Press Room - Bates Communications

Former WFLA News Anchor Returns to Area for Visit, Book Signing

Posted on Wed, May 27, 2009

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The first female co-anchor at WFLA, Channel 8, is back in town.

Suzanne Bates, who preceded Gayle Sierens way back in 1981, will be signing copies of her new book, `Speak Like a CEO,` at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Barnes & Noble (Carrollwood), 11802 N. Dale Mabry Highway.

`Actually, I come back to visit often, but I just don't make personal appearances,` says Bates, who lives in Boston.

She has a sister who lives in Tampa, a brother in St. Petersburg and a mother in Safety Harbor. And there are lots of friends, including Sierens, with whom she is staying while here.

`It's amazing that so many people who I worked with back in the early 1980s are still here - Bill Ratliff, Bob Hite, and, of course, Gayle,` she says.

When Bates was a co-anchor here, Gayle was a sports reporter.

`I guess I was making history as the first female co-anchor, but now there are so many women on the air, it's hard to believe it wasn't that long ago,` she says.

Bates left Tampa in 1984 and worked at WCAU-TV in Philadelphia and WBZ-TV in Boston.

Four years ago, she started her own consulting business, Bates Communications, which specializes in coaching corporate executives on how to improve speaking skills.

`CEOs are expected to communicate at a high level, and so we show them how to better communicate with their employees, the boards of directors, clients and even the public.

Her clients have included some high-power types, including the governor of Massachusetts.

Boston Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino is among those featured in her book.

Her coaching covers everything from dressing for success to handling public crises.

`I don't miss being on television,` she says. `But sometimes I miss the people, the friendships you have in a newsroom. And I miss the day-to-day work, especially interviewing people. But my new job is challenging, and I've enjoyed building up my own company.`

Bates is a member of the Leadership Council at Harvard University's Center for Business and Government and serves as a moderator for various corporate and nonprofit groups.

Her husband is a film professor at Boston College, and she has a 14-year-old daughter, Megan.`We keep saying that we're going to buy property here someday,` she says.

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