HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 15, 2013 – In the first eight months of her career at CNN, 29-year-old Pamela Brown was faced with covering the Boston Marathon bombings, the Cleveland kidnapper and the Oklahoma tornado. It was a grueling start for a young journalist, but she persevered and shared her challenges, mistakes and triumphs along the way in a presentation at High Point University on Thursday.
“Winning and being perfect are futile,” Brown told a packed audience of students and community members. “Failure builds character.”
Throughout the day, Brown visited students in the President’s Freshman Seminar and attended lunch with them before her 5:30 p.m. presentation. Each time, she told students that mistakes and setbacks happen to everyone, but how you handle those situations is what defines your career.
From many days of work without sleep to on-camera errors at previous stations, it all prepared Brown for CNN – her most fulfilling yet challenging endeavor yet. She now contributes extensively to CNN’s “New Day” with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.
“It’s been surreal covering these major stories in front of a national audience, especially since I was just in your shoes not long ago,” said Brown. “But I’ve learned that if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. I’ve also learned that sometimes there is no failure, just opportunity.”
“Pamela gave a lot of great insight on what we should be doing now to prepare for our future,” said junior Jodi Guglielmi, who was part of a group of communication majors who had lunch with Brown. “She told us many candid stories about her career, which I really appreciated and related to. The main message I took away is that the sacrifice of hard work and staying driven pays off.”
Brown graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in broadcast journalism, and began her career in Washington, D.C. at ABC7/WJLA-TV and NewsChannel8. She eventually became an Emmy-nominated Sunday evening anchor and special projects reporter, covering several national and international stories. At the news desk, she anchored breaking news and continuous coverage of several high profile events, including Super Storm Sandy.
Brown joins a distinguished line of thought leaders who have participated in HPU’s Cultural Enrichment Series. They include: bestselling author and marketing pioneer Seth Godin; Malcolm Gladwell, one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and author of four New York Times bestsellers; New York Times columnist and bestselling author Thomas Friedman; bestselling author Mitch Albom; Chris Gardner, the inspiration for the acclaimed movie “The Pursuit of Happyness”; and Steve Forbes, CEO of Forbes and Editor of Forbes Magazine.