Miss District of Columbia. That’s the first claim to fame for broadcast journalist Sonya Gavankar, who was crowned in 1997. In the years since, she’s become a reporter here in Washington, DC — and is also the “Face of the Museum.”
We talked with Sonya at American University when she asked us to help judge the 2014 contestants vying for this year’s title of Miss District of Columbia.
It was an exciting day, and in between events we had the opportunity to sit down with Sonya to ask her about the pageant, her career, and advice she has for other women who hope to follow in her footsteps.
1. Tell us about the Miss District of Columbia pageant. You were a contestant when you were in college at American University. What made you want to participate?
2. As Miss District of Columbia, you had the opportunity to go to the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City. What was that like?
3. You are still very active with the girls running for Miss DC. What role do you play, and what keeps you engaged?
4. This, of course, is something you do on the side. Your day job is as the Face of the Newseum. Tell us about your work there.
5. The Newseum moved several years ago to its current prime real estate location at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown DC. But you started with the organization back when it was located in a smaller building in Rosslyn, VA. How has the Newseum changed over the years?
6. You also work as a reporter — and you have a baby boy, Peter, who is less than a year old. How do you juggle it all?
7. What was the major crossroads in your career? How did you handle it?
8. Looking back, what advice would you have for your 25-year-old self?
9. What do you love most about being a woman in the business world?
10. What do you hate about being a woman in the business world — and what would you change if you could?
11. What’s your top leadership lesson for other women? Do you live by that lesson?
12. You are clearly at the top of your career — what have you not yet accomplished?
We leave you with a parting that embodies what Sonya represents, and hope it will inspire you as you go through your day. “You learn most from teaching others.” — Chinese proverb
You are watching the Truly Amazing Women TV Show. I’m your host, Hope Katz Gibbs. Here’s to your incredible, indelible inkandescent success!
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