Dear Young Denise,
Girlfriend, you are in for the ride of your life. You’ll be able to make your wildest dreams come true as you embark upon this journey of producing television news and entertainment. You’ll get many roses along the way, and they will beautiful, sweet-smelling opportunities… but they will come with thorns on their stems. Here’s how to thrive in the rose garden with minimal sting.
Attitude is everything – Positivity and optimism will take you a long way; you can out maneuver anyone with a smile and smarts any day.
Take the Initiative – This was a favorite mantra of my father, the late Colonel Bernard D. Hendricks; everything is not going to be handed to you, even if you are doing exceptionally well, there will be times when you have to speak up to implement new plans, speak up for injustices taking place, speak up for promotions and pay. Remember this phrase: “enter action with boldness.”
Pick Your Battles Carefully – Think before you speak and know that every fight is not worth entering the ring. Through consistent prayer and trusting your gut, you will know when to act. Trust Yourself.
Know Your Craft – Seek out ways to grow professionally throughout your career; attend conferences, workshops, lectures and read as much as you can. You should also get a mentor who works inside of the industry and one who works outside of it. This will help you stay ahead of the curve.
Be authentic – Be true to yourself, remember why you wanted to become a producer – to inform, educate, entertain and help shape and transform mindsets and perspectives; and with any new endeavor, ask yourself, ‘what is my true intention?’ Your heart will tell you.
Cultivate genuine relationships – Treat everyone with the same respect and kindness with which you would want to be treated, no matter their position in life. Befriending receptionists, assistants and the like, will allow you access to key information and in many instances, a seat at the table.
Have Faith – No matter where the business takes you- and it will take you around the world – find a church home, develop a consistent prayer life and memorize scripture. This might not make sense now, but trust me, you will encounter situations when calling a scripture or two to mind will keep you from losing your cool and blowing your future.
Lastly – HAVE FUN! You only go around once so enjoy it. Be thankful for the opportunities that come your way, give back to the community, spend quality time with family & friends, and take vacations. If you do this all with a smile, the roses I talked about earlier will flourish in ways you never imagined and those thorns – they’ll still be around, but the sting won’t be so bad.
C. Denise Hendricks is an award-winning television producer and writer. She is currently a Senior Producer for HLN (CNN Headline News) in Atlanta, Georgia. Denise has been in the news and entertainment business for twenty years. Her list of credits include associate producer for “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” producer for ABC’s “The Revolution” daytime talk show, producer for BET’s late night talk show “The Mo’Nique Show,” and News Producer/Executive Producer for CNN, and NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX television affiliates.