How a Remarkable Experience Helped me Rediscover my “Why”

Every once in a while, you get the opportunity to do something that rejuvenates you and reminds you why you chose your profession. With the speed of work and life these days, moments like these don’t come as often as we’d like. I was fortunate enough to experience it in April during the first in-person gathering for Nexstar’s Remarkable Women campaign. Each of Nexstar’s 100+ television markets sent one deserving woman to Los Angeles for a 3-day trip to be honored, celebrated, and pampered for her achievements. They’re nominated and selected based on their selflessness towards others and community impact. I arrived open to whatever might happen and left with an overflowing cup of gratitude.

Our company has done some pretty cool things over the years but this is undoubtedly among the best. The Remarkable Women campaign started in 2020. Back then, the plan was to send all the local winners to Chicago for a big event. COVID changed those plans. Over the last few years, the travel and health situation kept preventing it from happening. Finally, 2023 marked the first time this year’s winners would gather in one spot to be honored. I was asked to attend to help document the trip for digital and social platforms.

When the women arrived on Sunday, they were taken to the hotel by a luxury car service. Upon arriving at the Loews Hollywood Hotel, the Nexstar team did a fantastic job greeting them with cheers and setting the tone for the the next few days. I had the chance to speak with each of the women and shoot a short shout-out for their home markets. Looking back, it was compelling to see how these women would transform in 48 hours. When they arrived, there was a sense of curiosity, timidness, and maybe skepticism for what was to come. It didn’t take too long for that to melt away.

Sunday night was simply spectacular. Nexstar execs/event organizers Julie Pruett, Melissa Stacy, and Kimberly Cornell pulled off one of the nicest opening receptions you could imagine. The poolside event featured a massive lighted Hollywood sign, Remarkable Women flower display, food from Wolfgang Puck, and a fantastic DJ. When the women arrived, they walked a purple carpet and had their photos taken by a professional photographer. A couple of the women would later tell me Nexstar made them feel like stars. When the night began, the Remarkable Women winners were getting to know each other and you could see the nerves start to melt away. A couple hours later, they’d be on the dance floor becoming fast friends.

Monday was special. The day started with a television taping at the historic TCL Chinese Theater. The women had the entire place to themselves for a couple hours, and after a private tour were able to watch each other’s remarkable stories on the big screen. From there, they hopped on a double-decker bus tour around the city to check out some of Los Angeles’ most famous sites. The tour culminated with a surprise at a local coffee shop that had a huge “Remarkable” winged mural. Each woman had the chance to have her photo taken in front of the custom art display.

The day ended with the main event: a dinner and celebration where one of them would be announced as the national Remarkable Women winner. The fancy festivities continued at this event that featured surprise appearances from Leeza Gibbons, Cookie Johnson, and Jennifer Hudson. Each woman received her own Hollywood Walk of Fame star that she could take home to always remember the trip. When the moment came to announce the Remarkable Women winner, you could truly sense the love each of these women had for each other. Mona Highline of Grand Junction received a standing ovation from her peers. There was no jealously, no frustration, no hurt feelings — there was only love. As Mona took the stage with tears in her eyes, I looked around the room to see 111 other women beaming with pride and joy for their new friend. I took this moment home with me. Life is much better when we put egos aside and celebrate each other.

Throughout the trip, I sent videos and pictures to the women to keep their social media accounts updated. I’ve posted a few of them inside this post. The winners were so thankful and went out of their way to let me know my work was appreciated. Seeing the joy they experienced on the trip and knowing I played even a small role in that was such a rewarding experience. I received the nicest notes and even a few hugs.

When I was traveling home and reflecting on the previous few days, I took a lot of pride in the fact our company gave these women such a special trip that they truly deserved. I have no doubt the memories will last a lifetime for these Remarkable Women, and those memories will stick with me as well.

For years when I’ve met with journalists and managers who are stuck in the grind or dealing with burnout, I often tell them to rediscover their “why.” Why did you get into the business? Why do you do the job? Why does it make you happy? It’s a chance to hit the reset button. For me, the Remarkable Women trip was a “why” moment. It was probably just as impactful for me as it was for the winners.

To Nexstar, thanks for investing in this. To the co-workers who helped make this happen, I told you in person but will reiterate here that your work was incredible. To the women who took this trip and made it so special, thanks for making this a remarkable experience and helping me rediscover my “why.”

4 thoughts on “How a Remarkable Experience Helped me Rediscover my “Why”

  1. Beautiful thoughts expressed with my same feelings after leaving LA!
    I was timid in accepting this honor, encountering Remarkable Women every day of my life who have shaped my presence. Unforgetable memories as I look towards tomorrow!


  2. I can only describe the energy in the room with all of these Remarkable Women as a POWER SURGE, sending me up a notch in my drive to keep going! Trying to calculate the incredible positive impact of this group might actually be impossible ❤️ I felt renewed and refreshed, reminded that I’m part of doing something great for Veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.


  3. I lost My mom suddenly on a Wednesday, 3 days before I was to fly out of Louisiana. I didn’t know if it was the right decision to take that flight. Hollywood turn out to be exactly what I needed during that time. I felt my mother’s presence and knew she was so proud of her daughter to have been awarded an opportunity to experience such a remarkable trip. To be surrounded by so many wonderful women that are game changers in their communities was a experience of itself . As a Overdose Advocate I deal with Grief all year never addressing my own. Thank you for taking some of the pain of loss away . I will forever be grateful for those two days


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s