Story by Rachel Sapin, 2016 JAWS Fellow | Photo by Erica Yoon, CAMP photographer
Aminda “Mindy” Marqués Gonzalez, executive editor and vice president for news at The Miami Herald, is somewhat of an anomaly in the newspaper industry.
“There are only two female editors at the top 25 newspapers in America,” said Mindy, the dinner keynote speaker on Oct. 29 at the Journalism and Women Symposium’s annual conference in Roanoke, Va.
At the beginning of her career with The Miami Herald, Mindy, who was born in New York to Cuban immigrants, said her editor urged her to take a risk to report from Cuba.
She didn’t think she was ready to take on the assignment.
“I can’t do it. I need time to research, prepare,” she told her editor.
But Mindy did go to Cuba, and she considers her work there to be the best of her career as a reporter. She became The Miami Herald’s first Hispanic editor in 2010.
She told the journalists that women have a habit of falling victim to not feeling ready.
Her advice: “Resist the urge to express insecurity to someone who may have a reason to doubt your ability anyway,” she said.
Mindy went on to cite many mantras she used in her earlier career, when she constantly struggled to maintain a work-life balance.
She emphasized that no one ever feels completely ready for a job, and that moving up in the workplace often requires wearing a poker face.
“You’re never going to be ready for the job, so just jump in,” she said.
Mindy said that finding a work-life balance is difficult — and not always the type of “leaning in” that Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook, made famous in her 2013 book by the same name.
“We’ve been fed the big lie: Work-life balance. A perfect 50-50 split of family and career. It’s not possible. At least it’s not been possible for me,” Mindy said.
She pointed to the career path blazed by former CNN executive Gail Evans, who wrote “Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman,” a book that encouraged women to play by men’s rules in the work world in order to advance.
“Sometimes your family has to take a back seat to work. It doesn’t make me a bad mother, a bad wife, a bad daughter,” Mindy said. “I get a kick walking into a sea of black shoes wearing red pumps. We want to succeed as women in what is still a man’s world.”
She described times in her career when she chose a job because it made it easier to spend time with her husband and children.
Then in mid-career, she switched from working at The Miami Herald to take on a new job: Miami bureau chief for People magazine. Some colleagues were critical.
Mindy said it’s important for women to be promoted to leadership roles, but it’s even more important to make diversity in the newsroom a priority.
“At a time when the country is at the cusp of becoming a minority-majority country, we need diverse perspectives in media,” she said.