The Road Less Traveled

March 19, 2012

By Katrice

If you've had a few face-to-face conversations with me, you know that my grandfather is my hero. That distinction came during the second year I was a reporter for my hometown newspaper, The Sandusky Register, when I had the privilege of writing a special feature about his life in the community. Before I knew anything about his trials and triumphs, however, my foundation and respect for the benefits of hard work had already been set by my mother — his daughter. I'm not ashamed to say that few things came to us easily when I was a child. What we had was the direct result of my mother's earnest efforts and solid reputation; one literally fed the other. 

When I started as a reporter, I was a recent college graduate with a degree in English and absolutely no journalistic prowess. Starting at the ground level is a theme in my life. I began my work with the Register as a stringer; In that couple-month period the assistant managing editor taught me how to be a reporter. And let me tell you, it wasn't a cake walk. The first couple weeks, I'd go to her complaining about my ledes being rewritten and my headlines changed, and her reply was always the same: "Do it better and it won't require my revising." I took that as a challenge. I'd write my story, put it in Ready to Edit, and proceed down to her desk to go through it line by line. I started to be fanatical about making sure what actually made it into the paper was what I provisioned. After three months, I was offered a full-time staff writer position. And even with that, our one-on-ones continued until I knew just about everything she knew about being a newspaper journalist. 

When I left that post three and a half years later, it was because I believed it was a good time for me to start working toward a move up in the industry. I've always had my mind set on being an editor  though I didn't exactly know what it would take. My next move: a master's degree, followed by two years as executive director of a non-profit organization. What was happening in the midst of these pivotal stops, however, is what I contend most important in my trajectory. 

From 1995-2004, I worked at the Radisson in various positions each summer. Upon graduating from Bowling Green State University with a master's degree in American Culture Studies, I interviewed for a city editor position with the Register and was passed over. I took a job as a front desk and membership clerk at the YMCA and later an adjunct instructor position with Heidelberg College. I continued to work at the Y. And I would be dishonest if I didn't admit here that I was a marginally disheartened that my progress toward a more senior post as a journalist hadn't been easier to attain. But, paying my bills became paramount. 

I volunteered for every extra hour available at the gym ... filling in for people; volunteering to be there to open at 4 a.m.; and every single thing I could think of in between to become a standout — including offering the executive director unsolicited programming advice {LOL}. When the position with Big Brothers Big Sisters became available and I had been through two interviews for the executive director post, it was between me and another candidate. The departing ED had lunch with the head of the YMCA, and somehow my name came up. He began to talk about my conversations with him at the gym, not realizing that he was giving me the reference I needed to push me over. I worked at BBBS for two years before deciding to continue my quest toward editorship. 

As you have gathered at this point, my road to Atlanta Tribune is not the typical route of a journalist. But, it is that of consistency, excellence, enterprise and diligence. 

In my first interview with Tribune publisher Pat Lottier, I was afraid that my resume would seem a puzzle that she may not understand. But, what she told me proved that effort joined with earnest intent makes all the difference: What I see here is the summation of someone who isn't afraid to do what is necessary to achieve their expected end. 

If you have your mind set on achieving, don't stop — even if you're the only one on the road you're traveling to your expected end. 

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14 comments

  1. Katrice, I feel that I am traveling this bumpy road myself right now. Great Post!

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  2. What an amazing story! You are an inspiration to many, and a role model to even more!

    It is an encouragement to see that you, a black woman, has gone against the specifications and so-called requirements of society and achieved goals, dreams, and accomplishments that blow others out of the water.

    Truly, the global climate is behooved by your every word, move, and contribution!

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  3. What a wonderful post Katrice!! Your perseverance is amazing and very inspiring!!

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  4. Thank you for this! Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who sees my end goal. Yes right now I'm writing for free, but eventually I want to make something great out of my website. While it may not seem like things are happening right at this moment, I can never be sure what's going on behind the scenes. : ) Thanks for the inspiration!

    Vonae Deyshawn
    www.myvirtueplace.com

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    1. Sometimes we are the only ones who can see our vision. We just have to stay the course. ; )

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  5. I love coming by your corner of the Internet. You're so inspiring and uplifting. I love it! Thank you for sharing this. I'm bookmarking for future encouragement.

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  6. Great inspiration especially now when the road seems to be more curving than straight ahead. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. The moment I read this, I had a A-HA MOMENT!! Thanks for sharing your story!

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  8. You're welcome, ladies. Thank you for reading.

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  9. Great post and definitely touching parts of my road that I am exploring now. Perseverance is key and oft times it's a path that is extremely lonely. It's good to hear we are not alone. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Awesome testimony! Just as I was debating how I am in the work force as the opposite of my most recent degree. This INSPIRES me to not always question the path that is given. Love this piece!

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  11. Hearing how you got where you are is truly inspiring. The roads we take are all different and lead to different places we dont know where they will lead when we get on them but the travel is well worth it. You are amazing

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