Learning my value, with help from Mika Brzezinski

By Kristie Kam

“Every little thing you do matters,” Mika Brzezinski said to me on the first day of my internship. And it really does. This semester, I had the opportunity to work with Mika on her personal brand, “Know Your Value” – a community to empower women in business.

Prior to this internship, I knew Mika only as the co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” And on my very first day, when I was told to sit in on the weekly Know Your Value creative content meeting, I had to admit that I was a little bit intimidated. I was not even sure what my main responsibilities as an intern were going to be. Everything was like a crash course for me because all I knew about Know Your Value was that they hold conferences that bring women from different background together and help them recognize their value in the workforce.

Now when I look back on my first day as an intern who panicked a lot and always held back from voicing my ideas in meetings, I am more than grateful to be pushed out of my comfort zone and not to be afraid to contribute any ideas when it comes to either planning the next Know Your Value conference or helping Mika build her brand. When I first joined this all-women team, Know Your Value was still in a start-up stage. We had to plan event logistics such as rundowns for keynote speakers. I was able to gain hands-on experience such as coordinating travel for speakers, promoting the event on social media platforms and helping plan the event schedule. On the day of the conference, I worked side by side with the Know Your Value website editor in providing live social media coverage. I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes and record interviews with successful women like Martha Stewart, Jane Pauley and Laura Brown (the editor-in-chief of InStyle Magazine).

These were not the most challenging tasks at NBCUniversal, but Mika is right. They were all opportunities to learn. You’d be surprised how much advice I took in just by sitting in on interviews.

For the second half of my semester, I had the opportunity to help with some of the interview transcriptions for Mika’s latest edition of the “Know Your Value” book coming next fall. I was really inspired by her work advocating for women to speak up at work, fight for the salaries they deserve, and most importantly, in the midst of sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer, to stand up for themselves and know to say no.

As a young female Asian American journalist who looks to thrive in a professional newsroom environment, I think it is especially important for me to know my value. In her book, Mika wrote, “Knowing your value means owning your success. Owning your success means acknowledging your achievements. By acknowledging achievements, you build confidence.” I couldn’t agree more. I am in charge of paving my own way to success, and if I don’t know how to communicate my value effectively, no one else does

When I first applied for an internship with NBCUniversal, I was hoping to be offered an opportunity to work in news and production areas. But I was more than grateful to be able to work with the “Know Your Value” team. Each and every woman I had the privilege to work with in this internship has taught me unique and valuable lifelong lessons, and I would not want my internship experience to end differently.