Native of St Ann., Jamaica, Ava-joye and her family came to America in 8th grade looking for opportunities to create a better life. Her mother had to work multiple jobs to support her and her sister. She learned early the desire for more and the definition of hard work to attain it.
When I arrived at the WRIC 8 studio Ava-joye greeted me with a warm embrace and a smile. Ava-joye, the youngest anchor at WRIC, is a skillful host. She gave a behind the scenes tour of the newsroom and introduced me to a few weekend producers along the way. We chatted about goals and visions as she and her Meteorologist did makeup before going On Air. Time flew by and next thing I knew I was sitting on set live during the 6 o’clock news. I realized first hand that live television is a one shot deal to get it all right a.k.a A lot of pressure! Ava-joye articulated flawlessly and executed like a true professional. I was impressed and appreciative for the experience! Following the newscast, we sat down in front of the bright lights for the this weeks #ShineHard conversation…
So Ava, what is your Passion?
AJB: I think I have multiple passions. First is to make my Family Proud. To be a great daughter and sister. My professional passion? Journalism!Ever since High School I’ve always known that I was going to be on TV. Sometimes when people go to college they change and evolve what they want to do, but my goal has never changed, Only evolved. I love to tell stories and help people who can’t help themselves. To give people a voice.
What type of things motivate you?
AJB: I don’t want to fail. I can say that I’m not perfect and sometimes I sleep in a little longer than I should, but the one thing that will get me up is if I know I need to get up and look for a story idea. We have Editorial Meetings filled with reporters and staff and that last thing you ever want to do is come without a story. That’s Failing, and NOT failing is what motivates me.
So as an Anchor your responsible for getting the stories, writing the stories, and broadcasting the stories. Where do you find the most fulfillment?
AJB: Where I get my most fulfillment from is when I meet the people and hear their stories. It’s just incredible the stories that you’re told. Some of them are bad, and some of them are inspiring, and so uplifting. Those interactions are really what makes me tick.
So who do you look up to? Who are you mentors?
AJB: First and Foremost, I have always looked up to my Mom. Professionally, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with some Good people. When I graduated, I worked at Channel 9 in DC and the anchors there really took me in and molded me. The morning show Anchor there, her name is Andrea Roane. I really loved her dedication to the craft of journalism. She came in, read the paper every morning and was always on point. Just a student of the Game. I also looked up to JC Hayward, first black women to anchor a show in DC. She’d been On Air for 40 years and when I was there she really took me under her wing. She taught me about maintaining a “Look.”
What’s one life lesson you’ve learned from being in this business?
AJB: A touching story, when I first started out at channel 9 I didn’t have enough money to buy make up. So a lady by the name of Lesli Foster told me “Go to the store and buy whatever you need and i’ll write you a check to reimburse you.” That gesture really changed my life. I later found out that JC did the same thing for her and she said “I’m now doing this for you, so you need to pay it forward and do it for someone else.” To me, this started a tradition of paying it forward and giving back. So now I have a responsibility to uphold to help the next generation coming along. And also that they saw something special in me.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career thus far?
AJB: My first TV job was in a small market, Hagerstown, Md. I applied there consistently for TWO YEARS and didn’t get the job for 2 years. I just kept on applying and finally got a call from my director, in his great radio voice, saying I had gotten the Job. I had major challenges at that job. There were days when I wanted to cry. One person in particular intimidated me so much, I was sometimes very anxious at work. But those challenges helped me to grow. I am a better journalist today because of those obstacles.
What would you say is the #1 Factor to your success?
AJB: I think its really simple. I’m looking for one word, but I feel like there’s >Nothing I can’t get<. If I want something I just work for it. There are no hurdles that I can’t overcome. If I want it, I go get it. No Back-up Plans. No Plan B. FAITH.
Johnny: Faith! Faith of a Mustard Seed. I was telling my boy “Everything I do is strategic. Well maybe not everything I do is strategic, but probably 95% of things I do is strategic. Like i’m always thinking ahead and the other 5% is left to FAITH. Then I thought to myself “is 5% enough Faith to have??” Well all you need is faith of a mustard seed so 5% seems like more than enough.”
What’s the ideal position in the broadcasting world? What’s your Top?
AJB: Well everyone is Different. I have a lofty goal. I would one day like to work on a level that can tell stories to people all over the world and make a difference.
If not for Broadcast Journalism, What would Ava-joye be doing?
AJB: Nothing else. Because honestly I feel like this is what I was born to do. I’ve never considered a back up plan.
So what advice would you give to the up and coming journalist in this industry?
AJB: It may sound cliche, but you can’t give up. You cannot give up. Remember how I applied for that entry position for over 2 years? I stumbled upon some old Facebook msgs between me and that director from those 2 years. It was surprising to see how many times he didn’t respond, but even more so how many times I went back and followed up again. I cant believeI kept going! Journalism is evolving and its just not as Glamorous anymore. Not everyone is cut out for this. You gotta want it! And Lastly, be open to criticism because that is the only way you are going to grow. Be Humble.
Johnny: Never Give up and Be Humble, Indeed. Ava-joye, glad to have you as a member of the @ShineHardFamily.