During the Image Panel of the OWN IT Summit, CBS This Morning Co-Anchor Norah O’Donnell, Washington Post Political Correspondent and Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Mary Jordan and New Yorker Cartoonist Liza Donnelly came together to discuss issues of gender stereotypes, confidence and self-evaluation that impact women’s progress.

Each speaker shared her daily routine to begin the discussion. O’Donnell impressed the audience with her intense daily schedule: She wakes up at four in the morning, attends numerous meetings and production sessions during the day and sometimes works late into night. This is accomplished alongside her efforts to raise three young children and fulfill household duties. However, despite this workload, O’Donnell still very much enjoys her work as a journalist.

“Being a journalist is one of the most exciting careers in the world because you get the front-most seat to history,” O’Donnell said.

Despite having only minimal ideas about her future path when she entered Georgetown as a freshman in 1991, O’Donnell used her time in college to explore different activities and to build up her confidence.

“Confidence is key — the feeling that ‘I can actually do it.’ And, to have confidence, women need to develop an expertise in a subject. You might not know where your expertise is, so I sampled a lot of different careers,” she said.

Jordan and Donnelly echoed O’Donnell’s call for strong confidence in women.

“The confidence issue matters; just go for it, put yourself out there. It’s all about the strength in you to keep going,” Jordan said.

All panelists agreed that discovering one’s true passion is an important step in defining career goals.

Donnelly mentioned that she became aware of her love for drawing cartoons when she realized that she could easily spend hours on a cartoon and still remain engaged.

“You need to listen to your time and find what is the thing that will help you lose track of time,” Donnelly said. “I just lose myself when I’m drawing cartoons.”

O’Donnell also stressed the importance of hard work.

“When I just started, I was working alongside very experienced producers. The way to make up for this is to work harder than anybody else,” O’Donnell said. “Until this day, I still use highlighters with newspapers.”

Three panelists also talked about their approaches to dealing with stress and unexpected obstacles.

“I almost quit in the 1980s, but then I met my husband — also my partner — who encouraged me to continue with my career,” Donnelly said.

“I think everyone needs to build a support system around you, a support network with people who care about you and look out for you,” O’Donnell said. “My husband and I, we try to be each other’s greatest champion.”

Carmen Rollins (COL ’16) said she found the talk inspirational and helpful since it was applicable to women of all ages.

“They were talking about the struggles that they have had, and it’s great that they are openly sharing it with everyone here,” Rollins said. “Speaking up is really useful here because it does go a long way to help people make themselves heard. It’s sometimes scary to make that first step, so it’s great to hear that other women are doing the same.”

Amy Zhang (SFS ’18) said that the discussion prompted her to think more deeply about her goals in life.

“It’s good to hear what these women leaders have been through and what they learn from their journeys, and that kind of inspire me to think more about myself and what I can do to really focus on my journey, and what next step I can take to get where I want to be,” Zhang said.

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