Image Credits: Carrie Sheffield
Carrie launched Bold on November 30th, 2015. As a founder of this new media start-up, she is a perfect testament on how conservative women can and should rise up to be leaders in their prospective fields. In addition to her duties at Bold, Carrie Sheffield is a Salon contributor, senior contributor for Opportunity Lives and adviser to Bustle. She appears on Fox News, Fox Business Network, MSNBC, HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, Fusion, CNN, and The Blaze. Carrie has written for The Wall Street Journal, TIME, USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, American Spectator and Daily Caller. We were lucky enough to have Carrie answer some questions about her new venture, dealing with backlash, and being a conservative woman in the professional arena.
Can you tell us a little bit about your publication, Bold?
Bold is a bi-partisan, next-gen news and culture platform. Bold is filling a void in society and the media marketplace: in addition to connecting with traditional conservatives, it also gives voice to conservatives who have historically been left out of the movement–women, African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans, LGBTs, and many others. Beyond politics we offer inspiring stories about trailblazers, business startups, people who boldly break outside the confines placed around them. You can Read more about Bold in CNN, Columbia Journalism Review, and watch our Bold Blendhighlight reel and Facebook Live programming. Our Bold TV concept of “Morning Joe for Millennials.” My “Joe” is Clay Aiken, though we swap ideologies. I bring the more conservative voice, and Clay (yes, of American Idol, but also a former Democratic nominee for a Congressional bid in his home state of NC) brings the liberal. Here’s one of our episodes.
We are working with Al Roker, who has his own digital streaming empire separate from his Today Show co-hosting duties. In this election season of anger and vitriol we’re trying to bring a thoughtful and humanizing approach to these topics. To begin, we’re piloting live once a week on Friday mornings from 8:30-9:30am ET. We are trying to bring all voices to the table for a thoughtful conversation, from politics to culture, tech/business, charities etc. We’ve already hosted guests from Future Female Leaders (and we hope for many more!), Black Enterprise, POLITICO, Bustle, Today.com, Silicon Harlem, Contently, New York City Wired & lots of DC policy shops. We hope you’ll join us!
What inspired you to launch Bold?
Bold was inspired by a lifetime of work in journalism and finance. I was a founding reporter at POLITICO and I saw what it takes to launch a household brand from scratch. I was also lead bond analyst on a multi-billion dollar debt portfolio at Moody’s and helped rate a substantial credit portfolio at Goldman Sachs as well. My time in finance gave me the confidence to launch Bold even though I’d never launched my own startup before. But I saw a tremendous gap in the marketplace and I took that leap of faith.
What do you see for BOLD in the future?
My hope is that in five years, Bold has grown to become a household brand, bringing people together through laughter while also grappling with the serious issues of our time. For me that means:
1) Substantial growth in web audience, social presence & TV content partnerships.
2) National impact on public policy discourse.
3) Propelling the careers of Bold staff & contributors.
4) Enriching audiences to challenge sclerotic ways of thinking.
5) Empowering bold men & women around the globe.
Who is your political role model?
We launched Bold on November 30, 2015. November 30th is Winston Churchill’s birthday (also happens to be Clay Aiken, my co-anchor’s birthday too!). For me, Churchill was that perfect blend of head and heart as a conservative. They say he was old-fashioned and that because he was conservative he conserved the best of Western Civilization. They say it took at 19th Century man to save the 20th Century from itself, but I think Churchill was a 20th Century man who brilliantly understood human nature and human history. I very much admire Churchill, and in America today I very much admire House Speaker Paul Ryan. I was able to interview him this year at CPAC, which was an honor. He has that unique blend of head and heart. I think today’s conservatives need both head and heart, yet we also need to find ways to work in the 21st century in ways that combine conservative ideas in synch with women’s empowerment and civil rights.
What is your definition of what a conservative is?
For me, conservatives seek to empower the individual rather than the bureaucracy. We are clear-eyed about the many negative unintended consequences of an expansive state, how it stifles innovation and free enterprise, obstructing human flourishing. We want to protect human ingenuity and individual liberty. Our American Forefathers laid the blueprint for us to seek happiness—a revolutionary concept not accessible to the common man or woman elsewhere amid the world’s oligarchies and dictatorships. And while certainly our history is besotted with sins and error, we are a society that has constantly marched toward an undeniable Exceptionalism. We are a society that is wealthier, more generous, productive and creative than all others. We are a nation that preserves global stability through robust military presence that does not seek conquest, rather cooperation. We are a nation that empowers women, people of color, the disabled and the vulnerable to achievements not seen anywhere else. These are not national accomplishments listed in boastfulness, rather in gratitude. I am profoundly grateful that I live in this land, and I am indebted to those who made enormous sacrifices for my gifts and freedoms. As a conservative, I seek to preserve these gifts and freedoms.
Have you received push-back in the professional arena for being a conservative woman? If so, how did you deal with it?
I see myself at the human level first and at the political level second. In that sense, I see my heart and worth as a human being as not determined by an insult on camera or what someone says on a blog about me. There is a business book called Antifragile By Nassim Nicholas Taleb. He made that word up to say that in the English language, we don’t have an equivalent to the opposite of fragile. You could say resilient, but that’s not the same. If you stamp fragile on a box of glasses it means “don’t shake this” because you would damage it. But if you stamp antifragile, it means “shake this” because it will make it stronger. Resilience says “I will bounce back” not “I want you to shake me.” It’s the idea that everything that happens—good and bad—is just a thing. Failure is in your mind–it’s something we manufacture ourselves, it doesn’t exist in the periodic table of tangible elements. As a conservative woman I know that the pushback is simply my training ground.
You’re often seen on TV and we know that brings a whole new level of scrutiny, how do you deal with negative comments you might receive on social media?
I’ve learned that our reactions to everything that happens to us is what creates and determines our lives—not the events themselves. So any negativity someone may be trying to send to me is simply an opportunity for me to decide if I receive it that way. What you deem as failure is not a failure at all unless you allow it to be. In the same way that a gymnast can strengthen his/her muscles in the gym, you can strengthen your mental response to something by pushing yourself. If you go to the gym and you’re not stressing your muscle—not tearing those nodes inside the fiber, then you’re not doing anything. Mental strength is the same idea. If you’re not pushing yourself, if you’re not failing, you’re not growing. If I’m not facing push-back for my work then I’m not having impact. If someone is calling me out on a factual error I need to fix that, but otherwise this is an arena in the war of ideas.
What advice would you give to young women wanting to make a difference?
I gained my experience through attention to details and a burning curiosity, through never being satisfied without knowing the answer to “Why”? By the name itself, I chose Bold as a message and value statement, an encouragement. Fortune favors the bold, the ancient proverb tells us. I said in a video the day we launched Bold, to be bold means to find opportunities where others see doubt and challenges. I would highly recommend to any young person to study the philosophy and the lives of the Stoics of Ancient Greece and Rome. I have written about them in Forbes and elsewhere. Among other powerful ideas, the Stoics taught a concept called Amor Fati, or Love of Fate. They believed that life is truly a matter of interpretation, that the trajectory of your life is based on the stories you tell yourself about “good” or “bad” things that happen to you. So you must love and embrace adversity, you must adore those who hate you, you must love everything that happens to you. You must also realize that the “good” things in life are temporary and fleeting–the only thing permanent in life is impermanence. Once you have internalized this you will be able to conquer any obstacle in journalism.
More tangibly, as a journalist I’d recommend striving for internships. Can’t get an internship? Start your own blog, crank out your own social media. Don’t be afraid to strike out on your own if a company’s not smart enough to see your value. You are the the master of your fate. Don’t ever forget that.