How long do you have to live somewhere until you officially call it home? After 17 years, I can safely say Tampa, Florida is my home. So many of life’s big moments have happened here, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
I grew up in Northern Kentucky and graduated from Northern Kentucky University. I got my first TV job anchoring and reporting in Quincy, Illinois. It sits right on the Mississippi River (where I covered more flooding stories than I can count.)
That brings me to Tampa. I came here in 2000 as an anchor and reporter for Bay News 9. Just months later, Florida would be the center of one of the biggest stories in the world. The 2000 election and recount! I hope I never have to see a ‘hanging chad’ ever again! Also, one of the most significant moments in my career happened here: 9/11/2001. I was anchoring that morning, tasked with the job of trying to get out the most accurate details as quickly as I could deliver them. President Bush was in Sarasota that morning. So much was happening, so quickly and it didn’t matter that it was in New York City. Terrorists had hit our home, our people and admittedly we were scared. I stayed calm on that anchor desk for the next 8 hours, doing my best to walk you through what happened, calm your fears and finally guide you on how you could help. It was a tough few weeks. Like many of you, I remember going home that night and crying, just hugging my 5 year old son and wondering what kind of world he will grow up in.
Living here, hurricanes and tropical storms are a way of life. Most of you know how to prepare and what to do, but the news can provide critical information you need to make sure you are safe. I remember working 12 hour shifts more times than I could count in the summer of 2004. Remember that year? Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne criss-crossed the state hitting some portion of the Tampa Bay area. It was crazy. I did my best both at the anchor desk and out reporting in the wind and rain to bring you the information you needed to know.
I left TV for radio in 2005. I was half of the Travis and Jenny Show on US 103.5 here in Tampa. Any country music fans out there?? That job was a blast. It was a little less serious than news. Travis and I were always looking for ways to make you smile on your way home. My favorite part of that job, by far, was doing the US 103.5 Cares for Kids Radiothon to raise money for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. I still get to go back every year and hang out with Travis and help raise money. It truly touches my heart meeting the families who come back year after year to tell us how much that hospital means to them. We’ve raised more than $1.5 million dollars and it all stays local helping your children when they need it most.
But news was in my blood! In 2013, I started anchoring the morning news on 970 WFLA radio.
And now I’ve come full circle! In 2015, I came back to TV at 10 News and I haven’t looked back.
17 years in Tampa, 17 years telling you important stories, 17 years of getting to know what’s important to you. I’ve raised my family here. My daughter is now in high school and my son is at UCF. My husband is in the news business too, he’s a videographer! Singing is a passion of mine. You might catch me performing the National Anthem at a Rays game or Lightning game or other events around town. And I love Florida! How many people can say they get to live where people want to vacation? But I don’t just live here… Tampa is my home.