Tell me a bit about yourself.
I am from Moorhead. I live with my husband, two kids, English bulldog, and a third baby who is due in July. We’re adding to the craziness! Minivan shopping and all of that.
How did you get involved in your work?
I went to high school in Devils Lake. I started in the broadcast class they offered there. From there I realized “Hey, I could do this! I really like this!” So, after high school I moved here to go to school at MSUM and got into broadcast journalism right away. Toward the end of schooling I needed to find a job, so I applied at WDAY almost ten years ago. I started as a part-time production assistant, learning how to run the teleprompter and things like that. From there, I went on to become our broadcast director. Then I got into the programming coordinator position.
In ten years, especially in your field, I imagine you’ve seen a lot of things change.
I think that’s what’s exciting about working behind the scenes here. Technology is always changing. We’re growing and learning along with it.
Were you always interested in broadcasting, or was it having that first class that showed you this was a career option?
I think the class really started things. They offered a look into the different parts of broadcasting, like anchoring and photography. When I started college I figured it would be fun. When most people think broadcasting they think of anchoring or being on camera. But I wasn’t sure that was for me. I didn’t want to be a reporter. But the field offers so many other opportunities, I was able to find something still in the field.
I think that happens a lot, like you go into something with a clear idea of the career you’ve mapped out for yourself and realize it might not be for you. Was it scary to realize you didn’t want to be an anchor, or did you feel confident exploring other career options within broadcasting?
I don’t think I was worried or scared. You put all that time and energy into a degree, but for me I knew I loved this field and wanted to stick with it. So, getting into production showed me I could stick with it. Programming is a little different, but I still oversee our production department, and it’s fun to see people coming in where I first started and getting their foot in the door. Now that I’ve been in programming for so long it’s almost hard to remember those production days!
Tell me more about what you do.
I’m the programming coordinator. I handle all of our schedules for all of the channels that we operate. It’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work. I also help with creative production where we need to shoot and edit commercials. I help oversee special reports, or things like that that come up, like if something needs to be interrupted or streamed online. What I like about what I do is that it’s different every day. I never know how my day is going to work out. Live TV, you just never know. Things happen and you have to jump in. I’ve been here ten years, and they’ve flown by, because there are so many different elements and it’s always changing. Even after ten years there are things I’m learning, and I’ve had the opportunity to grow.
What do you find challenging about your work?
You have to be ready for anything. You have to be ready to think on your toes. If we’re live, there isn’t time to sit and think. It’s fun and exciting, but that can be challenging. I don’t always get to think through the next step.
What makes WDAY particularly supportive for female employees?
They really do a great job of providing opportunity. Any time I’ve wanted to explore something or learn more about something, they’ve encouraged me and have been willing to work with me on it. It’s a great work culture.
As a working mom in a field that can be really intense, how do you strike a balance between those two parts of your life?
By staying organized. It’s hard to keep a routine in my job, because the hours can be all over the place. But organization is a big thing for me. At work I have folders and a filled-out calendar. I also have a good support system. My husband is always willing to jump in if I have to rush into the office at the last minute, and we have family in town who are also willing to help out with the kids.
Have you felt supported at work as an expecting mom?
Yes! This is my third time going on maternity leave. I feel confident with the support they’re offering so I can step away for three months, which is a long time in the world of TV. We’re making sure everything on my plate is being taken care of, and that the transition in and out will be fairly easy. You know when you come back from maternity leave there are like 6,000 emails to go through. But I feel good about stepping away and coming back, and that things are being handled by the team.
What advice do you have for women trying to get into your field?
Be willing to learn and grow. With technology and just the pace of things, you have to be ready and willing to adapt. Things can change quickly!