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Discuss: Five Questions

Recently, I’ve been thinking about content that I could add to the blog to make it better.  One of my ideas is to interview women who have enviable careers or inspiring professional/personal stories to share and ask them five questions about how they got to where they are and what advice they would have for other women.      The features would probably run once-per-month.

I’ve compiled a short list of the women I’d LOVE to feature, kind of my dream list, including Hillary Clinton, Madeline Albright and Melinda Gates.  I want to feature a diverse group of women whose advice and counsel could help the readers of CHS see their professional aspirations in a new way.  But since I know that getting these interviews will NOT be easy, I want to have a big list of names.  That’s where you come in.

If you could ask any woman–politician, business leader, philanthropist, creative guru, multi-hyphenate–five questions, who would it be?

For me, it’s Joan Didion.  Hands down.  I read her essay “Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream” for an undergraduate journalism class and it was the first time that I  really connected with someone’s writing.  And when I read Slouching Towards Bethlehem, I felt like my dreams were achievable and my struggles survivable.  It was a real turning point for me.  That book is everything.

In fact, I would be so thrilled to ask her just five questions, that I would probably melt every one of my brain cells trying to think of five questions worthy of her.  Yeah, the adoration is that serious.

So how about you?  Leave your suggestions in the comments.  I can’t wait to read them.



  1. Indigo says:

    Judy Blume. Hands down, no contest, love her.

    May 24, 2013/Reply
  2. Bri says:

    As a female attorney, any of the female Supreme Court justices – Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the ultimate for me, but any of the three would be a dream (and Sandra Day O’Connor, too).

    May 24, 2013/Reply
    • Xtina says:

      Ginsburg for sure! What an inspiration.

      May 27, 2013/Reply
  3. Charleigh says:

    In keeping with the D.C. theme:
    Penny Pritzker — Obama’s new nominee for Secretary of Commerce

    Mary Jo White — Newest Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission

    May 24, 2013/Reply
  4. ePs says:

    I would love to see features on women who aren’t at the height of their careers yet, but are on their way. Maybe 20-30 somethings who are in the middle of their path. Just a thought!

    May 24, 2013/Reply
    • Sarah says:

      I agree, I think women who have found success even at lower levels of their career are more relatable and have a lot to offer.

      May 24, 2013/Reply
  5. Beth says:

    1. Oprah! (of course)
    2. Hillary Clinton
    3. Huma Abedin (so intrigued by her)
    4. Sheryl Sandberg
    5. Kerry Washington
    6. Shonda Rimes
    7. Jenna Lyons (JCrew)
    8. Kathie Lee and Hoda (I know most find these two annoying but I think they are hilarious and down-to-Earth and real!)
    9. SE Cupp (She’s the conservative voice on the MSNBC’s The Cycle and although Im very liberal I find her (mostly) balanced views very refreshing)
    10. Marissa Mayer
    11. Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson
    12. Maureen Dowd

    May 24, 2013/Reply
  6. JB says:

    1. Kirsten Gillibrand
    2. Meghan McCain
    3. Mika Brezinski (Morning Joe)
    4. Sara Blakely (Spanx Creator)
    5. Wendy Kopp (Teach for America Founder and CEO)
    6. Michelle Rhee (Students First)
    7. Lean Dunham (for laughs)

    May 24, 2013/Reply
  7. S says:

    -Kirsten Gillibrand
    -Rachel Maddow
    -Michelle Obama
    -Hilary Clinton
    -Sonya Sotomayor
    -Debbie Wasserman Shultz

    May 24, 2013/Reply
  8. k says:

    In the attainable-DC realm, Heather Zichal – she’s incredibly influential for her age and still seems relatable.

    May 24, 2013/Reply
  9. GoGoGo says:

    I love, love getting to talk with older professional women who broke the glass ceiling or were among the first class of women in their fields in the 40s/50s/60s. Nothing puts your own professional struggles in perspective quite like that.

    Being a DC person, I think early female Hill climbers would be fascinating to talk to. But so would people from Big Law, advertising, aeronautics, anything really.

    Those women wouldn’t be VIPs and I can’t think of any names off hand, but I’ll try to be thinking about it.

    May 24, 2013/Reply
  10. A says:

    I second the above on Mike Brezinski. I’ve totally drank the Morning Joe cool-aid, er, coffee, and love her.

    Someone who would probably be easy to get but also interesting would be Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. She previously chaired the House Foreign Affairs Committee and while I don’t personally work for her, I have interacted with her a bit in the workplace and she is so geniunely nice, even to those of us way beneath her on the totem pole (this is my measure of whether people in DC are actually nice or just pretending to be).

    May 24, 2013/Reply
  11. Tierney @ The Preppy Leopard says:

    I would love to read interviews with some of the big-time news anchors: like Megyn Kelly or Rachel Maddow.

    Maybe a good way to do this would be to find people who are at the top of their field (IT Consulting or Video Game Design, etc) and do industry themed consultations. It can be partially their story, but also tips and tricks for succeeding in X industry.

    May 24, 2013/Reply
  12. LS says:

    I’m probably in the minority, but I work in an analytical (math/finance) field. I’d love to read about some successful women in a science or math field. My company is mostly men, so it would be great to get a female perspective. Thanks for asking. This is a great idea!

    May 24, 2013/Reply
  13. Nina says:

    These people would all be amazing. Though I think a lot of ambitious women read this site, I think we’re all a ways away from becoming Hillary Clinton. If you don’t get the big names, still run the feature. I would still LOVE to read about being Deputy to the Assistant Secretary for XYZ, which is a more achievable 10 year goal for me anyway.

    May 24, 2013/Reply
  14. SP says:

    1. Madeleine Albright
    2. Hillary Clinton
    3. Huma Abedin
    4. Valerie Jarrett
    5. Amy Hood (Recently named CFO of Microsoft)
    6. Marissa Mayer (President and CEO of Yahoo)
    7. Indra Nooyi (CEO of PepsiCo)
    8. Christiane Amanpour
    9. Elizabeth Warren
    10. Nancy Brinker (Founder of Race for the Cure and the Susan G. Koman Foundation)
    11. Lisa Randall (First woman tenured in the Physics Departments at Harvard, MIT, and Princeton)

    May 24, 2013/Reply
  15. Sarah says:

    I would love to hear from Michèle Flournoy, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. I always especially interested in women who are in male dominated careers.

    May 24, 2013/Reply
  16. Meg says:

    Ditto Kirsten Gillibrand. I’m from her original Congressional district and have always looked to her as a female role model Also, Beth Brooke (Global Vice Chair-Public Policy, Ernst & Young DC)

    May 24, 2013/Reply
  17. Julie says:

    I know that there’s a huge draw to interview famous women, but I really enjoy interviews with highly successful women that I haven’t heard of. Everyday women. I’d be happy to see something like that.

    Style by Joules

    May 24, 2013/Reply
  18. Jessica says:

    Highest on my list is Lara Logan of CBS News. I aspire to find her balance of cold, hard professionalism while still being feminine. After Ms. Logan, my list is as follows:

    2. Condoleezza Rice
    3. Carly Fiorina
    4. Elizabeth Warren
    5. Marissa Mayer

    I also like the idea of mixing in interviews with everyday women in different professions. I think the contrast between these women could be the most valuable contribution of this project.

    May 24, 2013/Reply
  19. Kay says:

    Christiane Amanpour
    Elizabeth Warren
    Hilary would be amazing.

    I also like the idea of everyday women being interviewed too.

    May 24, 2013/Reply
  20. Shannon says:

    Anne LaMott,author of Traveling Mercies. Seems like she would have a lot to say about life.

    May 24, 2013/Reply
  21. Ljill says:

    Guess I am in the minority – I’d like to hear about these women and how they achieved success and what obstacles they faced and/or continue to face

    Condi Rice
    Mia Love
    Greta Van Sustern
    Elaine Chao
    Peggy Noonan
    Dana Perino

    May 25, 2013/Reply
  22. N says:

    Would LOVE to hear from Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

    May 25, 2013/Reply
  23. Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor says:

    This is a great idea. Other people have already mentioned some great people and I second the idea to highlight emerging women (those that are doing great things but are not yet well known). Also, to add to the others mentioned above, Melinda Gates, Anna Wintor, Ellen DeGeneres, Tory Burch, Linda Rottenberg, and just for fun, Kate Middleton.

    May 25, 2013/Reply
  24. S says:

    Dana Perino, or another notable press secretary or communications director. When I started as a press person, I noticed there really isn’t that much out there as far as advice goes. It would be neat to see what they learned from their experiences and what advice they would give new press people. And, I second the Kate Middleton request. Never hurts to ask!

    May 28, 2013/Reply
  25. K says:

    Third on Rep. Ros-Lehtinen! She’s really such a down to earth and kind person, and I’ve never had this kind of conversation with her, so I’d be interested in her responses.

    May 28, 2013/Reply
  26. Charmaine says:

    I like all of the ideas above, but agree that some of the younger, more approachable women would be fun to hear from. I’d add Terri Sewell, or any of the other young group of influential congresswomen, Kathy Ruemmler, the White House Counsel, Lisa Monaco, the National Security Advisor.

    May 28, 2013/Reply
  27. R says:

    Malala Yousafzai. And her mother.

    May 28, 2013/Reply
  28. Chelsea says:

    Bump for Michele Fluornoy!

    May 30, 2013/Reply
  29. Victoria says:

    Love the ideas here. A few more:

    Leymah Gbowee
    Gail Collins
    Sheryl WuDunn
    Rebecca Traister

    May 30, 2013/Reply
  30. Cindy Johnson says:

    Well, theres a whole stable of women Members of Congress who are often fascinating people, and some fit criteria mentioned above (e.g. broke the glass ceiling in the 50’s, like Louise Slaughter). Women who lead top DC shops of one kind or another could be fun. Also, Washington Post publisher Katherine Weymouth.

    May 31, 2013/Reply