“I was supposed to be a doctor… so what am I doing talking into a camera?”
Have you ever had friends or family push you into a certain career, though it wasn’t your own passion?
NBC News Anchor Bettina Boateng knows all about going against others’ opinions and staying true to self. “Even though I had the passion to help people, I was really pursing the path of M.D. for my mom. My mother raised me to be a doctor, despite the fact that I came out of the womb running my mouth. In grade school I’d get in trouble for talking too much in class. So, it was not a big surprise when my mother learned that I switched my major from pre-med to journalism.”
Soon after she switched to journalism her junior year, she landed highly coveted and competitive internships with Fox Atlanta, ABC News Radio, and CNN.
Bettina and I met on New Year’s Eve and we’ve become instant friends. Her incredible story of being true to her passion and letting it lead her to higher heights is something everyone can learn from. I interviewed her about her ascent to success and what it takes to excel:
Many people don’t realize how competitive it is to work in front of the camera on broadcast news. How did you muster up the courage in the beginning to say, “I’m going for it anyway?”
Once I realized that my gift was communicating with people, my whole focus was locked on doing just that.
“Your passion will ‘pin’ you to your purpose.”
Once you have made up your mind that you are going to pursue something, your passion will consume you to the point you are willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. When I [realized] I wanted to be a broadcast journalist, I applied to just about every station in Texas, offered to work for little to nothing, drove to the station on my own gas and knocked on doors, and stayed up countless nights praying and e-mailing news directors. I lived, breathed and ate news and anything else that was connected to it.
See yourself in the future in your role. When I was in college I would tell my pals all the time, even in jokes, “I’m Bettina Boateng for Channel 13 News.” Funny thing is now, I actually am Bettina Boateng with NBC 13 HD News. Watch what you say, words do have power. Write your visions down and don’t stop dreaming or making a plan that is linked to your dream.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. “-Proverbs 29:18.
Even working in a job one is passionate about has some kind of set-backs. Can you tell us a difficult situation or setback while working in your field?
I had a setback earlier on in my career. After putting my all into my first on-air reporter job, I burned out like a light bulb! I only focused on pleasing my boss, and my job became stressful and I lost focus on sharing people’s stories. I became a slave to my own perception of what I needed to do to make my boss happy. I became emotionally drained and physically sick.
I had to leave the business that I loved. I took a year to regroup and restructure my foundation, and because God equipped me with talents for this industry, I obtained another job and became a better journalist.
“I had to learn why I succumbed to a setback and then apply the lessons that I learned to bounce-back!”
What are the top books you attribute to your success?
Gifted Hands and Think BIG by Benjamin Carson
The Secret by Rhonda Bryne
What are you looking to accomplish in 2010?
I’m looking to accomplish another semester in meteorology school and sharpen my skills at a multi-media journalist.
“You can never stop learning or perfecting your craft.”
Do you have any advice to offer for aspiring female reporters and anchors to prepare for the industry?
Develop yourself to become more than a reporter: become a multi-media journalist. Learn how to edit, produce, shoot, write online and embrace and pave new roads in the world of convergence media. Be more than the cute face in the newsroom, be the deep-thinking leader and dependable team member. Know that being an on–air reporter or anchor is so much more than being on TV (in fact it’s just a minuscule part of the job); you are a voice to the masses, spurring them to seek more information that could directly enhance or broaden the scope of their world.
Photo courtesy of Bettina Boateng