This article appeared in print as part of “Mentor & Mentee” Olivia Vann, co-founder and chief marketing officer for the 2BuyAg mobile application, had some...
Weekday radio commentator, KFRU News Talk 1400
JOB DESCRIPTION: Co-host with Simon Rose on KFRU’s long-running talk show, “The Morning Meeting.”
YEARS LIVED IN COLUMBIA: 23
ORIGINAL HOMETOWN: Hannibal, Mo.
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in journalism, broadcast sequence, University of Missouri School of Journalism
PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Missouri Attorney General’s office, communications assistant, 1989-1993; Vangel Associates, account executive, 1993-200; Boone Hospital Foundation, executive director, 2002-2004
A COLUMBIA BUSINESSPERSON I ADMIRE AND WHY: Mike Vangel. I worked for Mike for nine years and saw firsthand how he conducts business. Our work environment was like being in a family, the functional sort. He not only talked about being involved in the community, he lived that way himself. He encouraged staff to join organizations. When I came to work for him in 1993 he said, “You are going to join the Chamber of Commerce, and you’re going to serve on a committee.” I loved that he walked the talk.
WHY I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT MY JOB: I accepted this job because I believe the station needed a woman’s voice. I also wanted to be a voice for conservative women. The vilification of Sarah Palin convinced me that people need to meet and get to know conservative women. We’re all over the place. A void needed to be filled. I hope to bring that to this community in a small way.
IF I WEREN’T DOING THIS FOR A LIVING, I WOULD: I’m still for the most part a full-time mom, and I would still be a full-time mom. This job takes a few hours a day and is very flexible. I’m still able to volunteer at my children’s classrooms and still be engaged professionally-it’s the best of both worlds.
BIGGEST CAREER OBSTACLE I’VE OVERCOME AND HOW: Balancing the job of mom with my career. It was a struggle for me to parent largely alone (with Kenny in Washington, D.C., weekly) with two small children and a full-time job. With flexible employers and working some at home, I made it work.
A FAVORITE RECENT PROJECT: It isn’t sexy, but I have loved getting our farmhouse in order-sorting, storing, throwing out and organizing. It looks and feels fantastic.
WHAT PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THIS PROFESSION: People thought radio was dead with the advent of television, just like people think newspapers will die because of the Internet. I tend to believe there is room for all media to exist. So long as there are people in their cars who want to hear about current events and want to listen to good music, radio will be with us. There is no substitute for local conversations about current events. AM radio has found its niche and I look for it to be around a long time.
WHAT I DO FOR FUN: I love to read escapist fiction. I just read Jan Karon’s “Home to Holly Springs,” and I’m reading “Confederates in the Attic” by Tony Horwitz. I also love to cook. Kenny and I love to go to our farm, and we love to do home-improvement projects. We love to travel and drink wine.
FAMILY: Kenny, husband of 14 years; and two girls-Casey, 9, and Hanna, 6.
FAVORITE PLACE IN COLUMBIA: My house. Maybe it’s because we didn’t spend much time there in the past year when Kenny was running for governor.
ACCOMPLISHMENT I’M MOST PROUD OF: I was very much a full-time political partner with my husband (though I did it sporadically in the last 12 years when Kenny was in Congress). I had to step outside of who I thought I was. I gave speeches, talked about policy and put up with personalities I didn’t think I could put up with. I had to run some fundraisers on his behalf and deliver intense, substantive speeches. I did it and even grew to enjoy it. When Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal came to town, Kenny was not able to be here, and I had to do the whole event.
MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THAT I…am a weather geek. I love the Weather Channel (Jim Cantori!) and even asked for a Weather Challenger jacket for Christmas (and got it, too!). If I were proficient in science, I’d have to go to school for meteorology.