For over 30 years, the month of March has been designated as a time to celebrate Women’s History. Howard University being a female dominated campus, proudly acknowledges the contributions of women (especially black women) in America every day. On Monday, March 2, 2020, The Howard University Cathy Hughes School of Communications hosted the Universities first women’s history celebration event called, “Women’s History Month. A Conversation with Cathy Hughes & Women of Urban One” honoring media mogul Cathy Hughes, who is an entrepreneur, founder and chairperson of Urban One.
In October of 2016, The School of Communications at Howard University was named in honor of Ms. Hughes who reflects on this moment in time as “One of the greatest accomplishments of my life.” She said, “I am the most grateful student that never went to Howard. This is more than just a university for students to attend. Howard is a change agent for the entire Washington, D.C.”
During Monday night’s panel discussion, Ms. Hughes emphasized the importance of women working together in such a competitive industry. She said, “It’s important for women to look out for each other, the same way men look out for men.” In addition to Cathy Hughes sharing her insight and experience, she was joined by Michelle Rice, General Manager at TV One/CLEO TV, Karen Wishart, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Janine Brunson-Johnson, Radio One DC promotional Director, and Tracy Uy, Editor at TV One. These powerful African American women echoed the same sentiment of women empowerment. However, they emphasized that the empowerment of others begins with understanding yourself, your values, and your worth.
When discussing her greatest blessing, in addition to her son who also serves as her business partner, Ms. Cathy Hughes highlights her ability to identify her purpose in life at an early age. She said, “Before I was old enough to have sex and a son, I was blessed to know my career. Very few of us ever are blessed with identifying before we reach puberty that in which God intends for us to do for the rest of our lives. It has never changed. I have always had as my goal providing a voice for the voiceless.”
In the world of Corporate America and within the media industry, women have been silenced and excluded from the executive decision-making process. The women leaders of Urban One highlight the importance of fighting for “a seat at the table” and their experience working tirelessly to prove they deserve to be there. Karen Wishart, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer gave thanks to Cathy Hughes saying, “She’s created a company and an environment where women can thrive.” She continued, “I’ve been at other companies where I had to fight to have my voice heard. Probably the one thing that I’ll say to the women in the room, is always continue fighting, don’t let anyone silence you. Take your seat at the table because you do belong there.”
While the rest of the world may wait until the month of March to acknoweledge all of the groundbreaking contributions that women have made, women at Howard University use this month to simply emphasize the earthshattering impact that we make every single day of the year.