Be introspective. It is helpful to use this time to think about your life and your goals for your future. Since people have more down time, now is the time to plan for things you’ve always wanted to do but were always “too busy”. Or if you are in a career that you aren’t passionate about, now is the time to start looking for other opportunities or continuing your education to make yourself more desirable for future career paths.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place.
As a part of my series about how busy women leaders are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kristen Wessel, a former Emmy-Award Winning News Anchor. Kristen Wessel brings a fresh and dynamic energy to ChicExecs. Most recently a News Anchor at San Diego 6, XETV, Kristen has anchored at WSPA in Greenville, South Carolina, KCWY in Casper, Wyoming, and KZSW in Temecula, California. Kristen prides herself on being able to tell great stories and build lasting relationships with the media. With almost 10 years of news industry experience, Kristen’s insider knowledge gives her clients an advantage to understanding how the media works. As a result, Kristen has secured meaningful media placements for clients and goes above and beyond to help promote and maintain their brands. Kristen has a B.A. from Southern Methodist University.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Thank you for having me! I worked as a TV news anchor for 10 years before coming over to ChicExecs. I lived all over the country, including in New York, Wyoming and South Carolina before coming back home to San Diego and finding ChicExecs. I really was looking for more flexibility with hours, first and foremost. In the news, I was getting up at 2:00 a.m. and it really took a toll. Finding ChicExecs has allowed me to be with my family more and use my skill set from the news industry in a meaningful and impactful way. Plus I was in the media for a decade so I know how to pitch products in a way that makes the media listen. It has become a very rewarding career change and I’m so thankful to wake up at a decent hour now!.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?
There have been so many wonderful and interesting stories and clients that we have helped over the years, it is hard to pick just one! Starting our digital marketing team has been a great accomplishment at ChicExecs. Although PR is our bread and butter, we knew it was important to expand into the digital space with social media management, digital ads. Launching this division has allowed us to cater to more brands and fulfil more of their needs. It is an interesting and ever-changing space and it has helped to diversify ourselves and our company’s portfolio.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! We are currently setting up Zoom desksides meetings with top media outlets. We typically visit the media multiple times a year to show them our latest client’s products and touch base about what stories they are working on so we can help them create meaningful features for the audiences. Since we can’t travel because of COVID-19, we have set up virtual Zoom Deskside meetings with top decision makers to ensure that our clients are still getting in front of the editors and producers for possible inclusion. We also take our media relationships very seriously and we want to maintain our credible reputation of being a go-to firm for national media outlets.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Our founders, Nikki Carlson and Kailynn Nabors. They have always been incredibly supportive and I am very grateful that they gave me the opportunity over 7 years ago to help them build this business. They are remarkable leaders. They listen, they encourage and they have the ability to inspire so many. They took a chance on me when I was 7 months pregnant with no PR experience. They allowed me to use my TV skill-sets and help transform the PR department into what it is today and for that, I am forever grateful!
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?
Personally, being a working mother during this time has been incredibly challenging. My husband has been going to work everyday during this pandemic so I’ve been home with the kids and have continued to work full-time, while homeschooling them. There have been a lot of tears, but also a lot of grace and love from my children. They are amazing. Kids are so resilient.
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
We’ve stuck to a schedule. While homeschooling and working full-time, we were very routine regimented. We had designated times for Mommy’s work time, school work, play time, electronic time, snack time and quiet time. This kept our household running smoothly and on track. We also did “recess time” with kids in our cul de sac every afternoon and this was a lifesaver so the kids could ride bikes and get their energy out. Thank goodness for fellow moms who are there to support and lift eachother up!
Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?
Zoom calls. Although they are convenient and I believe a lot can get accomplished, I miss in-person interactions. Many of my employees I haven’t seen in over 6 months and that can be tough. Hopefully we can all get together again in person soon.
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
I create an agenda for every zoom meeting I do for different departments. This ensures we stay on track and cover all the housekeeping issues we need to accomplish. I also leave time for my team to ask questions and address any concerns they may have about current clients or company issues.. We have a great team! In that regard, we have been very lucky. Thank goodness for modern technology as well. This has allowed us to remain very connected without seeing each other in person.
Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?
For our family, our routine was key. We stuck to the same schedule every day to get through the time of homeschooling. We also had plenty of physical activity. We would go for bike rides and walks and would have “play time” outside for the kids to get their wiggles out. We also gave each other a lot of grace. It was such a strange time and a lot of the times we were making it up as we went so the kids and I would sometimes throw on some music and have an impromptu dance party to make sure we weren’t taking things too seriously. At the end of the day, we just tried to laugh and have fun together.
Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?
Family movie nights with popcorn, ordering food in so we didn’t have to cook, family walks and bike rides, letting the kids stay up later than usual and just embracing all the togetherness we had.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
- Breathe. This will pass. It is easy to feel like this will go on forever. But one day, this will pass and the world will be back to normal. Try to remember that and not get too down on the circumstances.
- Embrace the Togetherness. As a family, we were always running from one activity to another. This pandemic has allowed us to slow down and enjoy each other in a whole new way. I am hoping this feeling of togetherness and our bond continues well after the restrictions are lifted.
- Be introspective. It is helpful to use this time to think about your life and your goals for your future. Since people have more down time, now is the time to plan for things you’ve always wanted to do but were always “too busy”. Or if you are in a career that you aren’t passionate about, now is the time to start looking for other opportunities or continuing your education to make yourself more desirable for future career paths.
- Reconnect with Family and Close Friends. This time has forced people to reevaluate friendships. Since there was a long period of time when nobody saw anybody else, you had to actively call or text someone when you wanted to connect. The convenience factor of socialization was taken away and this allowed everyone to take a close look at relationships and see which ones were worth pursuing in a meaningful way.
- Pray. When in doubt, I pray and center my thoughts on God. I know there are many reasons to be hopeful about life after the Corona Crisis. When I feel lost or hopeless, I turn to God and He always shows me the way.
From your experience, what are a few ideas that one can use to effectively offer support to their family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
Offer to listen, offer to encourage, offer to just be there. It is easy to feel anxious and isolated during this time. Simply validating someone’s feelings by being there for them can go a long way in making them not feel alone. Send someone a meal, call them just to say hello, send them a letter in the mail or an encouraging Bible verse or quote by text.
No matter how someone feels, make sure they feel heard and understood. This can keep someone from feeling anxious and they will rely on you as a trusted source of comfort and peace.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Don’t sweat the small stuff… and it’s all small stuff.”
It is so important to have perspective and not take ourselves too seriously. Everyone has trials and hardships. Having empathy for other humans and being there to support one another is so valuable and is a wonderful quality to have in your life. Be kind. Above all else, stay close to God. When in doubt, He will guide you.
How can our readers follow you online?
My instagram is: kristenwessel or visit www.chicexecs.com
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
You too and thank you so much for having me! It has been a pleasure. 🙂