Mika Brzezinski: Know Your Worth

Jane Lu

MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski’s book Knowing Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth, released in 2011, tackles one of the most important questions for women today: “Why are we often overlooked and underpaid?” On the SHE Innovates podcast, Brzezinski joins Michelle King, a leader in UN women’s gender innovation work, to share practical and powerful advice on how women can achieve their deserved recognition and financial worth.

Growing your value at work

In her experience coaching and talking to women from all walks of life, Brzezinski finds:

“[Women] apologize too much. We self-deprecate too much. We don’t raise our hand. We play the victim. We feel like we need to be friends with everybody. We often feel like we need to fill a room with words in the middle of a negotiation – to make the other person feel comfortable. We don’t know how to press reset when something goes wrong. In the process of time to rectify a very bad deal that I signed, I made all of these mistakes.”

On Brzezinski’s to-do list for women, the first step is to dig deep. Figuring out your drive before pitching your value makes the message “rich in texture, dynamic, and effective.” She suggests using natural traits like “kindness, love, relationships, passion, and drive to enhance our ability to communicate effectively.”

By “pressing reset,” Brzezinski means that women need to move on and stop over-emotionalizing bad experiences. “Pushing back in real time” is another thing we can do to grow our value. Women tend to stay quiet in uncomfortable situations and lose the opportunity to be respected. Finally, women like to lurch into deals. They overthink negotiations, especially when one lasts more than a day – but patience is key: “Waiting creates a scenario where we’re much more in control of our futures, pasts, and presents.”

Developing a strong sense of self

The author and co-host says, “We have to have control over how we use our voice.” You should speak in public, even if it’s not your best skill. You’ll develop a stronger voice, more control, and better pitch. Brzezinski says women have a natural propensity to lack confidence, and working on technical tools like voice and posture opens doors for the rest to come out. Physical tactics improve how you feel about yourself. Standing up straight feels unnatural at first, but it enhances communication and makes your words more impactful.

Brzezinski’s biggest secret to success is to be relentless. If you get a “no,” try again – find a better point and show why it’s more viable the next time. What does an unsuccessful pitch mean to a man? Move on to another opportunity.

Listen to Mika Brzezinski’s interview on the SHE Innovates podcast.

SHE Innovates is a podcast that shares the stories, challenges and triumphs of women across innovation, technology and entrepreneurship. Listen to all our podcasts on PodBean.


Jane Lu

About Jane Lu

Jane is a writer and marketing intern at SAP. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in English at the University of Waterloo. While Jane is currently studying in Waterloo, she is originally from Toronto.