by David Borzo
She was our best friend every day on Good Morning America in the ‘80’s and 90’s, and over those nearly 20 years must have interviewed every major celebrity and public figure around. But for the last decade Joan Lunden has been busier than ever with family, writing and her many business interests. As a NY Times bestselling author she has touched many people with books about change, healing and health. A recent effort is Chicken Soup for the Soul; Family Caregivers: 101 Stories of Love, Sacrifice and Bonding, a subject matter close to Joan’s heart to be sure, as she is a caregiver to her 93 year old mother.
Joan talked to the SmartTalk crowd about the emergence of women in the workplace over the last 40 years. She witnessed many changes in professional opportunities, but she wonders; are women any happier with their lives? There’s the rub. She quoted statistics that women’s overall happiness has declined since the 1970’s despite significant professional opportunities. Having opportunity is one thing, but balancing career with a satisfactory personal life is the struggle.
Joan shared about her start in local broadcasting in Sacramento California in the mid 1970’s. Not an easy role for a woman in those days (think Will Ferrell in Anchorman: the Legend of Ron Burgundy). Women were largely regulated to the role of “weather girl,” complete with hot pants and boots. But after taking on all challenges and making herself indispensable, Joan was on her way to the New York market, and eventually GMA. She shared her ten strategies for successful working and living, from finding good mentors to never underestimating the power of positive thinking, while treating the SmartTalk audience to a generous helping of stories from big-time TV journalism. Co-workers like Charlie Gibson, Mentors like Barbara Walters and favorite interviews like Prince Charles.
Joan now stays busy with her writing, speaking and healthy living business interests (like Non-Teflon cookware and women’s experience Camp Reveille, which you can learn more about on her blog). She’s the classic “Type A” personality, taking the lead and never passing up a good opportunity – a perfect addition to the exclusive SmartTalk lineup of gifted women. Raising seven children while excelling in a highly visible Network career is testament enough to her fortitude; add her continued business and personal success, and Joan Lunden is an impressive spokeswoman for the challenges and stresses that women face today.