Raise Your Hand

Raise your hand, say “yes” and work hard. Shawna Thomas did all of that and more on the road to her role as Executive Producer of CBS Mornings.

Shawna’s journey begins in Houston where she grew up, and we first met. For me, our conversation is a full circle moment.

A local TV anchor at the NBC affiliate (me) awards a college scholarship to a 13 year-old middle school student (Shawna). Who could have imagined the professional bond we would share 27 years later?!

At its core, our mutual passion for a well-told story and its ability to remind us of our common humanity.

Specificity in Storytelling

Shawna’s passion for specificity in storytelling is on full display for two hours every weekday morning on CBS.

She brings with her a stunning array of accomplishments and awards, beginning with her career at NBC News. Imagine finding yourself working behind the scenes of a show you grew up watching!

Shawna went on to work as a Senior Producer on the Vice News team that won a Peabody and 4 Emmy Awards for the gripping documentary, Charlottesville: Race and Terror.

It’s just one example where she takes us behind the scenes.

We delve into the role of journalism and the importance of context in reporting. And she shares personal reflections on her career journey, as well as lessons learned along the way.

From starting at CBS Mornings during COVID and exploring how the show comes together, to her leadership style and advice for aspiring journalists — Shawna and I cover it all and then some, including where our story began.

The Beginning

December 1994. A group of young students gather on a tennis court in Houston, Texas. They have just finished playing a weekend of tennis at the Linda Lorelle Tennis Classic — now called the Linda Lorelle Scholarship Fund.

They sit in the stands with their parents, anxiously waiting to see if their name will be called to win a $2,500 college scholarship.

The video below picks up our story…

Our story continues here on Our Voices Matter Podcast. Enjoy!

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