I’m an optimistic, multinational, millennial with more ideas about the future than I know what to do with.
I've worked my way up from being a gap-toothed kid in Milton Keynes, England to a position I never imagined; reporting from the American capital for the most-watched broadcast network in the country.
Those who've beaten the odds inspire me and in many ways, helped me try to do the same.
I was born in the UK and moved to the US with my older sister, mother, and American stepfather at age 10. But within a few short and turbulent years, my sister passed away; my mother fell into depression; my stepfather left the family; and my world simply imploded. My teenage years were incredibly challenging, so I threw myself into school, sports and any extra curricular activity I could find. Young, foreign, and unsure of my role in the world, it would be journalism that gave me a sense of purpose more than anything else.
In a way it was therapeutic, as I found comfort in asking people about their situations while I was still confronting many of my own.
As it turns out through luck, hard work, and amazing opportunities, I’ve now worked as a reporter my entire adult life, having been assigned to posts on four continents.
Channel One News hired me when I was 18, based me in Los Angeles, and sent me throughout the U.S., reporting on major news events to their audience of millions of teens. I learned so much about the size and diversity of America. The money I made allowed me, as a first-generation college student, to earn a political science degree at UCLA.
The week after graduation, I was hired by CNN International as an anchor/correspondent, ultimately working from their bureaus in Atlanta, London, Abu Dhabi, Johannesburg and all over the African continent. Looking back, it feels like I lived multiple lifetimes in these places, and made so many good friends in my eight years there. Most recently, I co-anchored eight live hours a week on CNN and CNN International in a broadcast seen in more than 300 million households around the world.
Here, you can watch recent stories.
Somehow, I've been fortunate enough to leave one dream job for another. I've just started as a Washington correspondent for CBS News, the most-watched broadcast network in the US. I'm still pinching myself!
It's said, "to whom much is given, much is also required." So as someone who found purpose through journalism, I guess I'm required to report what I've learned; We do share more in common with each other than it appears.
I've seen proof everywhere, in the stories I've told and in the talented people I've worked with. Logically, we should focus on our commonality more often; We could truly solve the problems of the next century, which are incredible.
Or start smaller. I've now reconnected with my entire family tree by following this philosophy, and it's an amazing place to be as I consider when I will start my own.
If have any influence among readers and viewers (and that's a big "if"), I would just encourage us to be a consistent force for good. And hey, why not make it exciting while we're at it!