Kay Koplovitz, the founder and former chairman and CEO of USA Networks, was the first woman in history to serve as a network president. But getting to that place didn’t come easy, she tells Fortune.
“In my career, I faced many situations where women were not accepted. At Augusta National Golf Club, where I had a contract, women were not allowed to go to the second-floor club,” she recalls, leading her to miss out on a lot of behind-the-scenes networking in the TV industry.
Yet Koplovitz didn’t let that gender be a hindrance. “You just find your way around things. I was never thinking that it was going to be a barrier for me, I was going to find a way around it because I knew if I was to be successful I would have to,” she says.
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Koplovitz didn’t just find a way around things—she paved the way for other women when she founded USA.
“I didn’t want to be the manager of the TV station, and I didn’t want to be the president of the Milwaukee Journal that owned the TV station, I wanted to be president of NBC. You have to draw the picture for yourself of what you believe you really want to do and not let other people define you,” she says.
Watch the other episodes in the Trailblazers series, like this interview with Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, the first woman to ever to lead a U.S. Department of Defense service academy and this interview with Anna Maria Chávez, the CEO of Girl Scouts of America and the first Latina to run the Girl Scouts organization.