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Univision exec Tonia O'Connor says it’s her ‘life’s mission’ to help other women succeed in business

On the latest Recode Media, O'Connor said she refuses to let a boys’ club be a boys’ club.

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Univision’s Tonia O’Connor
Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Women in Cable Telecommunications

As a media executive in New York, Univision’s new Chief Revenue Officer Tonia O’Connor says she’s “often the only woman in the room.” And she doesn’t let that hold her back — but she also doesn’t let herself forget it.

“If it ever becomes the case that I don’t think about that, the fact that I’m the only woman in the room, then I’m done, it’s time for me to go home,” O’Connor said on the latest episode of Recode Media. “And I say that just because I feel like it’s my responsibility to sponsor other women and make sure it doesn’t continue to be that there’s so few, or only one, woman in the room.”

Out of the 12 executives listed on Univision’s website, eight are male and four are female: O’Connor, plus CMO Jessica Rodriguez, Chief Human Resources Officer Margaret Lazo and Chief Communications Officer Rosemary Mercedes.

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O’Connor recalled being on a panel where a female executive from another media company said being the only woman “doesn’t even faze me.”

“If it ever doesn’t faze me, or if I don’t think for a moment, ‘Hmm, this isn’t right,’ or, ‘It shouldn’t be this way,’ then I’m done,” she said. “It matters to me and it should matter to everybody; it makes a big difference in terms of business success and performance. I believe that 100 percent.”

She added that she was disappointed by a recent New York Times poll showing that nearly half of men and most women believed having a drink or dinner with someone of the opposite sex who is not your spouse is inappropriate.

“It makes me incredibly frustrated and also sad because business is built on relationships,” O’Connor said. “Right there in that moment, I realized, damn! It’s still a boys club! And it’s going to continue to be a boys’ club because women don’t even feel like they belong, that they deserve to be part of the ‘club.’”

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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.