As a television producer and TV host, TCU alumna Janeé Harrell is used to sharing her voice and opinions in the spotlight. Harrell, who graduated in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in Radio-TV-Film, is currently waiting to announce which major network “”The Janeé Show”” will appear on. The show will be her first TV show to air on a major network and her third national show overall. Her other shows, “”Tour of Giving”” and “”Revelations of Authentic Women,”” debuted on AmericanLife Network. In a recent visit back to campus to produce a video for the Neeley School of Business, Fort Worth’s 2010 Business Woman of the Year took time to answer some questions:
Q: How was your time at TCU?
A: My time at TCU was pretty tough because I never really felt like I fit in. I was in a sorority, but I really struggled because I felt everybody was better than me. Not because of anything that TCU did, but because of my own insecurities. Had it not been great professors and faculty members that really tried to pull me up during some of my tough times, I don’t know if I would have been here today. Some of my best memories were when some of those professors and faculty members spent extra time with me and really tried to nurture raw talent that they saw and give me opportunities. I’ll never forget that.
Q: What did you learn at TCU that helped you become successful as a producer and a host?
A: One of my most inspiring professors was Richard Allen — he’s still here — and he really taught me that it’s two things. One -— hard work, and second — the quality of your relationships. I have found that if you nurture those relationships then you’re not just a number. You’re actually a name and person that people are willing to believe in, and that’s sort of what’s helped me today.
Q: What fears did you have when you graduated, and how did you overcome those?
A: When I graduated, I was afraid I wouldn’t know how to apply what I learned in school out in the real world. It’s different when you’re acting behind a camera in school and then you actually go do it to where people are going to see you. And how did I overcome that was really by contacting faculty and staff and asking them for help, even in writing press releases and some of my…speeches, even after I’d been out of college many years. It was pretty awesome.
Q: What real-world challenges arose once you graduated?
A: In the real world, people are not quite as nice as they are here at TCU. It is really cutthroat…especially in the entertainment industry. It’s a lot of bad-intentioned people. TCU definitely did not prepare me for that, because everyone here is really nice and kind. I wasn’t prepared at all for that shark attack, so to speak. That’s something I think I kind of had to learn the hard way.
Q: Do you still face those real-world challenges, or have you grown accustomed to them?
A: Being in the media and entertainment industry, there are always going to be people with bad intentions. There’s always going to be people like that in the real world, but now I know how to spot those people and how to better protect myself. Before, I was naïve and trusted everyone. Now I’ve learned how to be discerning. I’ve also learned how to be a darn good negotiator and make sure that I protect my back and surround myself with great people who do have my best interest at heart.
Q: What advice did you receive upon graduation, and what advice would you give to students?
A: The advice I got was to stay connected to your teachers and faculty and staff. I thought that just seemed cliché, but they really do mean it. And I highly recommend that. That you go back and you talk to faculty and staff, because that helps them educate on what it’s like in the real world. That kind of leads me to the second point, what advice that I’d give students. Form a great advisory team…around yourself that’s going to help protect you, that does have experience in your industry, [and] that can serve as mentors and advisers that are going to constantly make sure that you are doing the right things and helping you grow to that next level.
Q: What has been your greatest achievement since graduation?
A: No. 1 would be the formation of my nonprofit HopeHelpHeal, where we walk women through life’s journey. Then my second one would be the television show that we’re working on now, which helps take high-achieving women to the next level. It’s “”The Janeé Show.””