Kendall Trammell remembers touring CNN for the first time as a freshman at the University of Georgia and daydreaming what it would be like to work for the major news organization. Five years later, she doesn't dream about it — she lives it.
1. What's your story? What makes you unique?
Going into high school, I decided I didn't want to be the shy, nerdy kid anymore. So, I joined the drama club and became the nerdy kid with an outgoing personality. While the stage did break me of my timidness, it also shaped me into a more curious, open-minded and sympathetic person. Some of the roles I played weren't my truth, but they were someone's truth, so I always wanted to handle those stories with care. Thanks to theatre, I found my love for telling stories and, later, journalism.
2. What motivates you?
My parents reminded me as a child that people will always be watching you. Some are looking at you to fail, but there are also people looking at you for inspiration. These are the people that motivate me to work hard every day. Whether that's a close friend, one of my little cousins or a young woman aspiring to work in journalism, I strive to set the best example I can in hope that it will inspire them to work hard and never give up on their dreams.
3. Who is a hero of yours?
My family is my support group. My mom, my dad, my not-so baby sister — they're always with me through every major life event. Not to mention, they let me talk their ears off about the woes of Atlanta traffic and my uncertainties about my dinner selections. Each of them have their own special way of helping me get to where I want to be personally and professionally in life.
4. Give us a road map of your career. How did you get to where you are today?
I double majored in political science and digital/broadcast journalism with a minor in Spanish at the University of Georgia, while freelancing and interning at several news outlets — Voice of America in Washington, D.C., The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, WXIA-TV and CNN to name a few. I started my journalism career working in student media outlets, including The Red & Black newspaper and Grady Newsource evening newscast, where I developed my reporting skills, critical news judgment and appreciation for visual storytelling. After graduation in May 2016, I worked as a reporter in The New York Times Student Journalism Institute, and returned to Atlanta to start my first full-time job at Rare.us through Cox Media Group's award-winning Digital Talent Program. Now, I'm back at CNN as a mobile associate producer executing the digital content programming for mobile audiences on platforms such as the CNN app and CNN.com.
5. What's your future plan? Your goals?
I really wish I had a better answer for you, but I'm one year post-graduation and still trying to figure things out. For now, I know my future plan involves being a leader in journalism. Reporting has and will always be a first love of mine. My goal is to continue to make sure quality reporting goes into every story I touch, and help get those stories in front of the right audiences.
6. If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don't overthink it. Although it may seem like every decision is an important decision, it doesn't mean you can't change your mind later. No experience is a waste. All of it is still experience.
7. What is something you feel strongly about (a cause, belief, etc.)?
There are going to be times when you don't want to talk to your family or friends about troubles in your life. That's OK, but don't dwell on it on your own. Find a support group. I'm very lucky to have an online network of strong women in media that I know I can vent to at any time, and there is always someone ready to listen.
8. What's one of the coolest things you've ever done?
Last November, I sat on the couch with my now 90-year-old grandfather and interviewed him about a topic we never really talked much about before — his service in the military. While he never went into battle during World War II, he still made the commitment to put his life on the line for his country. That decision gave him the opportunity to go to college, become a city court judge and raise a beautiful, proud family. He's the reason I cherish the life I live today.
9. Anything we haven't asked that you'd like to talk about.
Thank you for featuring me as your #WCW. It's really empowering to be recognized with so many other talented, young women. Now, it's time for me to empower other outstanding women.