Adweek’s 4th annual Women’s Issue is out this week, and it features several women leaders in media and marketing. TVNewser decided to piggyback off the magazine’s female-focus in the form of a series of Q&As with some of the top women in business news.
First up, Sandra Smith. Smith is a reporter for Fox Business Network and part of a rotating panel on the high-rated Fox News program Outnumbered, which airs on weekdays at 12 p.m. ET.
TVNewser: Thanks for taking the time, Sandra. Talk to us about your career path.
Smith: Well I started my career as a research associate and then became a trader. Later, I took on an enormous responsibility of providing up-to-the-minute, up-to-the-second analysis on stocks, commodities, and then looking at events that could possibly affect the price of stocks and commodities. That was my daily existence. Within a few months of me working at this particular firm, they said, “You might be great to represent us on television!” I started going on financial TV networks, doing hits and talking about what I was seeing over our trade desks. I’ve always been a numbers girl, math is my expertise. I did a couple of television hits, and then all of a sudden I had producers from various networks calling me.
The whole process was very organic. I ended up meeting with Bloomberg Television, and they had some very interesting things to say. I decided to make a huge career change, moving to television after working in the institutional trading world, a field in which I had studied and achieved all of these fancy licenses. It was a very difficult decision, but that was my big break. I knew that I was really really good at something, and that was perceived by other firms and I got hired away into television. I was at Bloomberg TV for less than a year before Fox called and said they were launching a business network. I arrived here in October 2007 and the rest is history.
TVNewser: What is the most interesting story you’ve covered during your time at Fox Business and Fox News?
Smith: The financial crisis. I left Bloomberg right at the peak of the bull market, which was nuts because everything happened right when we launched Fox Business Network. It was an insane time to be a television financial journalist. Then came Bernie Madoff. I was literally THE reporter on Bernie Madoff. That was my beat. I was standing outside of his apartment every single day. I was out there starting at 6 a.m., and I didn’t leave until 8 p.m or 9 p.m. Live shots all day, waiting for him to leave the apartment. I was on that story more than anyone. I was standing on cardboard boxes because my feet were freezing. I chased this guy everywhere… he got in a car, and we would get in a car and chased him down to his jail cell. That was just a huge story for me. Now, of course it’s the 2016 election. I know that one day I’ll look back on my career and know that we covered one of the biggest elections in our nation’s history. This event has really sucked everyone in, even those who were never really into politics. It’s awesome for us because it has changed the way we cover elections as well. You have a whole new audience that didn’t even care about Republicans and Democrats before this started. It has been fun.
TVNewser: Who is your dream interview?
Smith: Wow. Well, we are about to see a new president take over and run this country. Obviously I would love to secure an interview with the next president of the United States in any capacity. That would be excellent. That being said, there are some a major world leaders who would be fascinating to sit down with and I would love to get inside their mind. Meeting with the heads of Middle Eastern countries while covering the commodities markets, oil markets and the Saudi government. There are just immense things happening in the Middle East right now and it would be really something to be able to get inside of their heads.
TVNewser: What are some of your hobbies outside of the office, when you’re off-camera?
Smith: I wear a lot of different hats at work. My hats outside of work are “mom,” “wife,” “daughter,” “friend,” “sister.” I’m a runner, going back to my LSU days when I ran track and field. That’s my big thing. Considering the election cycle right now, I haven’t been running as much as I’d like to, but it’s definitely my release.
TVNewser: Do you have any advice for young, female reporters who are looking to take that next step?
Smith: I get this question almost everyday, if not every week. My advice is: “Go be good at something.” If someone looks at my path and then comes to me and says “I want to be a TV star,” I say, “Well that wasn’t what I really set out to do.” First, I was really good at something. I was really good at math. I was really good in the trading and finance world. Being really good at something makes you valuable in so many different ways. Being really good at something presents so many opportunities. Whether it’s your personal endeavors or professional endeavors, it’s important to master something. It can be something small or something big, but opportunity will find you if you have an expertise in something. That’s my advice, and I truly believe that.