We had the pleasure to sit with CNBC anchor, Melissa Lee for this month's cover story and shoot in NYC. We were excited to discuss all things journalism, financial news and markets, and special projects. It's incredible how she fits that into her daily routine, workout habits and style on set and off. ATHLEISURE MAG: When did you first learn you wanted to be a journalist and broadcaster growing up? MELISSA LEE: I’ve known since middle school! I started developing an interest in the school paper and I even anchored the morning newscast, which was a daily 5 minute, closed-circuit broadcast in the morning. The station was called GNPS TV News, which stood for Great Neck Public Schools Television (I’m sure there is an incriminating take of me out there somewhere.) One day my mom said to me, “You could be like Kaity Tong someday” (Kaity was a star WABC anchor at the time.) That pretty much sealed the deal! Not to say I didn’t flirt with other possible careers -- I had a strong interest in medicine and spent summers doing lab work on colorectal cancer and Lyme disease. But I always came back to journalism! AM: Our internet game is pretty strong, and we discovered your mother was once a sportswear designer… so we guess athleisure is sort of in your genes? ML: My mom was a designer, and studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She stopped designing before I was born, but she made clothes and Halloween costumes for my older sister, younger brother and me. We also made a lot of clothes for dolls and stuffed animals! So I started learning about and appreciating, clothing and fashion at an early age. AM: What was it like going to Harvard, what pro tips did you develop working at 'The Crimson' that you still use today? What was it like working on the
online-side then as well? ML: The Crimson was like a full-time job and it was a great training ground for the basics of journalism. In fact, many of its alumni are working journalists at the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Dow Jones and many other organizations. There were so many lessons I learned there- it really was sink or swim! But a couple of lessons stand out: 1. How to cold call to find a source or information. I think this skill gets lost in the age of Twitter and email, but picking up the phone and calling people in a particular dorm or on a particular team, getting them not to hang up the phone on you, and coaxing them to actually tell you information is a skill. 2. Networks are important. The Crimson alumni network helped me find internships. Through those internships, I was introduced to professional organizations such as the Asian American Journalists Association. Leveraging the network available to you, and then growing that network, is key. AM: Hosting multiple shows definitely seems challenging! What is a typical day like for you? ML: Hosting multiple shows definitely requires a strict daily routine! I wake up at around 6am, have breakfast, read emails and prep for what I think will be the big stories of the day will be. Then I hit the gym and get into the studios in Englewood Cliffs, NJ by 10:30am for hair and makeup. After that, it’s a race until the end of the day: eat lunch (yes, I have a set time for lunch, which I eat at my desk while prepping for the show), on air for Power Lunch from 1-3pm, brainstorm with the Fast Money team on what the show's lead should be, and leave for the Nasdaq Marketsite by 3:30pm to be on the air at 5pm. AM: What some differences between hosting “Fast Money,” and co-hosting “Power Lunch.” Do you have a favorite?