(Photo Courtesy of NBC)
NAME: Hoda Kotb
OCCUPATION: NBC’s TODAY show co-host
WHO SHE IS: Hoda Kotb is a funny and charming co-host, one who sings to her favorite songs and talks about the pitfalls of dating in New York City. She’s also been a globetrotting journalist, as well as a Dateline correspondent since 1998. Kotb has reported from war zones, covered the year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina from New Orleans and, led by rebel fighters, snuck into Burma to get the full story on 12-year-old twin warriors said to have magical powers. She is a four-time Emmy nominee, has won an Edward R. Murrow Award, a Peabody, a Gracie Award (among others), and is a New York Times bestselling author.
WHY SHE INSPIRES IN ME: It’s not just her accomplishments, it’s how Kotb started out in the business. The Virginia Tech graduate went on an interview at a local TV station in Richmond, was turned down, but given a lead in another market where the same thing happened. Kotb found herself on a 10-day road trip around the country with one suit and her tape, meeting with news directors in smaller and smaller markets until she finally landed a gig in Greenville, Mississippi. She kept going she says, because “I do think if you are tenacious, somebody will hire you.” She met her first mentor, Stan Sandroni, in Greenville, whom she always credits with being the person who changed the course of her life.
Then Kotb experienced something else that changed her life. In 2007 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “It also made me more fearless professionally to ask for things. I usually waited until I was noticed,” she told Mediabistro.com. There was an opening for a co-host during the fourth hour of TODAY, and she went for it. She spoke directly to Jeff Zucker, then president of NBC, and asked for it. “Suddenly I thought, ‘Why not?’ You get one bite of the apple.’ ” She’s right. If I want something, I just need to take a bite out of the apple, not wait to be offered one.