Month: February 2020

TueNight 10: Vanessa DeLuca

Vanessa with Angela Bassett at an Essence Black Women in Hollywood event Age: 55 Basic bio: Vanessa is the Editor in Chief of ZORA magazine, a Medium publication by, for and about women of color. Last month they released the ZORA Canon, a curated compilation of 100 must-read books written by African-American women over the last 160 years. Beyond the Bio: “I have one kid who’s a sophomore in college, and one who’s a junior in high school, so I don’t feel that tug and pull of guilt about being a working mom the way I used to. It’s still hard to accept that my children are this old, and that I am this old, but I’m powering through it.” What makes you a grown-ass lady? “I spend little time apologizing for dipping out on invitations to events that I really don’t want to attend anyway. I let my intuition/gut be my guide about what’s worth the time and what isn’t.” 1. On the nightstand: My cholesterol and high blood pressure medications; with my family’s medical history, I …

TueNight 10: Roberta Lombardi

Age: 53 Quick Bio: Roberta is a three-year breast cancer survivor and founder and president of Infinite Strength, a nonprofit that provides financial assistance to underserved/underinsured women diagnosed with breast cancer. Many of the women helped by her organization are single mothers who are financially disadvantaged and/or below the poverty level. Beyond the bio: “I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 49 after I discovered a lump during a self-exam. I feel like I was just learning to embrace myself at that time: not concerned as much with what other people thought of me, and just enjoying life and my family. I loved my 40s! And then came the diagnosis. I lost my breasts, hair, self-esteem and dignity. When I was through with treatment I had to figure out who I was because I did not recognize myself, and it was a tough road.” What makes you a grown-ass lady?: “Having breast cancer pretty much stripped me down to the bone emotionally. But in a lot of ways that was a good thing as I began …

TueNight 10: Jennifer Owens

Age: 52 Quick bio: Jennifer is an editor, writer and speaker who tells stories to and about women, with a focus on career, family and health. She works with clients through Jennwork, her two-year-old content agency, and her newest project, The Breadwinners podcast, just launched on Messy.fm. Jennifer serves on the board of ProCon.org. Her punk band Two Minute Thrills plays in dive bars (where else?) around NYC. Beyond the bio: “I feel like I’m in the perfect moment right now. My kids are older and (literally) need less hand-holding, my spouse still makes me laugh, Pilates has me standing straighter than ever and I get invited to shout obscenities on various stages. Then there’s my work, which is all about speaking authentically to women. I love it — and love the people I get to work with.” What makes you a grown-ass lady? “That I’m still supporting my family despite the crumbling nature of media. I started out as a newspaper reporter, pivoted to magazines, moved to digital and now audio. I just keep hustling.” 1. On the nightstand: There are sooooo …

Embarking on My Own Year of Yes

I’ll allow Shonda Rhimes to take credit for inventing the year of yes (YOY). This TV titan did make it famous, but let the record show that I invented the concept before Rhimes’ book with the same name became an instant bestseller.  In 2014, I could be found lounging on a tan leather couch in my comfort zone. I had a cool gig as the executive editor of Juicy, a celeb life, hair and beauty magazine, which I co-founded with my soul friend Paula. At Juicy, the riskiest thing I did was subject my skin, hair and nails to all the free goodies beauty brands tossed at us by the boatload. Picture me as an eager test dummy for every BB Cream for mocha skin, matte red lipstick and neon nail lacquer ever invented. I interviewed celebrities, twirled on red carpets and on the rare occasion, appeared on reality TV.  And while all of this was crazy, sexy, cool in that TLC kinda way, I never forgot that one of my purposes in life was …

TueNight 10: Karen Dukess

Age: 57 Bio: Karen is the author of the novel The Last Book Party, which was published in July by Henry Holt. She has been a tour guide in the former Soviet Union, a newspaper reporter in Florida, a magazine publisher in Russia and a speechwriter on gender equality for the United Nations Development Programme. She lives with her family near New York City and spends as much time as possible in Truro on Cape Cod. Beyond the Bio: “I’m the quintessential late bloomer, writing my first novel in my 50s. Our culture celebrates young success, but I’ve learned from experience that late-in-life achievements are all the sweeter. And publishing your first novel just as your youngest child goes to college is a great antidote to empty nest syndrome.” What makes you a grown-ass lady? “I’m much more likely to try new things and not worry about how well I do them or how foolish I might look. Only well after age 40 did I have the guts to learn to downhill ski, scuba dive, and …

The Greatest Risk of All? Choosing Me

I’m an avowed risk-taker.  In fact, I had a business card for a while that bragged about this. I tucked the word “instigator” on there, between “editor” and “writer.” In my career I launched four magazines in a row, and lived to tell – though I can’t say the same for the magazines. I wrote a really raw book about my divorce in which I cried constantly and told the truth about my failures. I joined websites solely for the purpose of finding people to have sex, not relationships. I offend people with my confidence and bluntness and brio – but I don’t mean to.  I like to stir pots and poke bees’ nests and ask inappropriate questions and hold people’s gazes too long. So I got this idea in my head that I was fearless. Turns out that was a lie. I’m a total scaredy-cat. This I have learned in the past ten years, ten years of being unemployed, underemployed and just plain overlooked. In my career, I had enjoyed decades of unwavering success, …

TueNight Live: Photos from RISK

All photos by Neil Kramer For some people, standing up and sharing a personal story feels risky — luckily for the record crowd (almost 120 of you!) at our most recent TueNight event, this was not the case, as 5 women stood up and shared stories of risks taken in their own lives. And we got to hear the good, the bad, the embarrassing, and the lovely. Margit welcomed the crowd to the event, held at the women’s career development and collaboration hub, Luminary. Here she is with Robin Gelfenbein, one of the night’s readers, who offered up a super-special second, bonus story at the end of the night (in which weiners featured prominently — we mean hot dogs!). The event’s speakers shared stories of their own personal risks, involving family (of course), career, identity, taking on new challenges, and sexxxxxxy time… gone wrong. Read those stories here, here, and here, or watch the videos of their performances on our Facebook page. There was fun, laughter, snacks, wine, Hint Water (thanks for sponsoring!), new connections …