Defining Moments: Dana Arquilla Johnston, B.S. Telecommunication 2005
I remember my sophomore year of college. I was a public relations major at the time, and my big sister in my sorority had invited me to go with her on a “field trip” that her PR class was taking to Atlanta. They were visiting several different PR firms in the city- I just thought of it as a way to hang out in a cool city and enjoy time with her.
Little did I know that trip would define my future career.
We sat through meetings and informational sessions at big firms that frankly bored me (no offense to the kind people who hosted us) but then we walked into CNN. I remember walking into the newsroom….it was a lightbulb moment of mine. The hustle and bustle of news reporters, producers, and editors, the flashy lights, the energy, the prestige. I was like a kid in a candy store at Christmastime.
I immediately went back to school and changed my major to broadcast news. There went my big dreams of moving to a big city out of college. I would have to trudge in the trenches, one-man-band in the hot humid Panama City air for two years, only to trade my sandals for snow boots for my first morning show anchor gig in the freezing cold city of Rockford, Illinois.
“Thank you, UF, for the opportunity of a lifetime. For helping me learn to dream big and to equip me to go after those dreams. You are a part of me forever, and I am forever grateful.”
Then came a reporting/anchoring opportunity in Greensboro, N.C., a top-40 market. After getting married, my husband’s career took us to West Virginia, where I landed a statewide anchoring position, which was broadcast to the four main media markets in the state.
While I enjoyed over 10 years of news broadcasting, I hung up my hat after having three beautiful children to become “mom.” However, my broadcast experience lives on. I am currently Executive Vice President Sales Leader with Norwex, a company that allows me to work from home and share a product that allows people to clean their homes safer, faster, and more sustainable. I have a team of over 1,000 and continue to use my broadcasting skills to help train, lead, build, and grow my team.
I know the skills I’ve learned through editing, producing content, script writing, on-air presence, and time management live on inside me, and have allowed for this beautiful balance of having a fulfilling career and being the mom I always wanted to be.
Thank you, UF, for the opportunity of a lifetime. For helping me learn to dream big and to equip me to go after those dreams. You are a part of me forever, and I am forever grateful.