Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Moment

Choosing Journalism over Politics

Choosing Journalism over Politics

More From Maria

In this video

Shriver talks about her career choice to cover the news instead of being the subject of the news.

Maria's Biography

Cause of Choice: Special Olympics and Alzheimer's Association

Most Meaningful Piece of Advice:  From my mother. “Look at your life as a marathon, not as a sprint.”

Proudest Accomplishment: My four children.

First Paying Job: Shucking oysters in a bar in Georgetown.

 

Born into the public eye, Maria Shriver forged a path of her own as a network journalist, author, and in an unforeseen turn, First Lady of California. Shriver grew up outside of Washington, D.C., the daughter of Sargent Shriver, Director of the Peace Corps, and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics and sister of President John F. Kennedy. Eunice encouraged Shriver to play football and baseball with her four brothers, preparing her to succeed in what she deemed a “man’s world.”
 
During her father’s 1972 Vice Presidential candidacy on the McGovern-Shriver ticket, Shriver rode in the back of the plane with the journalists. It was there she discovered love of journalism. Despite being “raised to be in the front of the plane” with the politicians, Shriver decided she preferred the back of the plane with the press, informing the public about issues instead of being the news herself.
 
Shriver’s upbringing prepared her to enter a news industry still dominated by men, and fight for not only equal pay, but for her share of hard news stories. After graduating from Georgetown University, she began her career as a news writer and producer for Philadelphia’s KYW-TV. In 1978, she started working for Baltimore’s WJZ-TV (where she met long-time friend and colleague, Oprah Winfrey). By 1983, Shriver began reporting for CBS News and eventually landed a co-anchor spot on CBS Morning News.
 
When CBS Morning News was cancelled, Shriver worked her way up again at NBC, ultimately feeling the pressure to leave her network anchor jobs to take care of her children. During that time, she worked with then NBC President, Michael Gartner, on flexible solutions to continue work while being a mother. Together they crafted a series of specials including First Person with Maria Shriver, Cutting Edge with Maria Shriver, and Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, and a longtime contributor to Dateline.
 
Despite her hesitations about public office, when her then husband wanted to run for Governor of California, Shriver supported the campaign with the intention of continuing her job at NBC afterward the election. When Arnold Schwarzenegger won the election, NBC, fearing a conflict of interest with her new role as First Lady, requested she take a leave of absence.
 
She revamped the Governor’s Conference for Women into the Governor and First Lady’s Conference for Women, transforming it into one of the leading women’s conferences in the world, attracting more than 30,000 attendees in 2010; created The Minerva Awards to honor women for their remarkable legacies of service; and spearheaded the landmark Shriver Reports.
 
Partnering with the Center for America Progress, in 2009, Shriver published the first wide-ranging study on the status of the American woman since 1961. She followed it up the next year with a report on Alzheimer’s as a women’s issue, and is now investigating poverty and women.
 
Shriver’s work has earned her Emmys, a Peabody award, and recognitions from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for developing a “television show with a conscience.”
 
Shriver has authored six best-selling books, including Ten Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Went Out Into the Real World and Just Who Will You Be?

Related Videos

Maria Klawe
Maria Klawe
President, Harvey Mudd College

Maria Klawe the fifth president of Harvey Mudd College. A renowned mathematician, computer scientist and scholar, Klawe is the first woman to lead the College since its 1955 found...

Misty Copeland
Misty Copeland
Ballet Dancer

Misty Copeland began her ballet career at age 13. Two years later, she had won first place in the Music Center Spotlight Awards, and began her studies at the Lauridsien Ballet Cent...

Wendy Clark
Wendy Clark
Sr. Marketing Executive, Coca-Cola

The Coca-Cola Company's plans to double its revenue by 2020, and Wendy Clark, SVP of integrated marketing communications and capabilities, is at the heart of making that happen...

Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Author & Co-Founder of Ms. Magazine

Women's activist Letty Cottin Pogrebin is a founding editor of Ms. magazine, co-founder of the National Women's Political Caucus, and the author of 10 books. A graduate...