At age 36, MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle took a risk by moving from her high-paying banking career to one in media — where she had no experience and was warned not to pursue.
“A mentor of mine said, ‘Don’t go back to journalism school,’ ” Ruhle, now 43, tells PEOPLE.
So as she continued to work in the banking industry, Ruhle started doing public speaking to recruit girls to study math and science.
“One day I was giving a speech for a nonprofit called The White House Project, which is a group that was aimed at helping women just advance,” she recalls. “I said I’ve always wanted to work in the media and there was a woman at the table who said, ‘I work at Bloomberg and I think you’d be great.’ ”
The next day, Ruhle met Andy Lack — then the chairman and CEO of Bloomberg Media Group — and began her transition into the world of on-camera news reporting.
“Making the transition to Bloomberg was an easier transition for me because I knew the content so well,” the New Jersey native says. “I went there with two kids. While I was there, I had a third, which is always challenging in a new career.”
Now, as the anchor of two shows on MSNBC and a contributor on the Today show, Ruhle says she’s happier than ever.
“I didn’t expect this,” the MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle host says. “The best part about getting older is I’m actually happier as a 43-year-old than I was a 33-year-old and a 23-year-old because I’m trying to be somebody else and fit in somewhere that I don’t.”
Finding that balance hasn’t come without making demands in the workplace. For example, Ruhle takes her daily 6 a.m. meeting from home so she can spend the mornings with her husband, Andy Hubbard, and three kids.
“For working parents, specifically working moms, everything that does go wrong at home — and that’s obviously a lot — the thing I struggle with is I always blame myself,” Ruhle admits. “I always think, if only I was there, if I saw their face in the morning, or after school. One of the real struggles for women in having careers and families, we don’t have generations before us that were like, she did it, she did it, she did it. I’m just trying to get through the day.”
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Ruhle constantly advocates for working moms on her show and through blog posts on NBC Better. She’s also defended celebrity mom Amy Schumer when mom shamers criticized the comedian for getting back to work after welcoming son Gene in May.
The news anchor hopes to additionally empower stay-at-home moms who want to get back into the workplace, a topic she’s discussed previously on Today. “Moms don’t realize all the work they were doing,” she says. “If you are the head of your PTA, if you are running a kids’ little league team, if you were organizing a charity, if you were just running your family, think about the management and organizational skills.”
At the end of the day, Ruhle knows, “Everybody is trying to take care of their families and live their best life,” she says. “I’m super lucky. I’ve had so many awesome blessings and I want that for the next generation. I get to live the American dream.”
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