Murphy Brown: A Role Model Whose Time Has Come…Again

Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 10.56.11 AMThey say that timing is everything in life. With the return of Emmy Award winning TV sitcom Murphy Brown, we will have to see. The revival of Murphy Brown, 2018 style, premieres on Thursday, September 27, on CBS-TV, at 9:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. CT.

The original iconic TV program ran ten years from 1988-1998 and featured lead character, television journalist Murphy Brown (Candice Bergen). It became a must-watch for young women launching their careers and for aspiring professional women who wanted to break through the glass (or plexiglas) ceiling.

That was then. This is now. What has changed since then?

Well, if you ask many women today, they will say “Very little.”

When you review the broad spectrum of the women’s movement from the 1960s to today, you will notice that Murphy Brown is conveniently tucked between those two bookends of time. 1968-1988. 1988-1998 (Murphy Brown). 1998-2018. 20/10/20.

The early days of the 1960s women’s movement gained momentum with the hopes of passing the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which is still incomplete. Today’s women’s movement is still fighting for those original demands, like equal rights and equal pay for women, human rights, and peace, as well as adding other important topics like embracing differences, equality and rights of voters, and exposing sexual harassment, to name a few.

When I was a college student in the 1970s, I remember admiring a T-shirt that a fellow classmate was wearing. It was such a novel idea at the time. It read:

“A woman’s place is in the House and the Senate”

How interesting that in 2018, that T-shirt today is still selling. In fact, I found this exact quote on a current tee at a cool website, Teespring, offering timely tees that are designed, shipped, and printed in the USA. (I get nothing for mentioning this, by the way…I’m simply a fan of American entrepreneurism).

What is different today than in the 1970s is that women running for political office, whether local, state, or national, is at an all-time high. That’s just one example of the impact of today’s current women’s movement.

The timing certainly is right for Murphy Brown creator Diane English. She said in an interview that once she began writing the test script, the words began flowing. There is no shortage of hot topics (including politics) in the daily news feed. I will be watching and learning on Thursday nights to see how Murphy Brown does this time around. We know that she is feisty, opinionated, hard working, demanding, and a trendsetter and positive role model.

With just 13 episodes filmed for this first season, let’s hope, as women, that a bright light will shine on issues that are important to all of us. And if we disagree with Murphy’s perspective, well, it’s time to have the conversation one on one to listen to each other’s opinions. And when we’re finished agreeing or even disagreeing, then we’ll go enjoy a beer, or grab a game of golf and call it a day.

Are You True to Your Personal Brand?

Screen Shot 2018-09-05 at 8.28.42 AM

There is a saying, “Your brand is what people say about you after you have left the room.”

Two great American icons left us recently, and they leave behind a legacy etched into our national psyche forever.

Over the weekend, the life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, was celebrated in high style in Detroit, her adopted city. At the same time, the life of one of America’s greatest public servants and statesmen, Senator John McCain, was being celebrated. How interesting that the lives of two people who were so different in career choice and personal style yet similar in the fullness of their lives, should pass and be celebrated simultaneously. Looking at their lives inspires us to look at our own.

As friends, colleagues, and relatives honored these two gifted professionals, I listened carefully to the words that they chose to describe two lives well lived.

Aretha Franklin’s interpretation of a song came from her heart and soul, deeply expressing the emotion behind the melody and the words. Yes, she knew how to rock steady. Her music appealed to international, intercultural, and intergenerational audiences. As her friends and family members celebrated her life, these are the words that stood out:

  • Talented
  • Soulful
  • Gifted
  • Treasure
  • Friend
  • Diva
  • Professional
  • Love
  • Devoted
  • Perfection

John McCain’s life story is an American story. He first chose a military life, then one of public service, working hard for the American people. He was admired and respected by colleagues from across the political spectrum. With John McCain, the theme that ran through his life’s celebration was pure American. Here are the words that reflect his life:

  • Patriot
  • Statesman
  • Public servant
  • Loyal
  • Values-driven
  • Integrity
  • Love
  • Funny
  • Dedicated
  • Friend
  • Hero

What did these two American icons have in common? Passion for their work. Love of people. Service to others. Authenticity. They each had an uncanny ability to bring people together – one through music, one through public service.

The American songbook would be incomplete without Aretha Franklin’s incredibly rich, diverse range. Her music stirred our souls. She could sing any genre of music and effortlessly switch from one to another. Aretha’s brand image was the Queen of Soul.

American society would not be as good and decent without John McCain’s political leadership. His work improved our lives. John’s brand image was American statesman.

Though physically gone, their life’s work lives on. Their names will be remembered, their voices will be heard, and their stories will be told for generations to come.

Those who spoke at both memorial services mentioned what a privilege it was for all of us to have lived at the same time as these two great American icons. Every now and then, we are reminded that we choose how to live our lives. To take the high road or the low road. To move forward or stay stuck. To live life fully or just skim the surface. To be positive or negative. To make friends or enemies. To share our gifts with the world or keep them hidden.

The next time someone introduces you to another person, listen to the words that person uses to describe you. You might learn something new about yourself. What will people say about you when you’re gone? What legacy will you leave?