Senior Producer—started at Harpo in 1994.
One of my most profound experiences came in 2001 when we had on Thomas McKean, an autistic man. My sister, Jennifer, is the mother of twins, and one of them—my godson, Sam, who was 5 in 2001—is autistic. That's why Thomas's appearance on the show was such a miracle for me: A man who'd learned to speak when he was a teenager took me inside the mysterious world of autistics. He told me how lonely his world had been when he was a child. He said he'd had to discover what joy, sadness, pain, and anger were and teach himself how to feel. He revealed how exaggerated his sensitivity to color is (yellow, for instance, hurts his eyes) and how challenging being in public is because of his difficulty processing so much information. For Thomas, appearing "normal" has meant teaching himself to behave like others by studying people around him. I'll never forget something Thomas said to me: "I've always been able to love—I just didn't know what love was."