Accomplished Career Women
Devotion To Family
HY ME? The four accomplished ladies who
received an Outstanding Mother Award in May at the Pierre Hotel
in New York appeared overwhelmed. As emcee Mindy Grossman,
CEO of HSN Home Shopping Network, presented awards to Meredith
Vieira, Liz Rodbell, Joanna Coles and Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger, each
wondered if they really deserved such an honor from the National
Mother’s Day Committee.
Meredith Vieira, host
and producer of the NBCUniversal syndicated daytime program,
The Meredith Vieira Show, understood why she was being
recognized. Every day on the street, she said, someone toots and
shouts "Hey, you mother!"
She said her priorities
have always been her husband and her three kids. In fact, when
she was offered a job at 60 Minutes, she brought her
Ben with her to the interview with producer Don Hewitt.
Ben, now 23, is a reporter in Spokane, Oregon.
Vieira has been married
to CBS News journalist Richard M. Cohen since 1986. She
said, "I fell in love with a man who was legally blind, so he
thought I was good looking. But he can sense big breasts a mile
With two teenage
daughters at home,
Liz Rodbell affirmed that "being a mother is the most
important job in the world" even though she’s president of
Hudson’s Bay and Lord & Taylor, dividing her time between dual
headquarters in New York and Toronto.
Joanna Coles, who is
editor in chief of Cosmopolitan and editorial director of
Hearst Magazines, said she’s been called a mother before "but
it’s usually followed by a different phrase."
Coles arrived here from
the UK in 1997 as The Guardian’s New York bureau chief,
followed by a stint as New York columnist for The Times of
London. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, author and
PEN American president Peter Godwin. She said they have
two sons, "an heir and a spare," Thomas and Hugo.
When she was nominated
for the award, her 13-year-old Hugo wanted to know what the
criterion was and why nobody had asked him.
A similar scenario
unfolded at the home of Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger. Born to a
Turkish father and English mother, Dee grew up in Rhode Island
and started her career as a Ford model in Paris. She married
Tommy Hilfiger in 2008, combining her two children with his
four, from their previous marriages. A year later the Ocleppo-Hilfiger
brood welcomed a seventh child.
In 2012 she became the
designer and creative director of Dee Ocleppo luxury handbags.
When she told her husband, Tommy Hilfiger, and their
children that she was nominated for an Outstanding Mother Award,
her eldest son Alex scoffed, "No way, Mom!"
Ocleppo assured the
emcee, Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN Home Shopping Network,
that her award will be prominently displayed "so I can remind my
children on a daily basis who they are with. And also to be able
to say ‘Way!’"
Being a mother is the
ultimate award, Ocleppo said. "I represent approximately 27
hours of grueling labor, 1350 hours of lost sleep, 15 emergency
room visits, 2030 diaper changes, 4120 meals prepared, 55 vomit
cleanings, more driving hours than a NY taxi and Uber combined,
and finally the ultimate sacrifice—9 trips to Disney!"
Proceeds from the
luncheon are earmarked for Save the Children Foundation’s U.S.
programs which provide resources for children to break the cycle
Mark Shriver is senior vice president for strategic
initiatives for the charity.