In 1975, Ella T. Grasso was elected the 83rd Governor of Connecticut. Beginning with her inspiration to today, several women at TEGNA’s FOX61 in leadership positions are vital to daily operations and successes. Director of Sales, Eileen Armas, details how Kristin Payne, Strategic HR Business Partner; Lucia Suarez-Sang, Director of Digital Content; Elizabeth Salvatore, Community Marketing Manager; and Local Sales Managers Janet Robinson and Michelle Mulligan should be celebrated for Women’s History Month.
By Eileen Armas, Director of Sales at WTIC in Connecticut
The first women Governor in Connecticut, Ella T. Grasso, was a determined and fearless leader that battled many storms, literally and figuratively. In fact, President Carter referred to Grasso as “one of the most prominent women in this country; she had great strength, skill, and when required, toughness.”
As an amazing, dedicated Connecticut public servant, she began her political career in 1952 when she was elected to the Connecticut General Assembly. In that role, she became the first woman elected Floor Leader. In 1958 Ella was elected as Connecticut’s Secretary of State. She served in that role until 1970. In 1970 and 1972, she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
She was elected the 83rd Governor of Connecticut in 1975. She was the first woman to hold a state governorship based only on her own merits. During her two-term run as Governor, she faced budgetary issues, a gas shortage, and a major blizzard. She served Connecticut until she was forced to resign over health issues in 1980. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan. In addition, she was a member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
WTIC’s Women’s Connection to Grasso
Grasso’s legacy and the memory of a strong female are still alive and well today at TEGNA’s FOX61 in Hartford (WTIC-TV). That’s because WTIC-TV Hartford was originally going to be launched in 1984 as WETG-TV in her memory. Although ultimately, the station went on the air as WTIC, they celebrated Grasso’s memory at sign-off every night with clips of her at work while playing the Star-Spangled Banner. The daily sign-off ended with a mention that the station was dedicated to Grasso’s memory.
As the station’s Director of Sales, it’s exciting to think that the origins of our station were dedicated to a strong female public servant and mother. It motivates us all to pursue our dreams and impact our communities. Beginning with the inspiration of Ella T. Grasso to today, the women employees at WTIC/WCCT are very impactful on our daily operations and successes.
The station has had many strong female leaders in its past and present. Current female leaders include myself; Kristin Payne, HR Business Partner; Lucia Suarez-Sang, Director of Digital Content; Elizabeth Salvatore, Community Marketing Manager; and Local Sales Managers Janet Robinson and Michelle Mulligan.
In celebrating Women’s History Month, this quote from the late Grasso exemplifies its meaning:
“Women are a powerful component of society, and they should use their power to secure legislation, programs, and employment opportunities that are responsive to the needs of women. Women have an abundance of talent, experience, and judgment. It’s vital that these rich resources are fully utilized in government and our political system.”
We as women can use this quote as inspiration to fuel our motivation to maximize our contributions to our businesses, towns, states, and country.”
What Does This Mean for TEGNA’s Advertising Partners?
A commitment to a diverse employee population is essential. TEGNA has made that commitment.
“The initiatives we began implementing in 2020, with input from our D&I Working Group, have put us on a solid path to reaching our long-term goal of ensuring all TEGNA stations and business units are as diverse as the communities we serve,” says Grady Tripp, TEGNA’s Chief Diversity Officer.
This diverse employee population gives us insight into reaching and engaging with a diverse audience. TEGNA’s commitment to engaging with a diverse audience through our station’s local news and community outreach continues to drive broadcast viewership. According to a 2023 TVB study, viewers spend almost double the time with broadcast TV (3:37) compared to cable TV (1:54). Our ability to target and deliver on your brand’s desired audience will drive success. Advertising in trusted TEGNA content aligns your brand and drives results.
Let’s get in touch if you’re thinking of amplifying your brand’s TV efforts or joining TEGNA affiliates to serve the greater good of our communities.