DMEXCO21 Interview

In Partnership with DMEXCO 2021


Lori Lizarraga is an Ecuadorian-Mexican-American journalist from Texas. At 24, she became a Murrow and Emmy-award winning international reporter for her 2017 coverage of the Ecuador earthquake. Four years later, she has gone on to report for NBC-affiliates in California and Colorado. In March, Lizarraga published an editorial that ignited a national conversation around representation in news. Her piece, LatinXed: 9NEWS Got Rid of Three Latina Reporters This Past Year, Including Me, has seen tremendous outcomes for the media industry, including new standards of immigration coverage at more than 60 TV stations across the country.


We sat recently down with Lori to ask her view on leadership in crisis.

2.) At the start of the year, separate studies conducted by Harvard University and the University of Liverpool concluded that countries led by women seem to be weathering the COVID-19 crisis better. What advantages do female leaders have over others in crisis situations?

In my life I have grown up and surrounded myself with many strong women. In my experience, women think two, three and four steps ahead. We can manage unexpected or worst-case scenarios without panicking. We see a problem and immediately start working around it or plowing right through it to find the solution or an alternative. In fact, many of us are solving miniature crises in our own lives or for our own families daily. It stands to reason that those skills would serve women well during the pandemic. 

3.) The fact that the way women communicate is an important factor in navigating crises has also been highlighted, so what lessons can men learn from women here?

Many of us understand that communication is a process that is most powerful when both listening and learning are involved. When done correctly, that means taking feedback, elevating good ideas, correcting mistakes and improving procedures – not just nodding your head and allowing someone to “feel heard.” When it comes to communication, everyone is different, and I think everyone brings something important to the table. When there is a good balance of women and men from a wide age range who represent a large pool of diverse ethnicities and backgrounds and all those voices feel empowered and valuable, the level of productive and effective communication will be at its peak. 

4.) Women are often accused of failing to put themselves forward for management positions and of holding back when it comes to promotion. Are women too self-critical, does this stop them from progressing and how can we combat stereotypical prejudices?

If women aren’t going out for promotion, we should look at the system that has kept them from being elevated for so long. If there isn’t a real opportunity for a woman to succeed against her male counterparts for a promotion, why try? If a woman isn’t certain that her new title would be truly respected or give her more authority in the workplace, does she even want it? If a woman’s motherhood will be used against her instead of being seen as the powerful role it is, it’s fair for her to question whether that promotion will really help or hurt her. All those scenarios are still very real problems for many women in many industries across the world. 

The professional world has a long way to go to truly give women the credit we deserve, and the paycheck to match. As those improvements continue to be made, women leaders will continue to rise to the top!