Finding My Voice

with Mary Lee

When I was 12 years old, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a broadcast journalist. I was so excited to share my dreams, I rushed to tell my stepdad who watched the news every day. He would be the first and the last person I told that year.

I still remember my stepdad’s biting words. He was drunk when he was yelling at me. He shouted I would never make it, would never be good enough and would never succeed. He told me I was a failure. He told me I was nothing.

For a long time, I believed it. I believed his words and gave up on my dreams. Maybe he was right? Maybe I was a failure? It was like my stepdad had silenced my dreams and silenced me.

It wasn’t until my senior year of college, I got the courage to pursue my passion. I wanted to try. I wanted to see if I could do it.

From there, I did every internship I could find. I wrote for the school newspaper, reported for the campus radio station and learned everything I could from the reporters and producers at the local CBS TV station.

I needed to prove my stepdad wrong, to prove that I was good enough, to prove I was worthy. It became a fire within me. It motivated me every step of my career.

I landed my first on-air reporting job in Chico after college. After a few years, I packed my bags and took a job at the NBC TV station in Austin, Texas. While I was there, I went back to school to study meteorology. After that, I landed jobs as an on-air meteorologist for the NBC stations in Houston and Seattle.

When I was little, I dreamed of living in San Francisco and working for a TV station there. That dream is now a reality. I just officially became the Morning Meteorologist for the CBS station in the Bay Area.

A few years ago, my stepdad passed away. My mom told me he was proud of me. But the words meant nothing to me. I realized I never needed to prove to my stepdad I was good enough. I needed to prove it to myself.

If you are reading this, feeling dejected and alone. I want you to know. You are beautiful. You are loved. You are strong. You are enough and your voice is worthy to be heard, celebrated and valued. Now go follow your dreams and live the life you’ve always wanted. ❤️

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
My name is Mary Lee. I’m the Morning Meteorologist for CBS KPIX Channel 5 News in the San Francisco Bay Area. ☀️

What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
Even though I’m on TV every day, I’m actually an introvert. While I’m definitely a people person, I get my energy from being alone. It helps me recharge and center myself.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I still remember my grandfather’s words when we lost my grandmother. It was an extremely difficult time for our family. My grandpa hugged me and said ‘life is like the stock market. It has great highs and lows, peaks and valleys.’ He said ‘right now, we’re going through a painful time. We’re in a deep valley but we have to hope and believe better days are coming. Because they always do.’

What message do you think every woman should hear?
I think women can be very critical and judgmental of each other. If you have someone in your life who is shaming you and trying to bring you down, try lifting her up instead. She’s clearly not happy in her own life and she’s trying to bring you down with her. But instead of lowering yourself to her level, try bringing her up to yours. If we all did that, imagine how much happier and stronger we would all be!

How do you manage your work-life balance?
As much as I love my job, I think it’s so important to take time off every couple of months. It helps to recharge and to put things in perspective. I always come back feeling refreshed and ready to do my best at work!

What is one thing no one really knows about you?
When I was a junior in high school, I won a state piano competition. My only competitor was a piano prodigy in the sixth grade. The little guy cried when I was awarded my trophy. But I’m not going to lie. I still love that trophy! It still proudly sits on top of my parents’ piano!🏆

What would you say to 16 year old you?
There is no one quite like you. Your story and personal journey make you special. Embrace who you are!

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
If you try to please everyone else but yourself, you will fail everyone and yourself. When you’re constantly striving and trying to live up to their expectations and not your own, you actually feel empty and lost. It’s so important to ask yourself if this is what YOU want. Does this align with YOUR values, life goals and passion?

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mary lee

You can catch Mary Lee delivering the weather forecasts on the air every weekday as the Morning Meteorologist for CBS KPIX Channel 5 News in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

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