5 years: From chasing tornados to coordinating content strategy
I’m honored to share that today I celebrate my five-year anniversary with my current company, The E.W Scripps Company. Why not leave for a bigger market? A more financially attractive opportunity? A fancier office?
What exactly does that mean? In my mind, and from my experience at Scripps, it means taking your mission off of the masthead and living in it every decision. It means going past the spreadsheet and thinking about how your decisions impact not only your financial results, but also the communities you operate in. So, what is Scripps’ mission?
“We do well by doing good - creating value for customers, employees and owners by informing, engaging and empowering those we serve.”
For me personally, it is a bridge to something bigger. What defines you? What do you wake up every morning and set out to-do? If you are just getting in your car with the personal mission of punching a timeclock you are missing the bigger opportunity to impact your community every day.
I haven’t quite put the final touches on articulating what defines me, but I know working in a culture that believes doing the right thing in our community can also mean the right thing financially is a pretty solid foundation to start from.
Doing well for our stakeholders and doing good in our world are not mutually exclusive.
How did I get here?
In the simplest form, I am able to be in my current role at the, age of 24, because of determination, unbelievable mentors, and taking chances.
I started with a chance when I was hired on as a part-time news anchor for KTTS-FM in Springfield. That’s where the story could have very well ended. As strong as the adrenaline rush from chasing a tornado or the sorrow from covering a tragic murder case is, it was not where I saw my career going.
Instead, this role became the point where the other two components begin to layer in. Despite being a full-time college student and working another job, I was determined to make a part-time position mean something more. I pushed every day to find new ways to connect the dots between digital and radio. It wasn’t part of my job, it was part of my drive.
I was enabled by incredible mentors like the news director Don Louzader and assistant news director Nancy Simpson. They let an 18-year-old college student pitch ideas for shaking up an award-winning strategy with his innovative (yet sometimes unproven) concepts.
As I pause for a moment, I will never undervalue the importance of mentors in my life. While much of my personal support comes from my mother and close friends, my professional ambitions rarely move forward without being influenced by a close mentor.
Whether it was my high school journalism teacher (Leslie Orman) or colleagues across the Scripps family that saw more than just a young millennial producing content (Laura Tomlin, Steve Wexler, Mark Halverson, David Murray).
They took a chance on me when they named me Director of Digital Media for our CBS television station in Omaha, Nebraska. I was surrounded and empowered within a culture that enable me to become a leader for our local business, not just a component.
Some of the most impactful conversations of my career have occurred in the office of Mark Halverson, our Omaha GM/VP, over a cup of coffee (a light Starbucks Double Shot to be exact). He shared with me his brand of “results with integrity” and instilled the importance of values that will shape the rest of my career.
As I reflect on my role today overseeing content strategy for our 34 market-leading radio stations across the United States, I could think of a more exciting place to be in my career.
Our business touches everything from life-impacting severe weather to the biggest concerts in the world. We connect with audiences in ways unimaginable 20, 10, or even five years ago.
I am proud to work alongside such dedicated partners every day that challenge our processes, commit to our local communities, and strive to create a better-informed world.
Thanks for the past half-decade and cheers to the next!