Senior Managing Editor: Broadcast, Digital and Social
CBS News, Atlanta
Hometown: Anaheim Hills, California
Something - other than Kentucky Wesleyan - you love about Owensboro?
There is no denying that riverfront! It is INCREDIBLE to see all the development that has taken place downtown and along the river. From the green space to the restaurants and outside patios, it is really quite beautiful. I have been to the Gambrinus Libation Emporium and Bee Bops - such fun!!
Favorite memories of Wesleyan?
I have so many great memories from Wesleyan: softball trips to Sigma Kappa events and times spent with the Sig Eps. I really enjoyed my classes, too, once I was really focused in on my English major.
One of my best memories is working on the play, "Accommodations," with fellow alums Shane Fisher and Joshua Sims. It was part of Shane's senior project. We took it to a state competition, and I was nominated for the Irene Ryan. It was such fun . . . late nights, camaraderie and just great laughs.
Highlights of your career path?
Wow. Where to start? I have been so blessed with circumstance and opportunity. I get to tell stories for a living and that puts me in front of ordinary folks with extraordinary things to share to political leaders, celebrities and influencers.
I have sky-dived from 10,000 feet, dove the Great Barrier Reef, shook hands with a pope and a president (not at the same time), witnessed the opening of the first Western news production center in the Middle East (CNN in Abu Dhabi), spent time with Buddhist monks in Hong Kong, hiked the Sydney Bridge, covered the White House and Congress from 1600 Penn and the Hill, reported on 9/11, Operation Iraqi Freedom and the war on terror in Afghanistan.
I have developed friendships in telling these stories that I will last a lifetime.
About your current job?
Journalism is changing and with it - so is the journalist. Think about how you get your news - Facebook? An app? A website? When was the last time you turned on a TV to get the news?
I chose to leave CNN after the birth of my first daughter. Seventeen months later I had a second child and decided to go back to school. The two and a half years out the newsroom gave me a great perspective. I am almost done with my master's degree in social media.
Back in January, I accepted a brand new position created by CBS News here in Atlanta: Senior Managing Editor: Broadcast, Digital & Social. Essentially, I oversee the content on all our platforms from TV to web to social to mobile. I love it. I oversee the reporting staff, multimedia journalists, digital department and the assignment desk.
Someone at Wesleyan who influenced you and why?
Three professors helped shape the way I think and my work ethic: Dr. Bob Darrell, Dr. Ken Ayers and Professor James Britton.
Fellow students can impact us just as much, though. One of those was Kae Espy Mentzer '95. She was my Sigma Kappa big sister, but more than that, she was a person of class and poise who really helped me through some difficult times. When I look back at my years at Wesleyan, I think of her often. She was a friend and a sister and a mentor who helped shape my character for years that followed. It's fitting that she went on to become a teacher and devote her life's work to education.
A favorite spot on campus?
My favorite spot on campus is a personal one. Now and then, I would walk over to the softball field and just sit on the pitcher's mound. It was my home. I attended Wesleyan on a softball scholarship, and it's the one place I always felt I had it together. Those are some tough years at times. You can feel alone and a little scared about the future, so it's nice to have a sanctuary. The softball field was my sanctuary. Now it's the control room (at the network/television station).
Your perspective as a trustee?
Being a trustee is a huge honor and at the same time . . . a challenging responsibility. The world is very different than when I attended Wesleyan. We have the privilege and immense duty to keep Wesleyan relevant in an ever-changing, competitive world. We have to make sure that Wesleyan's curriculum is keeping up with the changing demands of industry. We have to make sure we are supporting the school and finding supporters to keep Wesleyan outfitted with the latest information and technology.
Why you want your daughters to attend Wesleyan?
I want my daughters to follow whatever dreams they have. If that includes Wesleyan, I know they will be in good hands. One reason I would fully support that decision is that I know they will get more personal attention and one-on-one education than they may receive in a larger school.
I firmly believe one of the reasons I am able to stand up and lead small teams and large newsrooms in chaos and crisis is the confidence I learned having to be ready every single day in class. Once you get to your major courses at Wesleyan, your classes can be six to eight large (or small!). So when discussion time comes, you WILL have to participate. You DO have to know your stuff. It's more than just knowing Shakespeare or Faulkner at the end of the day; it's the critical thinking you are compelled to have, the confidence you develop in having to speak and the presence you craft for yourself during those moments.
The most fascinating person you have ever met?
It's really hard to pick one. Being a journalist gives you unusual access to all walks of life. I've met and interviewed presidents and celebrities. They are, no doubt, interesting and exciting. Sometimes though, the most fascinating people you meet are the everyday ones. If I had to give you a top three I'd go with:
- Bill Clinton - the man just oozes charisma
- Christiane Amanpour - as a female journalist, there is no better mentor
- The love of my life
Advice to our 2015 graduates:
I have two little nuggets of advice for the Class of 2015 (in no particular order):
- Put your phone down for an hour a day (and this is the social media geek talking). Seriously - put it down. Instead of posting a picture, commit one to memory. Take in the life around you now and then. You don't want to miss it.
- Someone once said this to me - "Live your life like it's your second chance."