About Mimi

Photo credit: Yustina Riad

Photo credit: Yustina Riad

 
 

It all started when...

I was daydreaming at my desk listening to the local public radio channel.  As a newly minted Electrical Engineering grad, I was doing mind-numbing work at a defense contracting company. I missed the daily intellectual stimulation of a college campus. I wanted to sit and talk to interesting people about interesting topics. So I called the public radio station and offered to volunteer.

While I wasn't interested in answering phones and filing (this was the early 90's, people still "filed") I asked if Diane Rehm needed some help. It was still a local program, before NPR syndication. Word came back that Diane wanted me to send in a resume and cover letter. There wasn't much on my resume yet, but I tried to play up the liberal arts classes I had taken in college, 

Not long afterwards, a friend told me that Diane would be speaking at a local event that coming weekend. I ambushed her after the talk. "Did you get my resume?" I'll spare you the details but she asked if I had writing experience and my hesitant reply didn't impress her. Finally I said, "Look, I know I can do this." ... not really knowing what "this" was. She told me to come by the office.

I was handed a book, some samples and a deadline. I was told to write a script (introduction and questions with answers) and bring it back by the deadline. Diane liked that first script so much, she asked me to do more. I volunteered for her for about 3 years, learning from one of the best interviewers in the field.

Once I sat down with her and she told me, "you really are good, but it's like a pyramid, very few people make it to the top." I thought to myself, "well, some people make it, so I might as well try."

Meanwhile, I never quit my engineering day job, until many years later in 2001, my job quit me. The tech industry had imploded and I was laid off along with many of my colleagues. I went to the local public access station, took the radio class, and launched my show. In 2005, the show was picked up by XM Satellite's Public Radio channel and was broadcast coast to coast for ten years.

In 2012, I began experimenting with videotaping the radio show and posting to YouTube. I enjoyed it so much, I began the process of converting the radio show to a TV program. We began airing on WHUT-TV in Washington DC regularly in 2016.

Oh, and here's a quick bio: I'm Egyptian-American and I live in the suburbs of Washington DC with my wonderful husband, three charming kids, and a barky, not-so-charming dog. I'm Coptic Orthodox Christian and my faith is central to my life.

So that's my story. What's yours? I'm listening...