Karen Drew is not only an extremely talented and successful anchorwoman and reporter, she's a loving wife, mom and one of my long-time dear friends. She has always had an energy that lights up the room and touches everyone around her. I sat down with Karen Drew for a quick Q+A. Love her responses, especially the advice she received from Oprah!
CD: When and why did you decide to become a TV Reporter?
KD: I decided back in high school when I was 14 years old I wanted to pursue a career in Broadcast News. I was always curious, loved asking questions, enjoyed reading, loved writing, and felt comfortable speaking - so I thought this could be the career for me. I wrote letters to a few TV Anchors in Chicago and two of them actually responded, talked to me on the phone, gave me advice, and would later critique my work as I moved from market to market!!
CD: Can you walk us through a typical day for you? What is the best part of your day?
KD: There really isn’t a “Typical Day” .. and that is exactly why I LOVE my job. I can be at a crime scene one day, in the middle of a snow storm the next, confronting a slumlord , then going undercover to take part in surveillance.
Currently, I Anchor the 4pm News and also am an Investigative Reporter. So“typically” in the morning I tend to set up stories, conduct interviews, write my stories. In the afternoon I am meeting with my producer for the 4pm going over the rundown, confirming which stories we want to put in a newscast, writing copy, and preparing for the show doing LIVE updates and also teasing what is coming up on social media.
Best part of the day - I LOVE anchoring breaking news being on set as a story develops and I am there to help navigate and talk to the audience. From the Reporter standpoint - best part is when you get that awesome confrontation. You were able to do the investigating, get the facts, and then hold someone accountable - always feels great making a difference!
CD: What did you learn from your biggest failure? What would you have done differently?
KD: My first job was in Dickinson, North Dakota - after working there just 3 months the company decided to close the bureau I was working at - which took me at a complete surprise. Everyone lost their jobs. What I Iearned from that - always have a backup plan, always network, don't be complacent and depend on a company for your future , you have to depend on YOURSELF.
CD: What was the best piece of advice you ever got? The worst?
KD: Best advice - Help other women. Oprah told me that as a young reporter - I was doing a 5 part behind the scenes story with her on her show. During the interview, she told me this business can be catty and women in particular can be our worst enemies. She told me never to cut down other women, don't judge by silly standards of appearance or weight, encourage other women, lift them up and help. I have been doing that throughout my career and I believe it has truly made a difference in my happiness and my success. I just wish MORE women would follow that advice - unfortunately, the worst critics in my career have ALWAYS been women.
CD: What advice would you give to aspiring reporters?
KD: Turn around and find ALL the stories. So many times we as reporters rush to the scene to cover the "BIG" story but forget about the people who are most affected. When you arrive - turn around from that burning home to see that person on the sidewalk who perhaps grew up in that home watch it burn, turn around from that person at the podium and find out why others in the audience are shouting, screaming, or maybe crying- what do they care about?
CD: How do you stay healthy (physically and mentally) while working a pretty intense job?
KD: Exercise is a part of my daily life. I set the alarm early before the kiddos wake up and go on a morning run. If I have extra time, I throw in a little bit of yoga and weights for my arms. I try to make a workout class at least once a week but honestly my schedule is so crazy sometimes I don't make the class.
Mental health is also so important - I take time each morning when I wake to reflect on what I want to happen that day and take the time to acknowledge the blessings in my life... by doing that I start myself out on a positive note. I love journaling but have to admit - that is not a constant for me -- but when I do do it -- I notice a better healthier attitude.
CD: You have two young daughters. Do you ever deal with mom guilt? Tips for making it all work?
I deal with mom guilt every day. It's hard to balance - but I try to be a good communicator for my 6 and 4 year old girls. I let them know what to expect - if I have a long day ahead, or perhaps won't be back to tuck them in at night. I also do a lot of planning - so i can attend their school events, field trips, and be there for things that are important to them. I'll be honest I don't make everything - but I sure do try. When I"m home I try to be engaged with the girls, I leave my phone in my bedroom, and make sure to play WITH them ... not just watch them. Snuggle time is huge in our house - we always make time to snuggle at night and talk before we go to bed - we have some of the best and funniest conversations at that time.
CD: What's your favorite book?
KD: Zen and Art of Happiness - I learned so much from this book and re-read it all the time. It helps me deal with stress, worry, and helps me create a mindful happiness in my day to day life.
CD: Who would you most like to have dinner with?
KD: My father - He died when he was just 62 years old from melanoma ... and I miss him every day. His humor, his allegiance to family, and just "being a good person" , keeping your word, and being dependable are lessons that made me who I am.
CD: What's your favorite vacation spot?
KD: Anywhere on a beach - I feel so calm and happy when I am by the ocean. The sounds of the waves, the feel of the sand, the fresh air, and the simple innocence of watching my girls play bring me so much happiness.