AAJA Broadcast Mentor of the Year 2009

This may be the only time I'm ever in a category with Juju Chang, Lillian Kim, and Sydnie Kohara. And it's definitely the only time I would walk away as the winner. Unless we're talking Biggest Cryer of the Year award. I would definitely take home that prize too.

My mentee Candice Nguyen, no not my sister, really, she's just my intern, wrote this really lovely letter nominating me for AAJA's inaugural Broadcast Mentor of the Year award. And her boyfriend sent in a nice letter too, pretty impressive since he's an engineering major and has never met me before. He's only heard the boot camp stories from Candice about what crazy things I've put her through as my intern/personal assistant/slave. Just kidding HR. She was very well fed, watered and cared for under my watch. And had total and complete liberty and justice for all.

Anyway, she, being the studious, fast adapting, brilliant intern that she is, saw that AAJA was looking for nominees for this award and she wrote a letter, complete with anecdotes about how I tossed her into a whirling dervish of journalism on the super hot cycle and she survived and thrived.Example: we were going to try and snag a sit down interview with Eliot Spitzer when he was in town. En route I told Candice to prepare some questions in case I could get him to stick around and talk to with her after our interview. He complied, I introduced them with some small talk about NYU, Candice's alma mater, bada bing bada boom, she has a kick ass Q&A with the former governor of NY.

I was so touched and proud to be the first winner of this national award but I was even more proud to be able to brag about Candice and the many successes she's earned already in her short career.

So I walked up to accept the award and as I started thanking my own mentors throughout the years at AAJA, I started choking up. Out of nowhere my voice started cracking and wavering and daring to slip into a whimper. Add that to the list of things that make me cry: thinking back on the people who have helped me in my life. I am tearing up just writing this. DORK. If I ever am asked to cry on the spot, this will be my go-to trick. Remember my mentors and the nice things they did = insta-tears.

I didn't hear the end of it for the rest of the convention. Most of my colleagues were so gracious and even said they too teared up. Tears of laughter, but still. But Owie, the 400 times you tearfully imitated me and mocked my "pay it forward" comment were uncalled for. It's OK though. I know it's a coping mechanism for your mentee failing to nominate you. There's always next year.