Jul 26, 2012

My New Gig in a Bigger Box

Angie Bailey and Sarah Hill Hanging Out with KOMU-TV Viewers
After about 20 years living in "the box" we call television news, I thought I'd work at a "call letter" station for a very long time.  But now that everyone has digital tools to be their own media company, the number of "television stations" in this world grows with each You Tube upload.  Some call it media "disruption" but I call it media "eruption." This is an exciting opportunity for traditional broadcasters like myself to take their hands off the wheel and let the winds of innovation run through their helmet hair.

In September, I'll get the opportunity to do just that with one of the nation's fastest growing private companies...which is a three minute drive from my front door.  This week, I accepted a position with Veterans United Home Loans (Veterans United Network), a Columbia, Mo., based company which employs about 1000 people in more than 20 states with clients all over the map.  The company has earned recognition in Inc. 500 as one of the fastest growing companies in the country. Since its inception, more than 800,000 veterans and service members have sought help from Veterans United.  The company will finance more than $2 billion in VA loans this year.  I'm thrilled about the opportunity to build the company's virtual front porch.

If I'm lucky, I'll get to tell more stories about WWII Vets.
What is a TV news anchor doing at a home loan company? Hanging out of course!  In addition to telling stories, I'll be using emerging human media platforms like Google Plus Hangouts to create content and connect with current and future customers.

News organizations are no longer the only ones who can create and share information.  The Veterans United Network is a collection of blogs, social media channels and support groups.  I'm eager to grow the Veterans United Google Plus platform and show how Hangouts can be used for Business...much as they are for Journalism.     

I have 2 kids.  3 if you count my husband
The move also means more time with my family.  I have a super hero husband, a son who's going to be a senior and a daughter starting high school. Managing a social media following the size of some countries is time consuming and more than a one person job.  This move will also allow me more time for storytelling and an opportunity to work with serial entrepreneurs in a highly innovative and charitable culture. 

The Veterans United Foundation raised more than $1.29 million in its inaugural campaign. These funds are being used to change the lives of well deserving veterans and their families. My addition to the team includes telling stories about subject matter dear to my heart: charitable giving and our nation's veterans.

My KOMU Family
KOMU-TV, the NBC affiliate in Columbia, Mo., is a place that has allowed me to innovate, teach and grow in ways I'd never imagined. While I'm leaving my KOMU family and full-time position, I hope to contribute a "Sarah's Story" as time allows.

I will miss the station and the viewers greatly, but am excited about transitioning from the box of local television to a bigger box.  The online world is not limited to a media market.  

I look forward to seeing you in "the boxes" in a future Veterans United Hangout.   The fun begins in September!

Videographer Scott Schaefer
 & Veterans United Video Magician

To Hangout with me and allow me to join your own Hangouts, please circle:

My Personal Profile at Google Plus, as well as the 
Veterans United Google Plus Page and the page for the Veterans United Network. 

PS-- I also get to work with Superman