They say you don’t remember everyday of your life, but important memories that come along with living it. One of my fondest memories growing up was spending time with one particular family member. I had a 1st cousin who lived right outside of Chicago. From time to time her & the family would come to Florida to visit. Even though she was 2 years older than I was, I always felt we had a special connection even though we lived in different parts of the country. Her name was Kristen.
Kristen had the bubbliest personality you’d ever want to meet…even at the age of 8! She loved to smile, laugh, & talk! She and I would talk about the most random things for hours on end and she always had a story to tell about something. We just knew we were destined to be the 5th & 6th members of En Vogue back in the day. She was also the ultimate girly-girl! She was my first pen pal. She was someone I looked up to. She was definitely my favorite cousin.
Today Kris is making moves, living out her passion working full-time in news & media as an award-winning journalist and slaying everything she touches! She has so many things going on…and she has only scratched the surface. Her journey definitely comes with an inspiring story to tell. Today’s Hustle, Honey! story is about a woman with relentless passion to see her visions come to fruition. Whatever it takes. No matter the sacrifice.
LG of BB: Finish the sentence: Kristen Pope is…
KP: Kristen L. Pope is authentic!
LG of BB: What’s your mantra in life?
KP: “We’re not here to be comfortable.”
LG of BB: Do you ever doubt yourself? If so, how do you overcome it?
KP: I do. It’s the worst feeling. Honestly, because I know the truth. That’s how I overcome it. With the truth of who I am. I have this exercise that I started doing a few years ago. When doubt creeps in, I’ll say out loud all of the things the negative thoughts in my mind. I get them out. Then I sit for a few minutes, and say the truth about who I am. That I’m loved. God’s daughter. Destined for greatness.
LG of BB: What are your thoughts on the current state of media today?
KP: Media is evolving. It’s moving quicker and is reaching the public faster. News is 24 hours a day now with the help of mobile devices. Media shapes the way people think. In my opinion, there’s a need for greater accountability on news organizations. Information only lasts as long as the news covers it. Once they stop, we stop talking about it, and that’s challenging. There are more creative ways to get information to the public. It’s an exciting time for content creators like myself.
LG of BB: Are there any political or social issues you are passionate about?
KP: I’m very passionate about the Water Crisis in Flint, minorities getting a fair education in challenged neighborhoods making sure people get out to vote in this upcoming presidential election.
I’m loved. God’s daughter. Destined for greatness.
LG of BB: Tell me about making the transition into full-blown journalism. Was there fear? Doubt? Uncertainty?
KP: The transition to journalism full time was exciting and also very scary. Exciting because it was the desire of my heart. Scary, because I was charting a new course that came with its own challenges. My first job out of college was working as a reporter/writer for a cable access station. My goal however, was to work in New York City. Within 30 days of graduation, I got an offer. To write Starwood Hotel’s Online Magazine. I resigned from the channel and moved to the big apple. After a year of working there, I was laid off and struggled to find a job. I ended up finding three. Bartending, club marketing and then Human Resources at Ralph Lauren.
After six months of juggling those gigs, I landed at a Private Equity firm in Investor Relations. It was a great job that paid well and used my writing skills. I always knew it was a pit stop along the way. I did some freelance reporting from time to time but nothing full time. I left the Private Equity firm to start my nonprofit “The Kings Daughters.” It was then I knew I wanted to tell stories full time. I took a job as a Research Associate to pay the bills and learn to write grants. Little by little, I started taking steps towards full time journalism. Those little steps turned into big steps: covering red carpets, interviewing celebrities, a refresher television 101 class. I was walking back to my heart’s desire.
Breaking into New York City as an entry-level reporter is almost impossible, but I was determined. I worked with a consultant and created a new demo reel and also got a mentor. After a year of applying to stations for jobs with no success, I felt defeated. Is this ever going to happen? My mentor helped me create an aggressive plan to get a job in six months. Her plan worked! BUT, I had to move to Texas. And live apart from my husband for a year. It was what I had to do to break in, and one of the hardest years of my life. Being married for only a year and half, living separate from my new husband but working my dream job. Once the year was over, I came back to New York and created my show “The Positive Controversy.” We released our first season in 2014. Later that year, I got hired at a New York news station. Confirmation that hard work and belief pays off and dreams do come true!
LG of BB: What has been your favorite story you’ve told so far?
KP: My favorite story so far was about a high school refugee student in Abilene, Texas. Her family moved to Abilene from a war torn country in Africa. She was a part of a larger population of refugee students, many of whom have never been in a formal school student. At the time, Texas school required that refugee students take the state required standardized test within one year of being admitted into the school system. Most of the students failed and struggled to pass, because English was not their first language. In fact, it wasn’t their second or third. They knew several languages, scored high in math and struggled in English. They needed more time. My story centered around one young lady struggling to pass the test. She felt frustrated and somewhat hopeless. The story helped shed light on an issue oppressing a specific group of people.
None of us are here by accident. Every second that we breathe has purpose.
LG of BB: What do you love most about what you do?
KP: What I love most about what I do is connecting with people and telling their stories. There’s something so powerful in the human connection. It wipes away the differences and focuses on what we have most in common. We do that through our story or our testimony. I enjoy being a vessel that gets to take the elements, put them together and give that story life beyond the person.
LG of BB: What has been the biggest challenge of your career?
KP: The biggest challenge of my career has been balancing a traditional news career with a more a creative content brand. It’s also one of the most exciting. I believe my work is a great example of the evolution of media.
LG of BB: Why is it important for women to step out on faith and walk in their calling?
KP: None of us are here by accident. We’re all here for a purpose that was set before we arrived on this earth. All of us. Every second that we breathe has purpose. Our job is to discover what that purpose is. Women are likened to the Holy Spirit in the Bible. We are compared to faith. It’s important that we follow our calling because there’s a purpose we’re meant to fulfill. When we follow and pursue our calling, we give others the blueprint and the faith to do the same. We become living testimonies to the power of God here on earth.
LG of BB: Who are your biggest supporters and why does their support matter so much in your journey?
KP: My biggest supporters are my family and close friends. Their support means the world, because they know my journey. They’ve been with me from the beginning. They know where I started. To have people ride with you through the turbulence and triumph is priceless.
LG of BB: You are very transparent about your life and those you love. What’s something people don’t know about you?
KP: Whew…something people don’t know. I took speech class for three years to correct a lisp and I had to wear corrective shoes in the first grade. It made for a pretty awkward kid in the beginning.
LG of BB: What do you want your legacy to be?
KP: I want my legacy to be love and service. It’s cliché, but I want the world to be better because I was here. When people think of me, I want them to feel love, remember that I served with my life, believe that God is real and Jesus is the way.
LG of BB: What’s next for you, professionally & personally?
KP: I’m excited about this next phase of my life. Recently, my husband and I moved to Boston, Massachusetts from New York. It’s a major shift for me, but some great things are happening and every day requires that I walk by faith. It’s been a great shift for us as a couple. I’m preparing for my second season of “The Positive Controversy” to be released very soon this year. I’m reporting and planning to join a Boston station soon.
I’m also planning an epic event for “The King’s Daughters” that will happen later this fall! A nationwide sleepover where women in different cities get together in small groups, and create a safe place to talk about our worth, our value and all the other stuff we’re dealing with it. It will be announced soon! My first book is in the can, and I’m working to release that soon as well. I’m doing more public speaking, mentoring and and evolving as a media personality. I’m enjoying the journey!
LG of BB: I see you, girl. Keep hustlin’.