Women in Business Q&A: Wendy Williams

Mother, wife, media mogul, entrepreneur, performer and best-selling author, Wendy Williams is best known for "The Wendy Williams Show," hailed a "breakthrough in daytime" in 2009 by The New York Times. The show, syndicated nationally and broadcast on BET at midnight, now airs in 52 countries. Currently in its sixth season, it has been renewed through 2017.

"The Wendy Williams Show" is the provocative, must-see talk show in daytime. Taped live in New York City, viewers delight over Williams' distinctive and entertaining personality, as well as a diverse mix of interviews with celebrity guests from television, film, music and sports. Popular segments include "Hot Topics," in which she delivers her own unpredictable, honest and authentic take on the most talked about headlines and "Ask Wendy," in which she offers real advice to audience members looking for guidance to everyday problems.

"The Wendy Williams Show" is a reflection of its star and host; the vibrant colors and upbeat soundtrack matches Williams' own personality and spirited sense of humor. The focus on entertainment and pop culture reflects Williams' passion for those topics. Hailed by the New York Post as "daytime TV's favorite guilty pleasure," Williams' interviews countless celebrity guests from the perspective of a fan, as she asks the questions that her audience wants to know.She was named one of the "35 Most Powerful People in Media" by The Hollywood Reporter in 2012 and 2013. Williams was also the first talk show host to donate items to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in February 2014.

Prior to achieving success in daytime television, Williams built a devoted fan base throughout a successful 23-year career in radio. "The Wendy Williams Experience" was Williams' top-rated, daily radio show. Syndicated nationally, it aired on WBLS in New York and was listened to by an audience of more than 12 million people. One of the most popular personalities in radio, Williams was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in November of 2009 - one of only a handful of women with that honor.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I didn't have the easiest childhood. I was never the popular girl in school growing up. I was always the lone black girl or the lone fat girl or the long tall girl so that has made me more compassionate to all people. It also gave me the drive and ambition to go after my dreams in a big way.

What have the highlights and challenges been hosting your own show?
One of the biggest challenges I have is keeping conversation with my celebrity guest within seven-minute segments. I'm a talker and I'm curious about human nature. Seven minutes is never long enough but I don't want to get cut off by a commercial. When I had my radio show I had four hours a day to talk and interview people, now I have a one-hour show with commercial breaks and that has always been my biggest challenge.

What are the highlights of having my own show? Where do I start? Every day's a highlight, are you kidding me? I have my own talk show! The announcer says, "Here's Wendy," the doors open and I throw my hands in the air and all 500 teeth...now that's real!

The highlight of my day is "Here's Wendy." It's the most amazing experience and I'm the only one who gets to experience it because I'm the only one walking through those doors. My heart races each and every day, I have the best job in the world!

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in television?
Take some elocution lessons, you can joke with Ebonics but the truth is, nothing beats the King's English. Learning how to speak properly and the art of delivery can take you very far in life!

What is the most important lesson you've learned in your career to date?
That's a hard question but I would have to say the best lesson is, stay true to yourself! It might seem simple but it's harder to do than you think. You can't listen to what your friends or your siblings say, it's important that you listen to yourself.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
It's all about prioritizing. Family and personal life always come first and career second. Also, despite what people may think, I don't get too close to the flame of celebrity life. I don't have celebrities in my phone or on my speed dial. When I finish The Wendy Williams Show I head back home to New Jersey. I like to be home with my family.

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
I think the biggest issue for women in the work place is men! Most times men will mistake our hormones for weakness. When we raise our voice they assume we are bitchy or on our period but when men get loud or scream they are demanding attention and being authoritative.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Unfortunately, mentorship has not had an effect on me or made a difference in my life. When I was growing up you didn't have access to radio hosts or TV personality like you do these days. All I knew is that I wanted to be a newscaster or a radio personality since I was young; I was very focused and determined to get my foot in the door.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
The female I most admire is my mother. She is an amazing woman. She was a career-driven woman raising three children, which is no easy task. She has been married over 60 years now and she always has beautiful nails, a nice figure. She knows how to cook a great meal and most importantly she is as smart as a whip when it come to dealing with business. She is my role model and the woman I look up to the most!

What do you want to personally and professionally accomplish in the next year?
Wow, there are a few things that I would like to accomplish in my professional career. I would like for my production company, Wendy Williams Productions, to have at least two more projects next year and I would like to have a major creative or endorsement deal in the next year. When it comes to my personal life, I want what I think everyone strives for. I want my family to stay healthy and happy!