LISA PETRILLO: The Brainy Broadcaster
PHILANTHROPY PHILOSOPHY: Giving and doing as much as you can for the charities and organizations that speak to you. I feel the best when I’ve contributed to something that’s close to my heart.
As CBS4’S lifestyle and entertainment reporter, Lisa Petrillo infuses our lives with glitz and glamour. Here, she talks about making it in the television industry while encouraging young girls along the way. How did you get your first big break? I knew Julio Iglesias very well through a family friend. At the time, the competing station was promoting an exclusive interview with him. I went to my news director and said, “I can get you an exclusive with Julio Iglesias at his house. I can show you what his bedroom looks like!” So off we went, and lo and behold, it was on the 11 o’clock news that night as the big exclusive. What’s been your biggest career challenge? There’s the challenge of being a mom and juggling my career. In the beginning I was part time, because I wanted to be with my kids. I even turned down an offer in LA that was going to have me in a big show, but that meant red carpets every night and not being home. I knew I wouldn’t be happy doing that.
How has being a woman played a role in your career?
In the beginning, it was hard. There were people who saw a young girl and didn’t want to take [me] seriously. But the power of the woman is so strong, and I think once you prove that you can do it just as well as a man, all bets are off.
What charities are you involved with now?
I am the honorary chair of Debbie’s Dream Foundation (debbiesdream.org), which [aims] to stop stomach cancer. I was honored with the Broadcaster of the Year award in 2016, and am emceeing their annual gala again this year. I also work with Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (diabetes research.org) and [host] their annual fundraising event called Out of the Kitchen.
Do you feel responsible for setting an example for girls watching you on TV?
I do. I love to talk to young girls about starting out and having them realize how hard it is. It’s not just about being on television. You have to write, produce, and know what you’re talking about. In this time of Instagram and selfies, being a journalist and keeping it real is the most important thing.