Who’s That BOSS: Summer Jackson
Get ready to move up to that corner office or start your own enterprise. JETmag.com is partnering with the award-winning The BOSS Network to bring you BOSS UP every week. This feature will highlight movers, shakers and rule-breakers across different industries, plus offer you career and entrepreneurial advice.
Summer Jackson is a segment producer and reporter on WCIU-TV Chicago’s Morning Weekday Morning Show, You & Me This Morning. She has worked as a news and entertainment reporter/producer/host/anchor at various network television stations across the country, including some in Danville, Ill., Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La., Atlanta, Ga. and Chicago.
In addition to her television career, occasionally Summer takes on the role of adjunct instructor, teaching communications at various colleges. When Summer is not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends. Summer holds a bachelor of science degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master of arts degree in mass communication and media studies from Howard University in Washington, D.C.
The BOSS Network: Walk us through your journey to success. How did you get to this point?
Summer Jackson: I believe the word “success,” is like the word “love.” Defining it is personal and almost everyone has a different definition for it. While, I have achieved many of my goals, I feel like success is just that, a journey and I am still on mine.
Early in my career, I knew that I had to work hard to get where I wanted to go. While most people were out and enjoying their summer before college, I was already working an internship in media relations at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. I maintained that internship throughout undergrad and during the school year, I would intern in television and radio.
By the time I started my career as a television news reporter, I thought that my version of “success” would arrive sooner. Then, I interviewed the very respected Holocaust survivor, Eva Mozes Kor. She shared with me that although we live in a world of microwave popcorn and instant mashed potatoes, “there is no instant accomplishment.” Her words have stuck with me along my journey to here. I attribute arriving to this point in my career by being both adaptable and flexible, while never compromising my dream to work on-air.
TBN: What do you do to stay on top of your game professionally?
SJ: I stay on top of my game professionally, by constantly building my network, keeping a close eye on my industry, and holding onto my dream.
As a television segment producer/reporter, I rely on sustaining good contacts to help me with story development. I have a list of “go to” or “industry insiders” who help me to create unique content for my segments.
Also, I keep a close eye on my industry by reading the trades and newspapers, maintain a clear knowledge of “pop culture: and watching television. I hear so many people in television say they don’t watch it, but I believe we have to watch it to know what is out there and what viewers are watching.
TBN: How do you balance your personal life with your professional?
SJ: Finding balance between my personal and professional life is a constant balancing act, especially when you have a family. For me, it’s about prioritizing. When I am at the station, I am completely present. When I am at home, I am completely present. Also, it is essential to find time for yourself, whether your “me time” is taking a yoga class, traveling, roller skating, catching a favorite TV program, reading a good book, grabbing your favorite lunch, or taking 20 minutes for yourself each day.
TBN: What advice would you give to a budding entrepreneur or career woman?
SJ: I would tell a budding entrepreneur or career woman to educate herself about her industry, find a mentor, and develop a strong network. The BOSS Network is a great place to cultivate all three. The network is full of women in a variety of industries with experiences to share. Also, attend events to get and meet people one-on-one. I have found that people are always more helpful when they actually know you. I left out one thing, be nice. You never know who the person you’re talking to may know. You never know how that new person you meet, may contribute to your success and the fulfillment of your dream.
TBN: What does being a BOSS mean to you?
SJ: A BOSS is a leader who always seeks knowledge about her industry. Developing leadership and knowledge about your field builds confidence. Self-confidence can carry you to amazing places. Additionally, I believe a BOSS is someone who does not take “no” for an answer. When doors do not open, a BOSS figures out another way to gain access into the area she desires. A BOSS constantly reinvents herself. For instance, during the economic downturn in 2008, I returned to school and earned my master’s degree at Howard University.
A BOSS keeps moving forward, no matter what.
TBN: What does your personal brand mean to you?
SJ: My personal brand is to share my God-given gift as a communicator. As a television personality, use my gift to inform and inspire others through telling other’s stories. As a live event host, I bring my energy to add spark to the event. Finally, as a public speaker and adjunct instructor in communications, it is my goal to help others to find their voice.
Follow BOSS Member Summer and view her profile at The BOSS Network.