Vanessa Vancour is the go-to faculty for multimedia news reporting in The Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno. She studied broadcast journalism at University of Southern California and gained internship experience at Dateline, Fox News and Del Mundo. It was her dream to be on air and that’s where she landed her first job, which led to her second job at News Channel 4 in Reno. She later worked in social media for Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority and was an account manager and strategist for Noble Studios.
Vanessa is what we call an intrapreneur. After being hired as the Coordinator for the Nevada Media Alliance in The Reynolds School, she dove head first to develop and launch a unique bilingual news program. She recognizes that student feedback is critical in the development of this project and she’s amazed that some students have taken her bilingual news production course more than once. A true testament to Vanessa’s impact is the fact that the Journalism students nominated her for the Semenza Teaching Award, which she was honored to receive at the Savitt Awards Banquet this Spring 2016.
I had the opportunity to ask Vanessa Vancour five questions on excellence; check out her answers below.
Excellence Q&A with Vanessa Vancour
Q: What is the number one tip to maintain excellence in the work you do?
A: Surround yourself with people who give you honest feedback; seek it and be open to receiving it. I have my vision for the bilingual news program, but when I get feedback it’s a reminder to step back and remove myself so that I can accept other people’s ideas. The students are the most important group to provide feedback.
Q: If you advanced in your career, moved on to the next biggest and best thing, what specific quality would you look for in a person that would replace you with excellence?
A: Being open-minded to let the students take charge, lead the way and make suggestions for improvement. It’s also important to lead with kindness. It has nothing to do with skill-set; it’s more about openness and inclusivity.
Q: Overall, if you could name one strength, what would you say contributes most to your excellence?
A: Connecting students’ skills with opportunities in environments that they would thrive. I also try to identify strengths in people I work with and build on those, but I like to encourage people to try something new to develop other skills.
Q: How does your personality contribute to excellence?
A: I’m extroverted and a virgo. I’m social and like being around people and thrive on other people’s energy. I can also be a perfectionist and I get in my head which creates control issues that often lead me to be over-prepared for meetings and thoroughly researched before I make a claim.
Q: What advice for excellence would you give your 20-year-old self?
A: When we’re in our early twenties, we care so much about what other people think, including our appearance and decisions we make. I would go back and tell myself to worry less or not at all so that I could find my voice sooner. I would ask, what’s the worst that’s going to happen? Prepare for that and then you can do it.
Learn more about Vanessa Vancour in part one of this blog.