The Crossman Conversation

You Never Know Who is Watching You and What You Mean to Them

Vanessa Echols may have retired, but she hasn’t slowed down.

Vanessa Echols on The Crossman Conversation with John Crossman
Image by the author

And even though she’s retired from TV news, she’s still touching people and making a difference. That’s why it was an honor to have Vanessa Echols on The Crossman Conversation.

It’s common for most people, when they retire, to take a little time off before launching their second career. Not Vanessa Echols. She retired in May 2022 and released her first book in August. We’re in Heaven, and I Have Some Questions is a lighthearted yet thought-provoking look at what it might be like when we meet up some of the great characters of the Bible in Heaven and what we might want to say to them.

We talked about her book (which my mom read and loved), her impressive 40-year broadcasting career (including 30 years at WFTV in Orlando), the people she’s met, and more.

Some of the wisdom she shared:

Until the tributes began pouring in when she announced her retirement, Vanessa had no idea how much of an impact she’d had on people’s lives and the example she set for younger Black women broadcasters. “A lot of times, you go through life and you’re focused on ‘let me do this job that I’m assigned to do,’ and you don’t realize how many people are watching you and realizing that’s what [they] need to do to get to that level,” Vanessa said.

The interviews she did that were most meaningful to her were with people who weren’t famous. They were, she said, “People who would just consider themselves ordinary but something came along and forced them to do something extraordinary.” And then she shared what it had been like to interview Rosa Parks, who is the epitome of an ordinary person doing something extraordinary.

Because race is an issue we frequently discuss on The Crossman Conversation, I asked Vanessa for her advice on improving race relations.

“Get to know people who don’t look like you and who aren’t in your regular social circle,” she said. “We make it much more difficult than it needs to be. It’s just about trying to get to know people, to understand their story, to understand that their story is different from yours. And in some cases, it’s getting to know people and [realizing] I thought we were so different, but we’re not.”

Though we may not be different, Vanessa Echols is certainly special. You can get her book, We’re in Heaven, and I Have Some Questions, on Amazon. And you can listen to our conversation here:

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John Crossman is the CEO of Crossman Career Builders, a consultant, speaker, author of Career Killers Career Builders, host of The Crossman Conversation podcast

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John Crossman

John Crossman is the CEO of Crossman Career Builders, a consultant, speaker, author of Career Killers Career Builders, host of The Crossman Conversation podcast