Dana Perino Tells America: Everything Will Be Okay

Dana Perino Tells America: Everything Will Be Okay

The FOX News Analyst Talks About Her Patriotism, Role as a Mentor and Being a Dog Mom

Dana Perino was the tender age of seven when she made her first trip to the White House. It was 1979 during the Carter Administration. Her mom had a friend “on the inside” who secured the mother and daughter behind-the-scenes tour. While there, Perino was allowed to sit in front of an official White House typewriter and tap out a letter.

“I certainly have loved this country ever since I was a little girl,” Perino told Advisors Magazine with a nostalgic tone. “I still have the photo of me holding the red phone and just the other day, my mom found the first letter I ever typed at the White House on that trip when they let me play on a typewriter. Having that is very meaningful.”

Little did Perino know at the time, but years later she would stand at the podium in the White House briefing room fielding questions from journalists, correspondents, and members of the media in her role as the 26th White House Press Secretary serving under President George W. Bush.

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Even though it has been more than a decade, the professional relationship between the two remains strong. In a recent FOX News special, Perino highlighted Bush’s post-presidential passion – painting portraits of immigrants.

In a quote obtained from the external affairs department of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, the former president told Advisors Magazine, “Dana grew up in the heartland and brought the patriotic values she learned there with her to the White House. I was proud to be represented by her and am pleased to see her continue to flourish in her career.”

Today, her patriotic bent matched with her love of politics continues with her strong presence as a news analyst and anchor at FOX News Media.

Dana 500The five-foot blonde born in Wyoming’s ranching country joined the right-learning network in 2011 as a co-host of “The Five” airing at 5 p.m. EST where she and a cast of FOX News on-air anchors discuss the day’s political news and events. In 2017, “The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino,” which often coincided with 2 p.m. White House press briefings, gave Perino’s viewers an insightful look at the latest developments in Washington, D.C. Currently, she is co-host with Bill Hemmer of “America’s Newsroom” from 9 to 11 a.m. and remains a regular co-host of “The Five.”

Perino is also the author of three books – with the most recent, “Everything Will Be Okay: Life Lessons for Young Women (from a Former Young Woman)” hitting the market in March 2021 and unofficially serving as a national pep talk as the United States began to emerge from COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.

Along with many Americans, Perino is celebrating this Fourth of July holiday with renewed hope that not only marks the 245th anniversary of breaking ties with England but also the start of regained freedom from a global pandemic that killed nearly 650,000 Americans and left millions more living reclusive lives in fear of catching the virus.

“This year is wonderful to see all the people re-emerging from their homes and reconnecting,” said Perino. “I love the reunions. It is especially touching to see the grandparents finally able to give hugs to their grandchildren.”

A Conservative Journalist

As a leading news anchor for the right-leaning FOX network, Perino – a self-described conservative – does bleed a lot of red in her version of the good ole, “red, white and blue,” even though her red isn’t necessarily a hue that exactly matches that of the Republican Party.

She is, after all, a television news journalist and most viewers do expect some degree of objectivity. Watch her programming long enough and you will see she is selective – choosing which topics she comments on and which she’ll bypass with a simple smile as she transitions to the next segment.

Her background as President Bush’s press secretary gives Perino rare insight that few other television news anchors can draw from.

A Mentor at Heart

Perino and her husband, Peter McMahon, are longtime philanthropists dedicating their financial resources and time to projects in Africa after a trip there during her tenure with the Bush Administration. There, Perino saw a firsthand look at the continent’s challenges.

That trip helped form her mantra:

“If you were lucky enough to be born in the United States, you have basically won life’s lottery,” Perino said on March 20, 2021 during a Dana Perino Live appearance at the Florida Theatre in Jacksonville, Florida.

Dana 376It seemed fitting that the patriotic Perino headlined one of the nation’s first public events with a live audience since the pandemic shutdown typical American life during 2020.

“It is so good to see humans again,” she gushed as the socially distanced, mask-wearing crowd cheered.

At that recent appearance, those gathered were predominantly couples in their late 50s to mid-80s. Certainly there were younger faces in the audience, but the bulk of those attending one of the nation’s first public events since COVID-19 lockdowns represented a seasoned generation who have worked their careers and have paid their dues. They are the loyal Perino viewer base, but not the subject of her latest book on mentoring.

Yet, that doesn’t bother her.

They are the buyers – the financially established with hard-earned discretionary income – that catapulted her third book to the top of the New York Times Bestseller list soon after it was released.

One of her deepest desires has been to help mentor young professional women.

“I see so much anxiety in young women today,” Perino said. “It doesn’t have to be that way.”

That is why she wrote, “Everything Will Be Okay,” with hopes that anecdotes from her early career and the advice she garnered along the way will help younger female professionals appreciate the value of the process they are currently going through with the knowledge that they can – and will – come out on the other side having achieved their goals – both professional and personal.

Following Her Own Counsel

In a nod to her own advice to keep growing professionally, Perino has taken to podcasting. Not surprisingly, her podcast shares the same name as her new book. Probably something to do with smart branding – another tactic she mentions to young female professionals.

For a June episode coinciding with Father’s Day this year, Perino interviewed Condoleezza Rice, director of the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, and who, as former U.S. Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009, had the same boss as Perino: Bush 43.

Rice discussed the role her father played in shaping her career. Perino understood. Her own father helped to significantly shape her love of news.

As an elementary student growing up outside of Denver, Perino was tasked with reading the Denver Post and The Rocky Mountain News each day selecting an article from each that she would discuss with him during the family’s dinner that evening.

“It is something I will always be grateful to him for doing,” Perino said.

Financial Advice

In an economic world where some investors are fickle when it comes to working with members of the financial services industry, Perino and McMahon – an international business man specializing in the marketing and sale of medical supplies – stay steady: the couple has been with the same financial advisor for decades and they consider him to be a friend – a goal many financial advisors will tell you they seek.

“He has been the core of helping us to figure out our charitable donations as well as investments,” Perino said. “And, he never forgets a birthday, and he celebrates every single one of my career promotions.”

Having come from a middle-class family where the world of Wall Street and its stocks and bonds were just a page in the newspaper that no one in her family ever looked at, Perino said she knew she needed a financial professional to guide her – especially when her paychecks became dollar amounts that were much more than a month-to-month existence.

She knew the importance of saving – her parents had not only taught her that; they modeled it.

“When I first started saving, it wasn’t a lot, but I started saving early and investing early and letting that money grow because I knew it was going to be important to me later on in life,” Perino said.

Her best piece of financial advice for young professional women: Even if it is difficult to do so, even if it means sacrificing for a certain period of time, be sure to secure six months of savings as a backup in case they find themselves unemployed – whether that be through a firing or needing to walk away from a bad workplace.

“There is nothing worse than being stuck in a toxic work environment,” she said. “For too many young women, that is the case. But again, it doesn’t have to be. When you have six months of savings, you have freedom to walk away.”

Change is OK

Perino recommends remaining open to change. She followed that advice earlier in this year when the leadership at FOX News announced that the “Daily Briefing” was ending and Perino would join longtime television journalist, Hemmer, for a morning show with his solo show, “Bill Hemmer Reports” also being cancelled.

Both shows had strong ratings and media was abuzz with questions of why FOX News was making the changes.

Thus far, “America’s Newsroom with Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino” posts consistent viewership numbers between 1.3 and 1.4 million, according to “Cable Rankings.” In February of this year, FOX News dominated cable news with several programs drawing top viewership numbers, including “America’s Newsroom” earning the most-watched program in their timeslot according to Nielsen Media Research and reported by Business Wire.

“Dana has built a powerful connection with our audience and has thrived in her new role on America’s Newsroom – her versatility is just one of the many keys to her success and stardom,” Suzanne Scott, CEO of FOX News Media, told Advisor’s Magazine.

A Day in Her Life

Perino is up at 5 a.m. and begins reading the morning news – as well as the work of political columnists from all different perspectives. She makes a point of being well-read and knowledgeable about what is being touted from the left to the right. She heads to work by 6:30 a.m. often listening to podcasts at 1.5 speed so she can buzz through more of them. She is in “hair and makeup” by 8 a.m. allowing the appearance professionals to do their thing.

“We are so incredibly blessed here at FOX,” she said. “They [hair and makeup pros] do so much better than I ever could.”

Dana 476There are quick morning meetings with producers for her 9 a.m. show. Her afternoons are filled with interviews, research, and reading – always reading, she says – in preparation for what is next. Then it’s prep time for the 5 p.m. show.

And at the end of her jam-packed day, Perino is met by her husband and Jasper – the couple’s solid brown-colored Vizsla – for the walk home. There is a mom-and-pop pet shop on the way that Jasper often “pulls” his human parents into, said Perino, adding that Jasper is a big fan of the cow’s ear chew toy.

“He carries it in his mouth on the way home walking down the block and into the elevator, to his bed, and then he starts chewing on it,” she said with a laugh that only dog moms understand.

The trio is celebrating July 4th at the Jersey Shore – their weekend getaway. Perino said it will be a quieter celebration for her as she hosts a songwriter friend from Nashville.

Of course, they’ll be watching fireworks, she said. But how well does Jasper cope with the loud, explosive part of the holiday?

“Oh, he does okay with it,” answered Perino. “Peter and I hold him and tell him he’s a good boy and that he is okay.”

Perhaps her words to Jasper echo the core of what seems to be Perino’s approach to life: there is the good, sometimes the bad and the ugly – but in the end, everything will be okay.

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