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Leading Ladies Spotlight: Abby Eden

As the end of the year approaches, we want to thank all the amazing women in the community who have shared their journeys as leaders. Our last amazing professional of the year to highlight is a news anchor and reporter at Fox 4 News in Kansas City. I am happy to share my discussion with Ms. Abby Eden, an award-winning journalist and public speaker.


Interview


Kripa Gauba:

How have you gotten to where you are today in your leadership position?


Abby Eden:

There is no substitute for hard work, lots of practice, and determination. When I was first starting out in my career, I was the first to volunteer for extra shifts or to stay late. Being the person to take on the work that others didn’t want gave me the experience I needed to stand out. Without the experience I gained quickly by working long days and long weeks, I wouldn’t have moved into the position of primetime anchor at the age of 26 in Kansas City. Also - if you ask other people to work long hours as a leader, then they have to know that you are also willing to put in the work.


KG:

What would you say is your leadership style?


AE:

Leading by example. In my opinion, the best way to gain respect is to quietly lead by example. Talk only gets leaders so far, we are all bombarded by information all the time. When I see a leader doing things that are inspiring, I get inspired.


KG:

As a female leader, what do you think has been the most significant barrier in your career? Have you been confronted with any gender-related roadblocks?


AE:

I think there’s a lack of understanding that being a Mom is a super power. Sometimes women get underestimated, especially when they decide to start a family. A Mom can be extra efficient with enhanced problem solving and evaluation skills from their “real life” experiences. Yes- their time is limited, which often makes them great at prioritization and efficiency. I don’t think I’ve been affected professionally by being a mom or my gender, but I do think there can be a societal hesitation when a woman starts a family that somehow they’ll be less effective as a professional as well.


KG:

Across your entire career path, has there been any one pivotal or very significant moment that made you realize that what you're doing really mattered?


AE:

There have been too many to count. I’ve met a number of young people along the way who’ve decided to become journalists because of an interaction we’ve had. That really touches me. I’ve also had the opportunity to cover many events and stories throughout my career that made a real difference in people’s lives. I am reminded of how important journalism is to our society daily.


KG:

What do you think is the greatest risk that you've taken in your professional career?


AE:

I left my life-long career and went into the corporate world. That was a gigantic risk. I completely changed careers, industries, hours, and my lifestyle. I had been wanting to make the change for a long time. Being a journalist was all I’d ever done. I wanted to see what else was out there- I knew there was a whole other world my friends and family knew about that I didn’t. I’d never worked with Excel spreadsheets, rarely worked with Microsoft Word, and the last Power Point I’d put together was in college. I thought it was time to make a change while I was still young enough to have a second career. I also hoped more normal hours would make it easier to spend time with my children.


I learned so much while making this massive change. It was such a positive experience for me. I met wonderful people, saw how a corporate environment operates, and even learned a lot about PowerPoint. (Still haven’t mastered Excel.) The most important thing was that I learned about myself. I learned about my passions and my strengths. I learned that I wasn’t ready to leave the career I’d worked for my entire life. It was a huge risk, and I’m so glad I took it. I also learned that life is what you make of it. I now miss mornings with my kids again, but I know a lot of parents make sacrifices to be working parents. I also know as a woman who grew up with parents who worked a lot, that kids learn from seeing their parents work and from parents who follow their passions. I hope my kids know I work because I love them AND I love my career.


KG:

How do you find time to take care of yourself and maintain good mental health?


AE:

This is a tough one. And the truth is- I just do. There are days the laundry doesn’t get done, and dinner is peanut butter sandwiches. I used to really stress to get everything done before I’d take time for myself, but a health scare about a year ago really refocused me. I learned that what’s most important is to take care of my own physical and mental health and to prioritize it. I’m a better employee, a better friend, a better spouse, and a better parent when I do those things. That’s not just a nice sentiment either. It took a lot to retrain my brain to make me a healthier person overall- now it’s my job to protect my mental health for the wellbeing of my children and their future children. My kids will learn how to protect their mental and physical health by watching their parents prioritize it.


KG:

What is one piece of advice that you would either give to your younger self or just to young women out there who are starting their own leadership journeys?


AE:

Do the hard things. Don’t take the easiest path. It may not feel like it now, but somehow- your hard work will be noticed. Your reputation as the person who’s willing to take on a challenge will get you to your goals fast.


Find the people who are willing to help along the way. Those may be more senior leaders, peers, or people who are just starting out. Know who is genuinely willing to help you get to where you want to go, guard your relationships with them, and ASK for HELP.

Also - be willing to give help. Help others who are relying on you if you can. If you can’t, be honest, but where it’s possible, giving others the help they need will help you too.

Follow your passion. What drives you? What fills your time when you’re not “working?” If you find that you enjoy watching 60 Minutes, maybe you should consider a career in journalism, or if you find you love being outdoors- find a career that allows you to go outside. Whatever fuels you in your “downtime,” should be a part of your career path. That will allow you to pursue a career the includes your passion- and it’ll make you happier down the road.


Closing

Leadership knows no boundaries. We encourage each of you to embrace your unique qualities and strengths, knowing that you, too, have the power to shape your community and create a lasting impact. GirlsLead looks forward to bringing you more inspiring stories and conversations that will continue to empower our leadership abilities.


 

About Abby


Abby Eden is a Morning Anchor for Fox 4 News in Kansas City, the most-watched morning newscast in KC. Her work in journalism has won many awards, including a Regional Murrow Award for investigative reporting, multiple Regional Emmy Awards, and a Barbara Jordan Media Award. She is passionate about telling stories that educate and impact people in the community.

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