This summer has been eventful, to put it mildly.
In mid-June, I left my job at KERA to take a new position as an engagement consultant for Hearken, a journalism-adjacent startup that equips newsrooms to create journalism that’s responsive to their community’s needs.
This pivot was very much influenced by some goals I set at the beginning of the year, one of which was “to do something that scares me.” Leaving a job that I’ve been at for five years definitely falls under that category.
As I approach 30, I’ve been thinking more about whether I’m where I want to be and what I need to do to get there. I needed to make some changes.
I’d also been itching to work with people who are trying to change how we do journalism to make it more civic-focused, representative, and responsive to the needs of the community. I care so much about representation it sometimes hurts. I think often about ways in which journalists could connect with audiences and create journalism the community cares about.
For the last year or so, I’d been listening to podcasts like How I Built This and Startup, admiring the innovators who are trying to get sh*t done. But I was tired of admiring and wishing I could be like them and instead, I want to work with them.
However, when I saw the job opening at Hearken, I debated whether I was really qualified for it. Several things happened in a short amount of time that convinced me I needed to go for it. And after conversations with one of my mentors, Doug Mitchell, and reading this article on job hunting “like a man,” I thought I had nothing to lose.
It’s been a great ride since. I love the mission of Hearken, the people behind it, and the newsrooms I get to work with.
(Shameless plug: Before I left KERA, a story I did on access to capital for women and POCs got picked up by Marketplace in the spring. I still do some freelance stuff on the side, so I’m still doing radio, just in a different capacity.)
Next week, a few of us will head to Austin for the Online News Association annual conference. I’ll be a mentor for the Online News Association’s Student Newsroom, where my crazy journey in public radio actually began.
My spirit is lighter these days. My friends and family say I’m happier, and I am.