New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, who twice took office after a man’s scandal, promises to ‘never abuse’ her position

New York Governor Kathy Hochul standing in front of a geometric backdrop and behind a lectern.
N.Y. Gov. Kathy Hochul in a surprise appearance at Fortune's Most Powerful Women dinner.
Rebecca Greenfield for Fortune

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! TikTok influencers are taking on retail, 50% of U.K. women gamers experience harassment online, and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul reflects on her political rise. The Broadsheet will be off on Monday for Memorial Day in the U.S.—we’ll be back in your inboxes on Tuesday.

– Party politics. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has seen it all in politics. The former lieutenant governor and congresswoman took office in 2021 after her ex-boss Andrew Cuomo resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment. 

It wasn’t the first time she rose to higher heights following a man’s scandal; she won a 2011 special election to earn her seat in Congress after former New York Rep. Chris Lee resigned amid a Craigslist-messaging controversy. 

Hochul’s 2021 appointment made her New York’s first female governor. Then, in 2022, she became New York’s first elected female governor when she won a full term in office. 

Rising through Albany’s old boys’ club to ultimately earn a historical appointment under less-than-ideal conditions has given Hochul a wealth of insight into how politicians operate. Stereotypes, true or not, abound about politicians and especially female ones. 

We heard the governor’s perspective on these themes this week at a Fortune Most Powerful Women dinner in New York City. She joined us Wednesday night—in a surprise appearance—to speak to a group of top female executives; we were also joined by MSNBC president Rashida Jones for an interview. 

New York Governor Kathy Hochul standing in front of a geometric backdrop and behind a lectern.
N.Y. Gov. Kathy Hochul in a surprise appearance at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women dinner.
Rebecca Greenfield for Fortune

There’s a “perception of politicians being a certain way,” Hochul acknowledged, without naming specifics. But “it doesn’t have to be that way,” she said. And women in elected office can help to change that reality. 

“My job is to break the mold and talk about how you can actually govern in a collaborative way,” she said, noting that women are especially skilled at doing so. She reflected on caricatures of her own leadership and said she’s been called the “iron fist and the velvet glove—and you do not want to take that glove off.” But women have “inner strength” they can bring to leadership roles in addition to their ability as collaborators. 

Hochul made an explicit promise during her remarks, one that carries weight given the acts she’s followed in politics: “I will never abuse this position,” she pledged.

Emma Hinchliffe

Correction: Yesterday’s newsletter included news about Target’s decision to remove some Pride displays following right-wing backlash. Trans-friendly swimsuits mentioned in the write-up only come in adult sizes. We sincerely regret the error.

The Broadsheet is Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women. Today’s edition was curated by Kinsey Crowley. Subscribe here.


- MPW news. We are excited to announce that two women from the Fortune Most Powerful Women community are joining the MPW Summit this fall as guest cochairs. They are Maryam Banikarim, founder and managing partner of purpose-driven consultancy MaryamB and cofounder of the grassroots volunteer movement NYCNext, and Mallun Yen, founder and CEO of Operator Collective, a $150 million venture fund and community for top operators from diverse backgrounds. Fortune

- House of Sport. After reporting a 5.3% rise in sales that sustained its 2023 outlook, Dick's Sporting Goods is emerging from a pack of retailers that are seeing sales wane. Led by CEO Lauren Hobart, Dick's is adding nine experiential House of Sport concept stores by the end of the summer, an additional 10 by 2024, and 100 total by 2027. Retail Dive

- Dancing shoes. The D'Amelios are one of the most followed families on TikTok; the youngest D'Amelio, Charli, is the most popular woman on the social media platform. Now, the D'Amelios are betting their large social following will translate into success for their consumer goods company D'Amelio Brands. The first test comes with the launch of D’Amelio Footwear but they plan to expand offerings to food and skincare in the future. Fortune

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Sue Quense has been promoted to chief commercial officer at AVEVA. Margaret Julian is the new director of product marketing at Pack. Vytalogy Wellness CEO Nina Barton has been elected to the board at entertainment company Cedar Fairs. 


- Spend every penny. Real estate millionaire and Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran says she doesn't save her money. She said she spent half of the proceeds from the $66 million sale of her real estate business Corcoran Group on “family, friends, education funds, charities," because "if you spend, money comes back to you.” However, she also admitted to narrowly avoiding bankruptcy five times. Fortune

- Digital colonialism. Abeba Birhane has audited renowned datasets used in A.I., including MIT's “80 Million Tiny Images" and ImageNet. After finding harmful stereotypes and inappropriate images of women in the data, she says A.I. systems are replicating inequities and creating "digital colonialism." She argues that Big Tech is building power comparable to the colonial empires and the harms will disproportionally impact marginalized people around the world. Wired

- Gamer bullies. An online survey found that nearly half of British women who play video games have suffered abuse online. Fifty-one percent of men surveyed said they had witnessed women streamers being harassed, and 66% of both men and women agreed that women are more likely to receive harmful messages. The Guardian

- Booby Food. A number of startups—with catchy names like It’s My Leche, Boobie Juice, and Booby Food—are building a business that turns breast milk into a shelf-stable powder. These startups are competing for a big market opportunity to replace the costly process of freezing and storing breast milk, often used by hospitals for the NICU. Crunchbase


Digital culture is literally reshaping women's faces Wired

How sexist is Hollywood? Check out Geena Davis’s spreadsheet New York Times

Kim Kardashian isn't over yet Vice

The one that got away Vulture


"Impostor syndrome is based on the premise that we’re the problem, but, in my experience, discomfort is a normal, human reaction to my environment."

—Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani on why imposter syndrome is made up to hold women back 

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