Posted by Mary Caraccioli | Filed under Announcement
There are a lot of big personalities working in the television industry. Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to work with some of the biggest personalities in the news business, particularly financial news. Those big personalities don’t always live up to their larger than life image. A clear exception was Mark Haines. Mark became famous on Wall St. and beyond for putting morning financial news on the map with Squawk Box and Squawk on the Street. I had the chance to work with Mark during the early days of money TV on CNBC’s World Business, Squawk’s predecessor. He was a big tough talking guy who came in at 4am carrying a travel coffee mug and wearing gray sweat pants. I was young, but looked liked a juvenile, with braces and wild curly hair. He didn’t relish the fact that he would have to train another newbie.
“OK what are we doing?” he would ask each morning. Occasionally, my reply would be followed by a, “Huh?” He was gruff but never demeaning. Then, about a month into my new job, he walked into the office saying Mary Fay, Mary Fay (his usual greeting for me). Only this morning he stopped a few feet shy of his desk and looked at me. I froze. Mark was a man of routine. He rarely deviated from it. He was supposed to take 4 more steps, put his mug down and then jump on the computer, and bang out his story about money supply. Instead he stopped and was looking at me. “My wife Cindy says good things about you. So you are okay in my book,” he said. That was it. No time for hugs or an explanation of why his wife felt that way. He took four more steps, put his coffee down and started striking the keyboard. But it was at that instant, I knew then and forever more, Mark would have my back. That support helped me grow into the job and strengthened my confidence. I am not sure I ever had the chance to say Thank you. So Mark, thank you for being kind to the newbie producer and showing me the ropes of a tough business. Thank you for your uncompromising attitude toward both guests and bosses. Thank you for showing me that the second half of your on air TV career can actually be way better than the first half. Thanking for showing me that it is not only OK to be yourself, it is imperative. The ayem will never be the same.