Tell us about your business / current project.
For the past four years, I've been the co-host on 103.3 AMP Radio's the TJ Show. We're a comedy-driven, lifestyle morning radio show in Boston. Before that, I worked for nationally syndicated Elvis Duran and the Morning Show for 5 years as a producer.
Tell us about your co-conspirators. Who are the ladies you collaborate with on a regular basis?
I always try to align myself with extremely driven, very passionate women who are working tirelessly to achieve their goals and spread some good with their integrity intact. I seek women who aren't vying for attention, but who are simply doing good work and therefore attracting attention organically. I think there's a huge difference and the quality of their product is so much richer.
Talk about the importance of finding your tribe.
I have found the most amazing tribe to help keep me going. Whether it be professionally or personally, I have those people I can call at any given moment, who will drop it all to help me out, and I am so incredibly grateful. Especially when you take a job like mine (weird morning hours = no social life), it's imperative to find those people who understand and respect that, and don't take it personally when you can't go out for drinks at 7p on a Tuesday. They understand my values (and they value my weirdness) - and I wouldn't be who I am without their support.
Who inspires you these days? (Can be contemporary or a historical figure.)
My friends who have really blossomed as activists are inspiring me every day. They're propelling us forward and I hope I get the courage to really stand up with them and join them one day. I think of people like my friend Jen Jones, who is the co-creator of Women You Should Know & Women You Should Fund, as an example. Her life's work is telling the stories of trailblazing women. We met a few years ago through work and I'm grateful that a personal friendship has come from it.
Why did you choose the career that you have?
I don't think I ever envisioned myself doing anything other than hosting, so it never felt like much of a "choice," as cheesy as that sounds. Since I was 16 I knew I wanted to host. I love entertaining people and have no problem hopping on a stage in front of hundreds or even thousands of people. Radio was a perfect fit; I get to be myself, I get to express my opinion, and I get to meet some of the most amazing people and take part in some really unique and great experiences. (And, massive bonus that I love: I get to do it makeup-free!) Hopefully, some of the work I do can make a difference for people.
How do you think your work helps women locally and nationally?
I'm really proud of my weekly segment called the Badass Chick where I highlight a woman or girl following her passion, giving back to the community and/or breaking stereotypes. In a world where people are being rewarded for behavior that I find eye-roll-worthy, it's nice to shine some light on good people doing good things. I hope my Badass Chicks and I can serve as an example to younger girls listening to our show that working hard, being kind and staying focused can bring you lightyears ahead of others.
When did you take your biggest risk (in life or business)? Was it worth it?
The first major risk I took was when I was 21: I left Penn State a semester early (I finished my degree online) to take my very first radio job, which turned out to be the best decision I've ever made. The second major risk was choosing to leave that job (nationally-syndicated Elvis Duran and the Morning Show) after 5 years. It is the number-one morning show in the country, and people thought I was NUTS to leave. I actually had two people tell me to my face that I was making the wrong decision and that I would never make it (just to alleviate any rumors: neither one of those people was, or worked for, Elvis. They were all outside the Elvis Team... and Elvis himself couldn't have been more supportive of my decision). I am so proud that I followed my gut, and I have grown leaps and bounds thanks to my decision. We are building a show from scratch here in Boston and I am so insanely proud of the work we do and the momentum we're gaining.
When things get rough, how do you keep yourself going?
I call my mom and I lean on my fiance a lot! Those two will never hesitate to build me up... but they'll also be the first to call me on my BS and tell me to get my crap together when I need it.
Do you label yourself a feminist? Please explain.
Uh, duh! It's funny... there's so much talk lately about that word - but I never even knew that the word was "controversial" in any way. I lived in a single-mother household (though my dad is still very involved with my life!) and it was always just the two of us girls growing up. My mom fixed our toilets; she and I carried a couch up two flights of stairs by ourselves when I was 12; my dad used to buy me Legos and Army Men to play with. When my parents were together, they were a pretty equally-contributing household in terms of salary. I never knew any different... and I am so grateful!
What's your favorite restaurant in the city where you live?
I love Al Dente in Boston's North End. Their waitress Angela is the most amazing woman, and when my fiance and I were long distance for two years, we would always go to dinner at Al Dente when he was in town. It feels like "our spot" and Angela feels like family. Their food is phenomenal too - duh.
Photo by Steve Prue