesting and fun, and you know about finances and politics, and that you care. I mean, that really comes across that this is a very different world, though, when it comes to college and journalism and what you can say and what you can’t say. What do you tell these young people when they’re deciding if they can do this, and if it’s worth doing, and if you can make a difference?
Maria Bartiromo: Well, let me first say that I am out and out 100% through and through a girl’s girl. And I love dressing up and, you know, my accessories and looking good, and doing things that are fun, but my career is based on truth and based on hard work. And I would say the lessons that I’ve taken with me throughout my career that are critical for emerging generations coming behind me are as follows: Number one, work hard. There are no shortcuts, no matter what anybody tells you, who knows who, my family knows this one, my friends know that one, they’re going to get me in. It’s just not true. You may get your foot in the door, but it’s staying there that is really important, so hard work will always differentiate you. Everyone needs to understand there are no shortcuts. Number two, I’ve been very fortunate in that I love what I do. It’s very important to find something that you love and get up every morning and do it because if you don’t love what you do, it will be a grind to do it. I was very fortunate in that I love journalism. I love reporting. I jump out of bed because I want to do it, and that enables me to work hard. Don’t kid yourself. There’s luck involved as well. And if you’re working hard, you can create your own luck. Maybe you’ll be in the right place at the right time from time to time. So, loving what you do is critical. And the third rule that I have followed in my life as well, is always do the right thing. Don’t try to do the right thing. Do the right thing. So, for those generations coming up behind me, make the commitment today that when a dilemma comes your way, you have made the commitment already that you’re going to do the right thing. We all know we get dilemmas in our lives every day, and when that dilemma comes at you, you need to be ready. You need to be ready to say I know what this is and I’m not going to go the wrong way. I’m going to steer away, I’m going to stay on the straight and narrow, and I’m going to do the right thing. And there’s a real reason for that. Not just because you have integrity and I have integrity, but because your reputation will follow you everywhere. Don’t kid yourself. No matter where you go, America, Europe, Asia, Africa, I don’t care. Whatever industry. TV, business, construction. The only thing that will follow you is your reputation. So, cherish it, honor it, and make sure you do the right thing always. Now, the mention of journalism that you just made in terms of where we are today, it’s very concerning, Tammy, because as we speak, we are seeing censorship. We are seeing social media hide stories. Ideologies and opinions have taken a front-row seat and put truth and honesty in a second-row seat. This is not sustainable. The most important thing to a free economy is the freedom of the press. Free press is essential to any democracy, so it’s critical that journalism stays free. That is also what we need to cherish. I recently decided – I made a decision. I’m leaving Twitter. I like Twitter. It’s fine. But you know what? It doesn’t matter if I have a gazillion followers on Twitter. If they’re censoring me and deciding what’s news, what’s important, and what isn’t, I don’t want to be there. I am a freedom-loving woman, and I will live in that regard.
Tammy Bruce Excellent. Now, you have a reputation for caring about your colleagues, for helping other women do well, for being confident and for being sure in your own work. Your reputation inside the network is extraordinary. Clearly it is in this country and worldwide. You’ve made a remarkable impact. So, I want to thank you for that as a woman in journalism and for everyone else, knowing that these girls are coming up, and for Independent Women’s Forum and what we stand for, the people that follow us. You are an extraordinary role model, so it’s wonderful to see your success. It’s great to have your work with us in the world, which changes our lives, and thank you so much for gracing us with your presence and for accepting our recognition of the impact you’ve had. Maria Bartiromo, our Woman of Valor. Thank you very much for joining us today.
Maria Bartiromo: Tammy, I’m so honored by all that you just said. I can’t tell you how grateful I am. Look, I think that role models are important, and I think, look, for me, my biggest role model in my life is my mother. My mother is still my best friend. But she taught me to work hard. She taught me about the value of a dollar. But then there are other role models that I’ve looked to throughout my career. Barbara Walters had to withstand a male world her entire career. I learned a lot from watching her strength, watching her confidence. Diane Sawyer as well. I mean, there are women – I watch you, Tammy, all the time on Fox News. And I’m so impressed with your strength, and with your confidence, and with your smarts. And these are the things that I always want to emulate. So, I thank you so much, and I just say to all of the independent women out there, let’s keep going!
Tammy Bruce: It’s great to have your work with us in the world, which changes our lives. And thank you so much for gracing us with your presence and for accepting our recognition of the impact you’ve had. Maria Bartiromo, our Woman of Valor. Thank you very much for joining us today.
Maria Bartiromo: Thank you so much, Tammy.