$10,000 bonus

By on March 18, 2015

Cash in on Brzezinski’s ‘Know Your Value’ tour

Mika Brzezinski on the set of MSNBC's "Morning Joe." Brzezinski, who has a home in Warwick Township, is on a mission to empower women. Locals can enter a contest to win $10,000. (photo courtesy of MSNBC)

   Mika Brzezinski on the set of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Brzezinski, who has a home in Warwick Township, is on a mission to empower women. Locals can enter a contest to win $10,000. (photo courtesy of MSNBC)

Think of it as your neighbor lending a helping hand or some friendly advice.

She knows you’re not exactly feeling great about yourself &tstr; maybe you got passed over  for a promotion or a raise, maybe you’ve been less than open about speaking up for  yourself, maybe you need to tidy up your overall image.

She knows you can do better and she wants to help, and maybe that help entails a bit of a  figurative kick in the pants.

Well, your neighbor is doing just that, not just for you but for thousands of women across  the country.

Your neighbor, in this case, is Mika Brzezinski, the articulate, attractive, and assertive co-  host of MSNBC’s popular “Morning Joe” cable news show. Brzezinski, who socializes with  the cream of the political crop in New York and Washington circles, has been a local girl for  the last 22 years, married to Lititz-area native James Hoffer and living at least part-time in  Warwick Township.

Hoffer is a correspondent for WABC-TV Eyewitness News in New York City; many of his  family members reside and work in this area.

Brzezinski, the author of three books centering on wellness narratives from an  autobiographical viewpoint, is using the theme of her last tome, “Knowing Your Value,” a  2011 bestseller, as the focus for the upcoming “Know Your Value” tour. The nationwide  journey debuts April 10 at the Loew’s Hotel in Philadelphia. Tickets for the Philadelphia  stop are priced at $225 for general admission.

The stops are celebrity-dotted day-long events which feature workshops on everything from  negotiating for promotions to redefining body language. Participating guest speakers  include former U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough, her MSNBC co-host and NBC News senior  political analyst; actress and author Brooke Shields; Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to  President Barack Obama; André Leon Talley, former editor-at-large of Vogue; U.S. Sen.  Elizabeth Warren (D-MA); U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO); Hoda Kotb, co-host of the  fourth hour of NBC’s “TODAY;” Alex Wagner, host of MSNBC’s “NOW with Alex Wagner;”  Thomas Roberts, host of “MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts;” Nicolle Wallace, co-host of  “The View” and former White House communications director under President George W.  Bush; Katty Kay, lead anchor for “BBC World News America;” and television personality  and marketing executive Donny Deutsch.

Brzezinski assures this is not just a “feel-good day out” for women. She insists that there will  be one-on-one interaction designed to make a difference for every woman – and man (it’s  open to guys as well) – in attendance.

She continues to be amazed by the reaction of readers to the tour’s namesake book.

“When I wrote the book, I touched on some mistakes I made when it came to asking for  raises or promotions,” Brzezinski said, “and I hoped that I had offered some words of  wisdom for a few other women who had the same problem.

“What I didn’t expect was the universal reaction from women in all walks of life – women in high- and low-income brackets. They all said: ‘I read your book and I got a raise’.”

The tour becomes interactive even before the stops hit the cities. Brzezinski emphasized that before each day-long event, women have the chance to enter the “Grow Your Value Bonus Competition” by visiting msnbc.com/knowyourvalue. Contest entrants must submit a form and upload a 60-second video explaining to Brzezinski why they deserve a $10,000 bonus.

“I urge women in the Lititz area to get in front of your camera or phone and talk to me, talk to me directly, why you have value,” Brzezinski said. “Bring those words out.”

She and a panel of three judges – in Philadelphia they will be Shields, Scarborough, WCAU NBC 10 News anchor Renee Chenault-Fattah, and Brzezinski – will chose three finalists. Those three will join three others each from the other four stops (Washington, D.C., Chicago, Boston, and Orlando) who will have the opportunity to appear on stage at the one-day events to pitch their stories to the judges, live audience, and viewers across NBC/Universal media platforms.

The winner will receive the $10,000 bonus.

Deadline for video submission for the Philadelphia stop is Sunday, March 22, at 11:59 p.m.

The finalists get pretty good deals: Professional coaching from Brzezinski and other experts, prizes from “Know Your Value” corporate sponsors, including admission to the Corporate Athlete course at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute in Orlando, round-trip transportation by JetBlue, and wardrobe consultation by MILLY.

Brzezinski characterizes each of the one-day events as a mix of genres – game show, pageant, makeover &tstr; with the emphasis on each participant working toward developing her own brand.

Brzezinski herself has done that in a big way. Her books, indeed her daily appearances on “Morning Joe,” all contribute to the consistent image of that articulate, attractive, and assertive female she encourages all women to become. And, as she is quick to note, her failures have been integral to her successes.

She said this in an interview with the Levo League, a Generation Y professionals group:

“Failure is a badge of honor; I know because I have failed many times publicly and it has only made me better. It’s far more honest than success.”

Women, she said, often unwittingly set themselves up for failure. The socialization of females find them advocating for others before standing up for themselves. When it comes to advocating for oneself in terms of raises and promotions, women tend to apologize to their bosses for asking, worry about their “likeability,” and often do not present documented, fact-filled reasons for their requests. In other words, they do not themselves truly “know their value.”

“We don’t ‘do,’ we wait around thinking someone will ‘do’ it for us. We have to take control’,” she said.

The tour is designed to help change that mindset.

“We will actively teach women to develop their brand, know their value, and commit to the effort,” she said. “It’s got an upbeat message.”

Brzezinski translates that ‘do’ philosophy into the hands-on intent of the tour.

The workshops will stress style, message, story, and goals as key factors in individual branding.

As important as intelligence and intellect is personal image, Brzezinski said.

“How you look, compose yourself, and speak…all these things contribute to the singular brand of who you are. The process pares away all ‘the clutter’ in our brains.”

The appearance makeover is the antithesis of “too big hair and high heels,” she said.

“It’s simplicity, clarity, cleanliness &tstr; getting that hair out of your face so that your eyes and your words convey your message more clearly,” she said. “We don’t want to fuss up anyone.”

Brzezinski says the process will enable participants to see the changes in the finalists in “real time.”

“I really want the women to step up to themselves. Everyone will get something out of this – all ages, no matter what it is you do, whether you are a lawyer, homemaker, or part-time worker.”

Brzezinski believes Lancaster women are prime candidates to participate.

“Women in your (Lititz Record) readership area are outspoken and have a great work ethic,” she said. “I want to hear some Pennsylvania German accents out there in the audience.”

Those accents are something Brzezinski has heard for the more than two decades she’s shared her life with Hoffer who, she said, was pretty well known in the area in his youth.

“People around these parts know those Hoffer boys,” said Brzezinski. “They were pretty lively guys.”

Her husband Jim worked at Benner’s soda fountain on East Main Street in his youth.

“He was a soda jerk and sold floats for around 10 cents, I think,” Brzezinski said.

Their family enjoys events like the Fourth of July celebration in Lititz Springs Park and forays to the chocolate factory. She said their growing daughters still get a kick out of feeding the ducks in the park.

As for Brzezinski, coming home to Lancaster County is always rejuvenating.

“I have a four-mile jogging loop that I love,” she said. “I love running through the farmlands; it’s a step back and I love to soak in the sights and the smells of the land.”

Donna Reed is a staff writer for the Record Express. She welcomes reader feedback at dreed.eph@lnpnews.com or 717-721-4424. 

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