Laverne McGee is a successful journalist whose extensive professional experience has landed her international recognition. After completing her post-secondary education at the University of Waterloo, Laverne gained valuable work experience hosting a half-hour weekly television show exploring the diverse and multicultural community of Toronto, Canada. Knowing that journalism would be the ideal career to satisfy her curiosity about the world, Laverne has held numerous positions at various prominent news outlets. These media channels include CBS News, EXTRA, MY 9, CTV News, CHCH TV Canada, FOX 35 Orlando, and Radio Disney, in Orlando, Florida. Today she is back in the anchor chair hosting a news talk show on BNC, a new network that is viewed in over 50 million homes.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
As a young student, I loved reading books and going to the library. The city library used to have a portable bookmobile that came to my neighborhood every weekend. I would spend hours there, reading books and daydreaming about faraway places that I hoped to visit one day. I loved to write stories, essays, and poetry. One day while watching my local cable TV station, I saw one of my classmates hosting a TV program about the local symphony. I was fascinated to hear her talking about the performances and introducing songs from Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. I became excited and thought that I would like to do something similar. I began researching careers in journalism and thought perhaps I might even try auditioning to host a video program on Much Music, which is the Canadian version of MTV. I ended up auditioning for the hosting position at what is now Omni TV Toronto and built a career from that starting point.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
There is no such thing as a typical day for me. My job depends on what is happening in the world that day. As the host of a national and international news program, the day begins when the big story of the day begins. For instance, President Biden started his first overseas trip as President, in the United Kingdom which is five hours ahead. That required me to wake up extra early to watch international news coverage and read the news wires to make sure I was on top of the latest developments. I also spend time scheduling interviews with notable people and experts, to talk about the news of the day. I help write and edit the shows and prepare to go on camera for several hours at a time. If there is breaking news, I could be on air for as long as the story is happening. Multitasking helps me make my day more productive, but the real key is being very organized and well prepared.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Throughout my career I had always wanted to be my own boss to see if I could implement some of my own ideas into other projects. I was constantly being asked by people for tips on public speaking, communication skills, and how to be on camera. Therefore, I had decided to start my own consulting firm called Champion Global Communications. I brought this idea to life the way I do with my other ideas – I spent a significant amount of time researching the idea by reading about it and talking to people with knowledge on the subject. Then I come up with an outline and plan and begin to execute step by step. While I enjoyed owning my own consulting firm, and no longer operate it, I now spend most of my time in front of a camera.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The current trend of digital currency entering the financial system is very intriguing. As a journalist, I have been hearing about this for many years, before most of the public ever knew such a thing existed. The global financial system is very hard to shake up. Watching what is happening as it finds its way into more countries and organizations is watching history in the making.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
One habit that makes me more productive as both an entrepreneur and journalist, is keeping on top of grass-roots trends. With the invention of social media and digital platforms, regular people are driving the conversations about the types of life they want to live and the products they want to use. After COVID-19 hit and people started doing more online shopping, it became necessary to find out what the trends were just to keep up with products that were in demand and running out. Reporting on toilet paper shortages and seeing people order toilet paper online is part of an online shopping trend that is here to stay.
What advice would you give your younger self?
There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about how to improve myself. That is the biggest piece of advice that I would give my younger self. It is important to spend about ten minutes a day thinking about how I could have improved something I did or said recently. This practice helps you become more self-aware, and in turn helps you to not repeat the same mistakes and bad habits.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Something that is true that almost nobody agrees with me on is that math is easy! Many people think that math is a hard subject but it just requires time and patience to build a strong foundation and build on harder concepts from there.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
When I used to run my company Champion Global Communications, the one thing that I did over and over was to spend at least fifteen minutes a day reviewing what I had accomplished, and I would set goals for the next day. I also do this every day in my current career as a journalist, where I am constantly trying to find stories that have not yet been told.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy that has helped me grow both my business and my career, is building relationships. Whether it is with a customer, an interview subject, an individual or a group of people, getting to know people is the key to success. These days you can build relationships with people online whom you have never met and may never ever meet in person. There is a way to connect to people, and that forms the basis for everything. Whether it is telling a good story or selling a product, getting to know people is the foundation.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
As an entrepreneur who used to own a communications company, I started with the skills I had as a journalist and a communicator, but I did not have a background in building a business. The mistake I made early on was not learning enough about the nuts and bolts of building a small business.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One business idea that people should consider is investing in a small piece of land that can be farmed on. The food and agriculture business is often undervalued, yet so important to mankind.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best one hundred dollars I recently spent was on a portable battery operated fan. With power outages due to hurricanes and decaying power grids, having a portable battery operated fan is critical if the power goes out for an extended period in time in the summer.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Infinity is a great software tool for productivity since it is an all in one work management software that helps me keep track of all my projects, tasks and documents. It’s all in a single place which makes it easy to stay organized.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“AMAZON UNBOUND – Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire (2021)” By Brad Stone is a must read. Why? Because Amazon is the biggest business in the world right now run by Jeff Bezos, who is one of the richest men in the world. You need to understand what is happening at the very top to navigate your own business and career
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is: “The world is my oyster” to paraphrase William Shakespeare.
- Do not be intimidated by answering questions outside of your comfort zone because it helps you grow
- Reflecting on past experiences and events can help you learn and be more successful in your future endeavors
- Communications is key in any business, whether it is to grow or attract customers, or to ensure that others understand your story
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.