Interview with “Know Your Value” founder and host Mika Brzezinski

By Marianne Ilunga


Mika Brzezinski

Co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Founder of “Know Your Value” and Author of “Knowing Your Value” and “Grow Your Value”

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1. When did you realize women needed to know their value?


I realized that this was an issue with women across the country when I wrote my first book, “Knowing Your Value.”  That book came out of a very bad deal that I negotiated for myself, which put me at a salary 14 times less than what my co-host Joe Scarborough was making at the time.  I used my experience to help women avoid the mistakes that I had made, and while I thought a few women might relate, I had no idea that it would become such a success.  To this day I have women approach me with the same line: “I read your book.  I got a raise!”  After so many testimonials, I knew I was on to something.


2. What were people first reaction to your campaign?


I have been amazed at the support I got not only from women, but from men. Joe (Scarborough) was one of my biggest champions early on at MSNBC when I realized the differences in our salaries. After I wrote the book and brought it to Phil Griffin (President of MSNBC), I was sure he was going to be angry.  I was honest, and I was not sure how the network would react. But they all stood by me and have helped me take this message on the road and to women across the country.


3. How receptive have women been to your “know your value” message?


Women have been so receptive to this message that I know we are only cracking the surface here.  Just last week, a woman who attended a “Know Your Value” event sent me a letter stating that she had received a 47% raise after putting our advice into action!  These events are designed to give women tools that they can take to work THE NEXT DAY.  Most women don’t even realize that the way they are conducting themselves in relationships is diminishing their value.  That is why the event is filled not only with advice, but also with role playing, demonstrations, and data to show the small changes we can make to command our value in any relationship.  Women who have attended these events are making changes and getting more—and we are hearing about it!


4. What has been your most rewarding moment while traveling the country?


My most rewarding experience on the “Know Your Value” tour happens at the end of each event when we announce our “Grow Your Value Bonus Competition” winner.  Before each event, women from across the country send in one minute pitch videos telling me why they deserve a $10,000 bonus.  This exercise is so much more difficult than it sounds, and most women practice over and over again until they get it right.  But it is this situation that prepares you for a negotiation.  It is uncomfortable and awkward, and you need to know how it feels before you sit down at the negotiating table.  Once we choose three finalists in each city, they are flown to the Johnson and Johnson Human Performance Institute where they are paired with coaches who help refine their true message. Finally, on the day of the event, they each come on stage and pitch live to a panel of judges.  The transformation that these women go through is inspiring, and it reminds me of the importance of what we are doing.


5. What’s the most important thing you think all women should know?


Women need to know that they have value in every situation—they just need to know what it is and how to monetize it. If you are prepared and have the data to quantify your value, you can walk into negotiations confident, unapologetic, and ready to get exactly what you deserve!


Tickets for “Know Your Value” are available here.





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