Sharí Nycole is a woman who wears many hats — literally and figuratively. Whether she’s rocking a wide brim, beanie or fedora, or better yet working the red carpet at the NAACP Image Awards, interviewing every celebrity imaginable at the Essence Music Festival, keeping it right and tight at the gym or being an auntie to her beloved nieces and nephews, spend just 5-minutes with the charismatic 30-year-old TVOne producer and it’s clear the sky is the limit — and once she conquers that, the stars. A textbook extrovert who can strike up a conversation with virtually anyone from any facet of life, it’s only a matter of brief time before the world knows the name Sharí Nycole.
A former Big Ten budding basketball star at the University of Wisconsin-Madison turned communication major at Northern Illinois University and finally a journalism major at Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism where she received her Master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism, Nycole’s journey is one of swift transition coupled with a tremendous faith, and ultimately underscored by a spirit of gratitude.
Whatever “it” is, it’s clear she’s got it. We chatted it up with the broadcast producer and #WCE to discuss career, faith, family and best practices for success. For anyone with a dream and in need of fuel for the grind, this one is for you.
Don’t just follow your passion, LEARN your passion.
While networking and a decent portion of common sense are key to succeeding at any profession, please believe it’s the skill that keeps the good ones around longer than 15-minutes. After debating playing professional ball overseas, Nycole made the decision to follow her growing passion and pursue a career journalism. The first stop in following her dreams; receiving formal training in what she wanted to do.
“I wasn’t too proud to say, ‘you know what, I don’t have what I need right now,’” she said. “I knew I had some talent and tools but I also knew that I wanted to achieve and excel at a higher level, and in order to do that I needed more education.”
So what does a girl do when she wants to hone her craft? She applies for, and is accepted into, one of the top journalism programs in the country, networks like crazy, makes mentors out of her professors and leaves stronger than how she came.
“When I was coming up, social media was just getting its legs and people weren’t ingrained in it,” Nycole said. “It wasn’t our life so it really forced us to find our way organically versus the instantaneous type of success people can get from social media nowadays…that was why I needed to go to Medill; to not only get into the business but to have a true knowing and understanding of the industry.”
Don’t be afraid to relocate.
After graduating from Northwestern, Nycole moved to California where she couch surfed with family and eventually found a job as a personal assistant to Jacqueline Piesen, wife of Beach Boys lead vocalist Mike Love. Fast-forward eight months to October 2013 when she receives a call from her mentor offering her a chance to join TVOne’s inaugural News One Now team spearheaded by journalism titan Roland Martin.
“Sometimes we get so comfortable in our success that we’re unable to make adjustments or stretch ourselves,” Nycole said. “I knew I had to trust God and I knew I had to leave [California]. Working [for News One Now] and under Roland’s leadership at the time would help to get my career where I wanted it to go. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. So two weeks later I was in DC and I’ve been here a little over three years now.”
Setbacks are designed to set you up for success.
“When I got to DC it was tough,” Nycole recounted. “I was burglarized twice in a matter of two months. The first time it happened I was shaken, freaked out and discouraged. I had never been violated in that type of way. I didn’t know how to process it. When someone comes in your personal space and takes your things, you feel very alone and defenseless.
“The second time it happened…I realized this was an opportunity for me to make a decision — to either quit on the assignment God had given me or continue to push through and know that He was going to restore everything back to me that I lost.
Faith is your decision not to quit.
Having faith requires hard work. Of course there were times I was bitter and resentful but eventually I decided to be grateful. I didn’t want to miss out on what God has for me, at any expense. I refuse to wake up everyday regretting quitting, and that’s what it came down to. Faith is your decision to not quit.”
When opportunity calls, be prepared to answer the phone.
Stay ready and you won’t have to get ready.
Imagine this. It’s the 2014 NAACP Image Awards you’re an associate producer working the red carpet with no plans to be in front of the camera that night. Your boss, who happens to be Roland Martin, is running a little late and suddenly you’re now working the red carpet, front and center with some of the year’s biggest entertainers.
“I pretty much did all of the interviews that night,” Nycole said. “[Roland] stepped in to do a few and I just remember when it was over I was almost on the verge of tears. This was something I had dreamed about. Something I always wanted to do and I did it. Sometimes our dreams feel like they’re so far away and that was a moment where it was in my hands and I was ready for the opportunity.”
All that glitters is backed by some intense grinding.
While interviewing Denzel Washington (yup, that really happened), riding in cars with Cathy Hughes and covering Michelle Obama’s Democratic National Convention speech are realities known all too well by Nycole, don’t let her Instagram feed fool you, there is some intense work happening behind the scenes as well.
On any given day Nycole can be found in the TV One production offices editing, segment producing, writing show scripts, interviewing guests or racing to and through an airport to cover breaking news.
“Social media can paint false portraits of people’s lives,” she said. “If you don’t know me your understanding of me is only what I show you. The red carpet is great but now I have to work for another 12 hours to edit and create the video package.
“The moments of being overworked far outweigh the exciting moments. I love what I do but people need to understand there is a light and dark side to every thing. The dark side isn’t a bad, it’s just hard work. People see you at the end of the race with a medal around your neck and they don’t see you practicing endless hours to even be in the race.”
Find and maintain a balance.
“In the beginning [of my career] I was 27 years-old and I was young and hungry,” Nycole said. “I was ready and willing to do anything and because of that I didn’t have any work life balance. It was work, work, work. I was working 17 – 19 hour days and not thinking twice about it. I loved the work I was doing but I was also wearing myself out. I was answering emails all day and night. It was like I was a doctor on call. Nowadays I’m able to turn the work phone off, turn the email off and unplug.
“I’ve learned to work hard in the time we’re given. If it was meant for you, God will provide and you won’t have to over extend yourself. Sometimes the grind is a form of us trying to manipulate God. As just as much as we work hard, we also need to balance it out with rest. You deserve to chill today.”
Prepare now for your next move.
When she’s not producing or working red carpets or interviewing celebs or covering some of today’s biggest events, Nycole is building her personal brand as a media personality and industry influencer. Her website https://www.sharinycole.com/ houses her personal blog and also showcases her latest projects.
“I want [my website] to be a platform for other content creators,” she said. “It’s important that we [as women and minorities] show support and pay it forward to one another. I would love to have my own show one day and create more opportunities for myself and others. Part of the brand for me is continuing to inspire and motivate people.”