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Earlier this month, my longtime friend Gwen Ifill died at the age of 61. My sadness was met with reminders of her incredible legacy and the work she leaves behind. She exemplified extraordinary courage and inspired countless individuals, especially women and girls.
Gwen was a groundbreaking journalist whose career spanned three decades as she covered politics, the White House, and most recently co-anchored “PBS NewsHour.” She broke barriers for African-American women on several fronts in the male-dominated field of journalism. In 2013, Gwen became part of the first all-female anchor team on network nightly news as she and Judy Woodruff co-anchored “PBS NewsHour.”
I met Gwen at business school in the late 1970s, and we stayed connected through the years. She wanted to learn about how businesses worked so that she could be a better reporter. She succeeded. Gwen will be remembered not only for her professional accolades but for her genuine compassion. She dedicated her life to service by telling stories, asking questions, solving problems, challenging the norm, and staying true to her beliefs. Gwen lived a life of action and will be deeply missed.
In memory of Gwen, I am making a donation to Girl Scouts of Alaska, contributing to the mission I wake up and work toward every day: Building girls of courage, confidence, and character. Thank you for leading the way, Gwen. Alaska’s girls will continue in your footsteps of making the world a better place.