Although she's married to arguably one of the most famous psychologists in the world, Dr. Phil's wife Robin McGraw has burnished her own path throughout an unexpected life in the limelight.
In the past 15 years, Robin, who has a recurring role on her husband's daytime television program, has written multiple books, launched a female-focused lifestyle company and founded a charity organization inspired by the women she's met through the Dr. Phil Show. During their 40-year marriage, Robin and Dr, Phil have been a solid unit, boldly championing and complementing each other's business pursuits.
The secret?“He doesn't 'Dr.Phil' me," says Robin, of her psychologist husband whose show has been on the air for 15 years. “He asked me one time to be a faux patient for psychological test. I got into three or four questions in and I thought 'wait a minute, are you grading this?' [When I realized he was] I said this test is over. I will never be your patient again. That was the first and last time."
Robin and Dr. Phil, who have two sons, Jay, 37, and Jordan, 30, and two young grandchildren, met the summer after high school through his sister. Since then the couple has been inseparable.
“It always was my mission to be a wife and mother," says Robin. “I was a stay at home mom and very thankful. Now I am thankful I can say I am a grandmother."
Beyond being a wife and mother, Robin has also come into her own as an entrepreneur. Her inspiring business and charitable pursuits are each dedicated to the people she has met in her life and through the show, which this bubbly southern lady counts as one of the biggest impacts of her life.
“At the end of the day when you want to be successful and work really hard, I believe the true celebration is what you have done for someone else," says Robin.
The Dr. Phil Show
After a successful run as the resident expert on human behavior on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil was offered the chance to star in a new program, created by Oprah, that would focus on the clinical and forensic psychologist's “life strategies" and frank approach to counseling.
“I've always been so proud of my husband. I always thought he was so brilliant when he was on Oprah. I always saw in him what Oprah saw in him."
In 2002, Robin and her family moved from Texas to California so that her husband could start shooting The Dr. Phil Show. At the time, Robin was an at-home mom caring for her children, who were in college and high school at the time. She went to the set to watch her husband's debut episode, and her life took a surprising turn towards the spotlight.
“I watched him in his first show and I was just so proud of him," says Robin, who was sitting in the front row of the audience. “He looked over at me and I was probably crying. He walked up to me thinking the cameras were off and said 'what did you think of it'? We started talking about it and walked off."
That impromptu moment between the doctor and his wife gave the show's executive producer, who hadn't yet decided how to end the show, an idea.
“The producer came up to me and said 'what we just saw took him from being a very serious doctor helping solve problems to being who he is when he's not doing that. We saw the real Phil,'" says Robin. “They asked me to come every day after that."
After becoming an unplanned recurring character on her husband's show, Robin said a cult community of women began forming around her.
“The viewers who watch the show see me like a girlfriend even though we never met," says Robin. "They would write me thousands of letters asking what shampoo I use, what color nail polish I'm wearing, what my skin care regimen is, and where I get my clothes."
After years of feedback from these female fans, McGraw wrote five books, including Inside My Heart and What's Age Got To Do With It? to answer questions and help give advice. Soon Robin began to see white space that would not only give back to these women she was interacting with, but also fulfill her passions for philanthropy and entrepreneurism.“I've been to over 2,500 [Dr. Phil] shows over 15 seasons," says Robin “I have to say the shows that have moved me the most have been on domestic violence and sexual assault. It is very hard to hear those stories. We've had such strong amazing women come on who been through it and survived, and I always want to help those who need rescuing."
In 2013, Robin launched When Georgia Smiled: The Robin McGraw Revelation. The organization (which is named after Robin's mother) is dedicated to helping the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault by giving them access to support in times of crisis. The organization was inspired by assault survivors she met on The Dr. Phil Show.
“I thought I cannot sit here another day and not do something to help."
As part of her philanthropic efforts, Robin has also released the Aspire Initiative and The Aspire News App, a free virtual lifesaving app, that serves as an emergency contact system designed to reach friends, family or the police should someone need protection at the hands of an abuser.
The app, which was recognized on Capitol Hill for its ability to help end domestic violence, has been downloaded more than half a million times across the country.
In addition to her revolutionary tech breakthrough, Robin is also a businesswoman with a particular passion for the beauty industry. In 2014, she launched Robin McGraw Revelation, an anti-aging skincare, makeup and lifestyle line, which became a hit on HSN almost immediately after its launch. In 2016, Robin introduced her newest luxury skin care line, in collaboration with dermatologist Dr. Jessica Wu. As a founder, Robin says she is extremely hands-on with the business, from picking the packaging to overseeing the product formulas.
“Women are busy, so I wanted something they can use and get back to their jobs and families," says McGraw, who named some products after people in her family. “And I want it to be effective. I wanted them to see results."
According to Robin, Revelation will continue expanding into lifestyle, fashion and accessories, everything of course with the end consumer in mind.
“My true philosophy for my company, for my foundation, for anything that I do is to create anything that helps women," says Robin. “I'm not an expert at a lot of things but when I share with other women and try to inspire them it's about what I've learned and what's helped me through my life. Everything comes from my heart."
When talking to Robin about her journey, it's hard not to talk about Oprah. Oprah, of course, gave Dr. Phil his start on her show in 1995 after his legal consulting firm was hired to help her win her now famous Amarillo Texas beef trial. Robin still considers Oprah like family, and says she is in constant communication with the media marvel.
“I talk to her all the time," says Robin, of Oprah. “She's just precious. I can email her now and get a response in 15 minutes. She's like family and she cares. She's very humble. I love and adore her."
“Every chance I get to tell anyone what an amazing down to earth real woman Oprah is I do it," says Robin. “She is like a mother hen."
In addition to her successful ventures, Robin's 40-year marriage is something else she is very proud of. We asked her the secret to keeping the spark alive after four decades.
“Before we got married, I'm proud to say we did our homework," says Robin. “We had lots of conversations what would work for us and what doesn't work. It's an ongoing conversation we've had over 40 years and still have."
According to Robin the secret is simply to find out what your partner doesn't like, and then don't do those things.
“I was the youngest so what always worked for me at home with my father was pouting, but with Philip it didn't work. He told me 'just tell me what I did that upset you and I won't ever do it again," says Robin. “So my advice is to find out what they don't like and don't ever do it. Don't use what you know will upset them against them. I know what I can do to push Phillip's buttons but why would I do that? Find what makes them happy and do that instead."
The Quick 10
1. What app do you most use?
2. Briefly describe your morning routine.
The first thing I do the moment I open eyes is I pray and say thank you.
3. Name a business mogul you admire.
Sheryl Sandberg. She is not only an inspiring business woman, but she is a woman who comes across as real and down to earth.
4, What product do you wish you had invented?
The Wolford body shaper. It's very thin, but it holds everything you want to tuck in. I love it.
5, What is your spirit animal?
A bird in the air flying.
6. What is your life motto?
There's a quote in the lobby of my office that says in neon lights: “There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise." That's my motto.
7. Name your favorite work day snack.
I'm a big carb eater. Toasted Trader Joe's cinnamon bread is my favorite.
8. Every entrepreneur must be what to be successful?
9. What's the most inspiring place you've traveled to?
Notre Dame. I went in and lit a candle.
10. Desert Island. Three things, go.
My family, 50 Fierce Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Moisturizer & Sunscreen, and a bible. But to be practical, a fishing pole so I can get some food.
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.