During Today with Hoda & Jenna on Wednesday, Hager and Kotb reflected on the people who helped them kick-start their careers after discussing a viral LinkedIn post from a woman who went through more than 300 rejections before landing her dream job.
Kotb, 57, shared that she experienced several rejections before finally getting hired by Stan Sandroni to begin her journalism career.
"You just need one person to say you can do it, and my one guy's name was Stan Sandroni, and he was in Greenville, Mississippi. He hired me when no one else would," Kotb said. "This guy believed, and that's so shocking because it was like, you just need the one."
Hager, 39, cut in to ask Kotb, "Do you know who my one would be?" before telling her: "You."
The cohosts immediately became emotional as Hager explained that she had been working at Today for years before Kotb invited her into a host chair.
"I know that sounds cheesy, and I almost didn't say it," Hager said. "But I was here for years, doing a lot of different things, and I worked really hard, and I had producers say, 'Well, you're a correspondent. That's where you are.' And that was good. That was what I wanted to be. I wanted to tell stories."
Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Hoda Kotb, Jenna Bush Hager
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"You asked me to fill in with you. And I'll never forget it, so my one is you," she said, as Kotb whipped out some tissues for them both.
In April, Hager shared a sweet tribute to Kotb to mark the second anniversary of their show.
"You know when pictures pop up of years gone by—big days and small moments which make up a life of love and purpose? They pop up and remind you just how very blessed you are. They take you back to a day and make you smile—make you nostalgic—maybe make you a little teary," Hager wrote on Instagram, sharing photos from the first day of their hour of Today.
"Well, @hodakotb these popped up this morning. Two years ago we started this show together. I remember how excited we both were. I remember this hug. I want to say thank you, thank you thank you for your generosity or time, love and spirit," she continued.
"I am reminded of your terrific friendship and partnership on this day and every one. Happy Anniversary! PS—to the best, most talented staff ever. How lucky we are!!! Your brilliance and enthusiasm amazes. @hodaandjenna @todayshow."