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'I had to advocate for myself': Morgan Radford on her 'learn your value' moment

The NBC News correspondent tells Know Your Value founder Mika Brzezinski how she realized the difference between a good and bad relationship.
Morgan Radford.Nathan Congleton / NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Negotiating a first promotion. Walking away from a toxic workplace. Taking a career leap into a new industry. A professional’s “Know Your Value” moment — when a lightbulb goes off and she finds out what she’s worth or where she is willing to draw the line between what’s acceptable and what’s not — can take on many forms.

For NBC News correspondent Morgan Radford, 32, her Know Your Value moment — or what she refers to as her “Learn Your Value” moment — came before her big break while working with an agent. She shared her experience with Know Your Value founder and “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski.

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When Radford started in broadcast journalism, she eventually realized that something just didn’t feel right in her relationship with her agent. “When you’re young and when you’re a woman and when you’re also a woman of color… you can tell in the way that he approached me. It was almost this paternalistic way and I remember once him saying, ‘No, you do what we tell you.’”

Her advice to others is to listen to your gut if it’s telling you something might be off.

“The problem with the ‘-isms,’ you could feel them before you can see them,” Radford said. “For people who may have some of those biases, who may treat women a little bit differently or treat young women a little bit differently — if they’re good at it, they do it with plausible deniability.”

Over time, her agent would say and do certain things that were setting her back. She admits that she almost didn’t notice it at the time.

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Radford was also in a difficult spot, because she didn’t know other journalists or have connections in the industry.

Still, she wasn’t willing to turn a blind eye. Finally, she called her dad and explained a situation that happened. She mentioned the way the agent treated her didn’t sit right. “No, that doesn’t sit well with me either,” Radford’s father said.

“I had to learn how to advocate for myself in a business that I was also navigating,” she said. So what did the journalist do next? She fired her agent.

Fortunately, Radford was able to find the silver lining. “It’s like any bad relationship where you learn what a good relationship is supposed to feel like,” she explained. “That was a bad one.”

“That firing was your moment,” Brzezinski said. “That’s fantastic.”