You would think with all of the business insights Liz Claman brings to the Fox Business Network through shows like “Closing Bell” and with special programming like next week’s “Three Days In the Valley,” her biggest influences growing up would have been great business minds like Bill Gates, Henry Ford or Winthrop W. Aldrich.
The person who had the biggest influence on her career is better known in the world of fashion than industry: Diane von Fürstenberg. The designers claim to fame is the wrap dress.
This odd inspiration came when Claman was 10 years old and sitting in the dressing room of her mother, actress June Beverly Claman.
“I started looking at Diane von Fürstenberg’s book of beauty. My favorite chapter wasn’t about her designing dresses but how she would go to Asia to buy bolts of material and then have to deal with with customs officials at JFK airport. It was then when I realized that mommies can run businesses,” Claman says.
That realization sparked a fascination with business that Claman got to full explore after spending time covering general news on TV stations in Cleveland and Boston. Before Joining Fox Business Network, Claman worked on the CNBC programs “Morning Call,” “Wake Up Call,” “Market Watch” and “Cover to Cover.”
Claman was recruited by CNBC because they wanted someone who could tell a business story in a more natural way. That’s the style she continues to use especially with her special Fox Business Network’s reporting that will originate for Silicon Valley. Claman doesn’t waste time with the kind of financial number crunching that can be taken from any company’s quarterly report. Her idea of telling a good business story is to cast a spotlight on the people — both tech industry heavyweights and up-and-comers — who have turned ideas into empires.
This is the sixth year for the look at the California industry hub. Her past reporting has ranged from the top industry names to a couple of young people with an idea they were calling Twitter. Claman laughs as says that it was really hard for everyone to wrap their minds around a business that only allowed you to use 140 characters.
“Unlike the usual industry conferences where companies set up in the lobby of a hotel, we go to the company offices like Intel or the Stanford Business School. We have CEOs descend on us and I think they are more comfortable talking because they are in a familiar environment,” Claman says. “This is a way to remind industry leaders of where they have come since they were a start up and for those who are part of a start up to see the possibilities.”
Claman uses the three days to take viewers behind the scenes whether that be the piles of laundry in the office of a CEO who hasn’t been home in weeks or talking with board members as to how honest they can be when dealing with company executives. She compares this type of reporting to “getting to hear from the horse and not just the jockey.”
All of this insight was sparked years ago by a moment with her mother. Claman has become a top voice in business reporting but she’s still gets maternal attention.
“Mom only wanted me to be the best at what I wanted to do. When I told her I wanted to be a journalist she told me that I must have perfect diction, not speak with hands and not use delay tactics like ‘Let me ask you this…’ I still get epic notes from my mother about what I do on air,” Claman says.
Guests who will sit down with Claman during this year’s “Three Days in Silicon Valley” include: Dr. Genevieve Bell, Intel Fellow, Intel Labs, Director, Interaction and Experience Research; Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO; Shantanu Narayen, Adobe CEO; Jeff Fluhr, Spreecast CEO; Scott Rohde, Sony Computer Entertainment SVP Product Development; Jeff Housenbold, Shutterfly President & CEO; Jack Tretton, Sony Computer Entertainment President & CEO; and Tony Zingale, Jive Software CEO.
“Three Days in the Valley with Liz Claman” airs 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sept. 10-12 on the Fox Business Network cable channel.