JOURNALISM/NEWS SERIES -This month’s spotlight series features T. Howard Foundation (THF) alumni who are not only in the business of reporting the facts and interpreting events, they’re also charged with presenting information and stories for the public to enjoy. We’re profiling alumni working in Journalism and/or News media.
Catalina Mejia (THF ‘16)
Please describe your role.
My role is a mix between Digital Journalist, Researcher, Social Media Manager and Graphic Designer. Not a single day is the same as the last and I am constantly putting my skills to the test when tasked with how to cover the news in an innovative way that is simultaneously easy to digest by all audiences – I cover local, national and international news for social media platforms.
What do you enjoy most about your company?
I love its mission! #NewsNotNoise was founded on the idea of separating the News from the Noise, in other words: focusing on what really matters, how it impacts you and why you should care, and doing so in a way that will keep our audience members informed and empowered by knowing what’s going on in the world, without feeling the need to panic.
In what way did this type of work interest you and how did you get started?
Journalism has always been my passion, and using my platform to share others’ stories and give them a voice is an honor and a responsibility I take very seriously. This opportunity came my way unexpectedly and at the most perfect time. One of the things that caught my attention about the role was the unique chance to help build the brand from the ground up – in the time I’ve been with the company, I’ve seen firsthand how it has grown and the incredible impact our work has had on the individuals that consume our content.
How has your affiliation with the T. Howard Foundation influenced your career?
Oh my goodness, I don’t think I can speak highly enough about my experience with THF and how much of a positive impact it has had on my career. The T. Howard Foundation strengthened the foundation I had and gave me the tools to continue to grow my network as I advance in the media industry. To this day, I speak regularly with a mentor I met through THF and will forever be thankful for my involvement with THF, staying committed to giving back to an organization that has also given me so much.
What personal attributes have been essential to your career success?
Ambition, authenticity, curiosity and dedication! I set very high goals and expectations for myself, pushing each and every day to get one step closer to achieving them. I am eager to continue to learn new things, tackle new challenges and am dedicated to making a positive change in the lives of others through my storytelling, while always staying true to myself.
If you were entering this career today, how would you prepare to facilitate entry?
I can only imagine the additional difficulties people may be facing currently as they seek job opportunities amid the COVID-19 pandemic, however, I would say that the following things would undoubtedly help regardless of the situation: 1) staying positive and making the best out of the situation – using it as a motivator instead of an excuse to be complacent 2) knowing my value and being honest with myself regarding the skills I have and how those match with the role I aspire to obtain 3) being genuine – staying true to myself and being 100% authentic when reaching out to individuals within my network for advice and guidance related potential opportunities and 4) never letting a “no” get in my way – always continuing to chase what I want no matter how hard it may seem to achieve.
Do you perform your work in a cubicle, office or open workspace? Please describe what’s on your desk at this moment.
I work in an open workspace! My desk must-haves aside from my laptop, charger and headphones: a Colombian flag, pictures of loved ones, highlighters + colorful pens (I color code everythingggg), my planner and a reusable water bottle filled with water and lemon slices.
In one sentence please describe what work/life balance means to you.
To me, work/life balance is all about time management: prioritizing what is truly is important to you and makes you happy, putting in the work to make time for those things while also putting your best foot forward on the job.
Do you have any of the following at work? a mentor, mentee, sponsor, work BF or work spouse? If so, which one(s)? What are the advantages of having these relationships?
Absolutely! I am very fortunate to have mentors and several work BFFs – counting on a support system, especially in a professional setting, made up of individuals who UNDERSTAND you and the job you’re expected to complete, is so incredibly important. There will be days when you could use some additional guidance, encouragement and/or a different perspective to a situation, and that’s when these individuals can help the most. As with any relationship though, it’s important to also give and not just take. Reciprocating the support is essential too!