15 Questions with Bay Area Boss Babes
In this series, we sit down with some of the boldest and brightest women the Mobile Bay Area has to offer for a simple Q&A session. In 15 questions (or less… we know they are busy) we share their perspective on what it means to be a #BossBabe and how they work to encourage others and continue to grow as an empowered woman.
Voted “Alabama’s Best News Anchor” more than five times in recent years, Mobile native and WKRG News Anchor Devon Walsh is one of the hardest working women in news. The proud wife and mother of two seems to always be thinking of others. She is quick to recognize her family as what keeps her grounded and credits the team around her for her success.
She took the time to tell us a little bit more about her about her day to day, growth as a woman in the news industry, and reminds us that it is so important to live by the words “to whom much is given, much is required.”
Women in the workplace often depend greatly on their community. Tell us about your team around you and how it makes you a better leader and team player.
Working as a team is the most important part of my job. I always tell people that I am nothing if I don’t have my amazing photojournalists, producers, directors, etc. working on a story with me. Putting together a story requires many people, and I am grateful to be able to work with a team that is as passionate as I am. We all work together toward the same purpose of telling stories that mean something to the community.
Why is what you do important for women and why is it important for women to work in your industry/job?
Women have a unique perspective that we bring to the table. In my business, the ratio between men and women is 50/50, and that’s great. Women might bring even more compassion to a story, or suggest an angle that might mean more to a woman than a man. It’s important to represent all of our views and to be sensitive to something that is important to women.
As somebody who’s been a familiar face in local news for so long, we think of you as a mentor to other women in our community. What events have motivated you to become a mentor and how do you work to inspire and encourage women around you?
I am honored when people call me a mentor. I have tried to be a mentor to many of our reporters and give them pointers when needed. I have always had mentors who I could ask suggestions, and I try to be that person who they can come to for help.
Do you have a mentor? Who are they and how have they helped you?
When I first started in the industry, I always admired Katie Couric. She was anchoring the Today Show at the time, and I always wanted to be just like her. She had a spark in her eye when she was on television. I loved how she was so sincere and relatable. Many times women on television can appear glamorous and untouchable, but Katie was the type that you wanted to have a cup of coffee with. I also admired the attention she brought to Colon Cancer Awareness. There is no telling how many people got tested for colon cancer after she had a colonoscopy on TV!
We can tell you really love your job. What do you love most about being a journalist?
I tell people what a privilege it has been for me to work as a journalist for 20 years. People entrust me with their personal stories. There isn’t a greater compliment than that! I have the ability to find out information first and pass it along to our viewers in an interesting way. My biggest complaint is that I never seem to have enough time to work in every single detail of someone’ story! I feel like I need my own talk show sometimes!
Working in the news industry can be demanding. What does an average day look like for you?
An average day for me! Buckle up! I get up at 6AM and walk the dog. I do a whole five, yes five, minutes of toning (pushups, plank etc.).That is not enough, but it is something! I wish had more time! Get the kids up around 6:45AM. Take them to school. Run home and finish getting ready for work/tidy up the house. Arrive at work at work at 8:30AM to anchor the 9AM, noon, and 5PM shows. In between shows, I am out in the community shooting stories with my photographer, visiting schools to speak with students, writing web stories, and editing news scripts. It’s busy! I run home around 3PM to see the kids for about a half hour, then run back to work. I am home by 6PM, unless I am picking up from soccer, cheerleading, or tennis, which is four nights a week for my kids. The last part of my day is reading in bed with my daughter and singing her songs. At eight years old, she still likes me to sing to her. This is the best part of my day! By 9:15PM, my husband and I are exhausted and like to catch up on TV until we fall asleep after the 10PM newscast. Yes, I love to still watch the news, even when I am not at work.
That’s a busy day! How do you take care of yourself everyday so that you stay balanced and centered?
I believe that as women we are multi-faceted. We can be strong in the workplace, yet have a soft and feminine side. I do not believe that it is a man’s world. A woman has a place in the workplace, in the schools, and in the home. We can do it all, ladies! We just have to be good jugglers! Coffee is our friend!
It sounds like you’re weekdays are really scheduled. Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.? What other things do you enjoy doing?
When I am not working, I am with my family nearly 100 percent of the time. My favorite people to spend time with are my husband and kids. We love to play tennis or go for walks. I also live next door to my parents and my sister, brother-in-law, and precious niece, and we spend a lot of time with them as well! My family is my world!
At 10AM on a Saturday morning, you will find me on the soccer field. I love being able to be a “soccer mom,” with my hair in a ponytail and workout clothes on. Both my kids play soccer, so my husband and I are in different locations watching their games. We love the camaraderie with all the other parents.
Between work, soccer, and everything in between, what is the part about being a working mom?
The hardest part about being a working mom is that dreaded “mom guilt.” We always feel like we should be doing more, or that we should be home more. I don’t like to miss out on anything, and, unfortunately, that is impossible. I do my best to run home for my “lunch break” when the kids get off school so that I can check in for the day and help my daughter with homework. It may only be a half-hour, but I like to get my eyes on her for just a bit.
What’s the best part about being a working mom?
I believe that children with working mothers become more independent. My eleven-year-old son packs his own bags for school/practice. He makes his own lunch. He doesn’t think twice about it. Last night, he got the whole chicken out of the oven and served himself while I picked my daughter up from soccer. He was dressed and ready for his ballroom dancing class when I got home.
As the mother of both a son and a daughter, what do you hope to teach them about equality?
My son and daughter look at the working world as an equal playing field. They have a mother who has a strong position within a company and a dad who is a neurologist. I tell them every single day that they can accomplish anything they want, and they believe it!
Speaking of equality, do you find gender bias or stereotypes in your industry? And if so, how do you overcome it?
I have not experienced any gender stereotypes in my industry, but I do know that women struggle with the aging process more than men. It seems that men have more longevity on the anchor desk than women do. There is a pressure to look young, but I try to just stay healthy and realize that I can’t stop the hands of time! Sometimes I get a little nervous when I see young, attractive reporters coming in, but I just have to realize that my experience in the market gives me a unique perspective. However, I admit that I haven’t gotten sun on my face in 20 years to try to ward off those wrinkles. Sunscreen is my best friend!
We find you pretty inspiring. Who inspires you?
Hands down, my mother, Anne Walsh, inspires me the most! I am so lucky to live next door to my parents. She suffers from many health problems, but never complains! She is am amazing women. Through the years, she has been involved in multiple community organizations and works to make the world around her a better place. She is my biggest cheerleader, and the first one I call/visit several times per day.
She sounds like a great role model, especially when it comes to community involvement. Can you tell us a little bit about how that’s shaped you?
Community involvement is part of my job at WKRG. I emcee many events in the community, such for organizations such as The American Cancer Society, L’arche Mobile, and Distinguished Young Women. I love to give my time to various community events. It is my responsibility to give back to the community, and I am happy to participate in dozens of events during the year.
As a role model to the women and girls of Mobile, can you tell us a little bit about your own personal path of empowerment?
I have always had a “go for it” mentality. I believe that hard work gets you where you want to go, regardless of your sex. Being a woman has never hindered me. In fact, I think it’s helped me. I am not afraid to stand up for myself or others. Perhaps that comes from my parents, who always encouraged me. I never had any doubt that I wouldn’t reach my dreams. I feel like am living my dream right now. I have a job I love, a family that I adore, and I live in a wonderful community. It is important to remember though, that ” to whom much is given, much is required.” I know I will always continue to give back.
What made you want to be a part of this feature and the overall mission of Focus Women’s Conference?
I am honored to be selected to be a part of the Focus Women’s Conference. I love to see other women succeed. I am the first to say, “You Go Girl!” For someone to consider me a leader in the community, I am humbled. I try to live each day as someone with a positive attitude who people actually enjoy being around.
What is your vision or hope for women in the Mobile and gulf coast communities?
I often have the privilege of going into schools to read or speak to students. I am a product of a lot of hard work. I want them to know that anything is possible if you work hard. Some students have to work harder than others because of their economic situation, but I try to encourage them to keep trying. They can accomplish anything they set their minds to!
For more information on WKRG and Devon Walsh visit WKRG.com or tune in to see her anchoring weekdays on News 5 at 9:00 am, News 5 at Noon and News 5 at 5:00 pm.