People person? Check. Dot connector? Check. All around go-to girl? Check. If you live in Washington, D.C., chances are there are only two degrees of separation between you and television professional Micheline Bowman. As the community and news coordinator for Fox Television in the District, Bowman is largely responsible for all the news that the station broadcasts daily. Not to mention her “Meet Me Mondayâ€ networking event hosts hundreds of entrepreneurs, executives, musicians, and politicians each week.
So how does she do it all? One would say it doesn’t hurt that she has more than 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry, but that’s not it. Her tenacity, dedication, and work ethic have led her to her current path, and there’s no stopping her.
BlackEnterprise.com recently caught up with Bowman to talk about the advice she offers young women of color seeking success in television, how she maintains longevity, and what’s next on her career journey.
BlackEnterprise.com: Tell me about your background and how you got into television.
Micheline Bowman: As a child I knew I would end up in a communications career because I loved to talk. I had a love for writing and talking to people but never knew television would one day be my outlet. I enrolled in the telecommunications program at Morgan State University, graduated May 1988, and was hired by WTTG, Fox 5 News in October 1989. In college, when I saw fliers offering scholarship money, I would write for the best essay. I would volunteer to read campus announcements over the PA system in the student union. Anything that allowed me to use my speaking and writing skills was for me. The ironic part of me entering the television field is that I didn’t apply directly to Fox 5. A professor who—I still have no idea who it was to this day—sent a paper I had written to Assistant News Director Ruth Allen Ollison, who called me and invited me to meet her. I came, we chatted, and she told me nothing was available, but she would be in touch if something opened. It did, and I started working on the assignment desk, field producing for the 10 o’clock news. My career has truly been an assortment of many different jobs over the 20-plus years I’ve been here.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
That’s a challenging question to answer! I think it’s having to explain to someone that every story is not always a story that will make the news. We get so many calls, e-mails, and sometimes letters from people, businesses, etc., wanting the chance to be featured on the news. It is simply impossible to do every story pitched to us, that’s the reality. I find that delivering the news that we have to pass on their story, after giving a solid pitch to others on my team, is never easy.
Aside from your role at Fox News, you have several side ventures. How do you handle it all?
Very carefully! I think that each of us was born with a purpose, and although it might take some a little longer to figure out what their purpose is in life, you truly aren’t satisfied unless you are doing those things, like a side hustle, that make your soul smile. I have always considered myself a dot connector. I’m the one asking others what I can do for them. I believe one of my purposes is to help others reach their goals, and that satisfies my soul.
My most recent side hustle has truly blossomed into something I’m so proud of. It’s called “Meet Me Monday,â€ which brings together business-minded people for a fun evening of networking with interactive games, business spotlights, live entertainment, a DJ, vendors, fun, and so much more. I started this to spotlight local businesses looking to connect on different levels, to showcase bands and singers who are just one step away from becoming famous. Monday has such a bad connotation—“Uh, it’s Monday, back to the daily grind.â€ I wanted to change people’s thoughts and feelings about Monday and get them moving with positive energy, laughter, and fun. My tagline is “Monday Just Got Better!â€
You’re something of a veteran in an industry that is constantly evolving. How have you been able to maintain longevity?
I believe that as long as you remain true to yourself, being the best person at all times, you can’t go wrong. I made a promise to myself that I would give anyone and everyone my word. My word is all I have and validates who I am. My name, Micheline, is not one you will hear often. I knew that being “Michelineâ€ meant I would be as different and unique as my name. Â So honoring me and this life I’ve been blessed with means trying my best to support and help others. The industry changes as far as technology, but people and their concerns and issues never do. Only the dates on the calendar change. We should all strive to be caring individuals. Helping should come as natural as breathing. Oh, and I love smiling. I share smiles all the time – it makes the body feel good!
What truly drives you to get out of bed in the morning and continue doing what you do every day?
I have a passion to live. I desire to experience a new day, full of endless possibilities. I truly believe that once you figure out what motivates you, you can’t stop. You can be one of those that think about it, or one of those who want to do something about it. I have a saying I want to “M.I.H.A.T.T.â€ (pronounced me-hot): Make It Happen All The Time. So I’m MIHATTing in my life. The amount of time on this side of the world is so small and yes—you can wake up complaining, but if you do, be grateful that you woke up to complain. So many people didn’t wake up today. When I open my eyes, I say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, God,â€ before my feet hit the floor. I make it a must to give thanks. I’m alive, I’m happy, I may have the same issues as I did yesterday, but I’m here and I’m ready to rock the day!
What advice do you have for other young women of color who seek to be successful in the industry?
Find your “Itâ€—that thing that makes you pop. It’s that thing that eats at your soul and won’t let it rest. You find yourself so consumed and it’s constantly on your mind. That “itâ€ is your purpose and it won’t let you rest until you are living your purpose with purpose. Don’t wait for things to happen—become a game changer and make things happen! While you might sit around thinking about being in this industry, thousands of others are actively doing something to make themselves known in this industry. Begin your success plan and get on a mission toward success. A mission toward being the best “you,â€ for you and only you. This is your life. You are making your mark and writing your own legacy each day by the way you live. Would you want to read your book if it were written today? Soar, my sisters, soar!
What’s next for you and your career?
I’ve been in the television industry for 25 years this October and while I’m blessed, I desire to have my next move be my best move. I am working on taking my “Meet Me Mondayâ€ to other cities. I would love to travel sharing encouraging words as a speaker and, of course, leaving my thoughts in books for all to find a message in that relates to their own lives. We all want it all. I believe I will have all my life has to offer if I continue to strive for the greatness that’s in me. My career is as limitless as the dreams I dream, with my eyes wide open. I see no limit in sight.