A week ago, I was talking to a young Liberian girl named Gbolu Veronica Mulbah (I got a parental -consent from Mom to use her real name here), 16-years old via phone, and she told me that she Love my Tik tok videos and that she miss seeing me every morning on her timeline.
I told her, the platform was becoming too hectic for me and that I needed to take some time off for my own sanity. Nevertheless, I was happy to hear that my little appearance online here and there are bringing smiles on people’s faces.
That day, we spoke about different varieties of topics that interested her, including how I dress. She then asked me about where I do my personal shopping because she likes the way I dress. I told her I don’t have a specific fashion brand that I wear because I only go for what makes me comfortable as a curvy woman.
She seemed more interested in me so I had to switched things up , so, I asked her about her career goals after high school and then that’s when she told me about her interests in wanting to be a news anchor, however, she added that she’s ‘painfully’ shy and that she doesn’t know how this would work out.
We both laughed really hard that day. As much as she seemed interested in me, I wanted to bring her attention to the right person because to me, having the right mentor is always helpful and I had the right person in mind.
I remembered telling her, I used to be ‘painfully’ shy too and that I also know a successful, brilliant, Liberian-American, News Anchor named Vanessa Freeman, who once told me she used to be shy via a Q&A interview I did with her back in 2014. Vanessa and I have never met but we’ve kept in touch since I found out she’s from Liberia. She’s such an inspiration to me and will be an excellent role-model for young people to know so that they themselves can follow in her footsteps.
Vanessa Freeman is a first generation Liberian-American news anchor based in New York City, where she’s a host on WPIX-TV. She grew up in Baltimore MD. Before moving to NYC, she was a host and news anchor for Cheddar News and Cheddar Business. Vanessa is also a former host on News 12 Networks, in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. Vanessa covers News from entertainment to politics. Her work can be seen on AOL, CNN and MSN.
“Her work can be found across broadcast, print and digital media. Vanessa is also the founder of 1 Woman 4 All, Inc., a New Jersey based, 501 ©(3) non-profit, focused on women’s empowerment.”
In a recent interview with www.medium.com with writer, Yitzi Weiner, she was asked about what brought her to this specific career path, she said:
“Growing up, I was painfully shy. I was an extrovert and super talkative at home with my family, but very quiet when I was out with my peers in social situations. At home, I would run around with my hair brush, interviewing my Mom and aunts while my Dad recorded on his camcorder. In spite of my shy tendencies, I loved the arts, entertainment, and television. I was enamored by those story-tellers who could capture your imagination with their presentation.”
I also love the answers she gave when she was asked about 5 things she wish someone told her when she first started and why? Below are her responses:
- Starting out, I wish someone told me that it’s ok to be yourself! In the early 2000’s, TV news was a little more reserved. Now, there is so much value in being able to show your personality as you tell stories.
- I wish someone would’ve told me that covering hard news isn’t the only way to succeed in TV. Starting off at a huge news network, you get the impression that the only way you can become a successful network talent is if you’re covering politics or crime, but there is so much more to TV and there’s an array of paths you can take to become successful.
- In general, my mantra as I navigate new opportunities is to fail fast. I’ve heard this a number of times, but it really is a sage piece of advice. You think about a toddler learning to crawl and then walk — the inevitability that they will stumble and fall is 100%, and it’s a necessary part of the process. Through those stumbles and bumps they eventually learn to walk. Those falls are integral to the process, teaching them what to look out for and how to properly maneuver on their feet. Failure will always be part of a well explored journey. It fortifies you and in many ways it helps to refine your discovery into what your real purpose is. Just Do It.
- My biggest tip to avoid burnout in this industry is to avoid over-scheduling and don’t be afraid to say “no”. Going back to things I wish someone told me, saying “no” when you’re starting out is seen as the ultimate career breaker. But the truth is, as you grow and elevate in your stature and tenure, you have to learn when you’re done paying your dues. It’s a tough one to gauge, but you have to view yourself as an equal participant in the news gathering process. Don’t shy away from talking through solutions that are more feasible (and oftentimes, much more sensible) and don’t involve you being overworked, simply because you are too afraid to be seen as difficult. Be a team player, but do know your worth and when you’re being misused instead of properly utilized.
- My best advice for any one pursuing a career in a competitive field is to run your own race. There is nothing wrong with observing those in positions you aspire to be in to gain a better understanding of what’s required. However, it’s futile to let it consume you to the point of exhausting your energy and time trying to duplicate what they’re doing, or worse, trying to sabotage them. They are already doing it! You have to take your unique skills and talents and make your own mark in whatever you are trying to do. What is meant for you, is for you. It can’t be stolen or derailed by anyone. Just run your best race and treat people well along the way.”
I really hope you enjoyed this little article and pray that we continue to help inspire little girls and boys within our community. Vanessa is such a great inspiration and I want little African kids to see themselves in her eyes.
The original article can be found here: https://medium.com/authority-magazine/wpix-news-anchor-vanessa-freeman-on-the-5-things-you-need-to-create-a-successful-career-as-a-news-3ef2e673088b
You can follow Vanessa Freeman at @VanessaFreeTV on Instagram , Twitter, and Facebook at @OfficialVanessaFreeman. You can learn more about my non-profit, 1 Woman 4 All, Inc. at 1Woman4All.org and @1woman4all on Instagram.
Written by First Lady/ Augustina Kou Monpleh