Corvaya Jeffries: Associate Producer, CNN
WFU Class of 2013
Corvaya Jeffries works in Atlanta as an Associate Producer for CNN. We recently talked with Corvaya about her career path, the impact of her Wake Forest education, and working at CNN.
DeacLink: Can you walk me through your career path from graduation to your current job?
Corvaya Jeffries: When I was a student at Wake, I served as an intern at several companies including a small radio station in Greensboro. One of my goals while interning (and eventually working) at this station was to be on air and I was surprised at how quickly I achieved that. I decided I needed a new goal. My extracurricular and intern experiences along with my dedication and persistence led to an opportunity in Los Angeles at a TV production company owned and run by a fellow Demon Deacon. Two weeks after graduation, with $600 and a suitcase, I made the move.
During my work in production, I never ignored my desire to write and create. I found opportunities to freelance and created digital spaces for blogging when I wasn’t working. Eventually, I landed in the newsroom. In 2016, a position at a small but mighty newspaper in South Florida was created for me through a top media company. There, I reported, created and produced videos, improved workflows and helped build digital strategies executed by several teams. Two years later, I realized I have a deep interest in technology, innovation and how it relates to media and journalism. So, I got involved with the Online News Association, an organization that caters to innovation in newsrooms and supports creative thinkers and change-agents like myself.
Since, everything has changed. I now serve at CNN as an Associate Producer on a mobile programming team. My role is incredibly digitally focused. On a day-to-day basis, I make decisions that change the way users consume news. I am excited and proud to be moving ahead of what’s next.
DL: How much would you say that your studies and experiences at Wake have informed or driven your career path?
CJ: I have always been creative but without my Wake Forest experience, I would not be the professional I am today. Wake Forest helped me focus in on excellence; what it is and how to tap into it. Also, Wake Forest’s emphasis on service and Pro Humanitate emboldened my love for helping others and giving back. It prompted me to approach every new opportunity asking, “how can I be of service to this company or person?” and that has done wonders for my career thus far. Additionally, I’ve learned ‘change is constant.’ Everything about my Wake experience taught me that ‘Grit’ is the most important characteristic needed to be successful and keep up with that change.
DL: What could Wake have done better to prepare students for life after graduation?
CJ: I’d say the university could have done a better job at implementing financial literacy programs for students. During my time as an undergraduate, there was a need for more transparent dialogue about finances and what a lot of us are hit with post-graduation.
DL: How did you find and apply to the various positions that you have held?
CJ: I applied for jobs in many ways: by walking into an establishment and inquiring about a position, showing up to an event with my resume or reel, applying online and submitting documents into what felt like cyberspace...the list goes on. But it is through honest and authentic networking that I’ve been able to serve in life-changing positions.
You must recognize the people, spaces and opportunities around you. Start from there. Know humility and be transparent. Share your goals and visions with selected people in your life – your professors and mentors. Listen when they speak. Stay true to yourself and be kind. Doors will open naturally.
DL: What is your favorite part about living and working in Atlanta?
CJ: Atlanta is an established yet growing mecca for media and technology. It is also diverse. Atlanta is the first place I’ve worked where I see and meet several men and women of color from many different backgrounds in prestigious positions. I’m surrounded by some really important perspectives and I’m soaking it all up.
DL: What is your favorite part about working for CNN?
CJ: The challenges. I have been challenged in ways I’ve never been before and am learning so many new hard and soft skills because if it. I am also in a global team environment. I may be pitching stories to folks in Australia today and creating a product with someone in London tomorrow. It is fantastic.
DL: What is next for you?
CJ: I plan to create my next opportunity as opposed to looking for it. I am interested in technology, entrepreneurship and becoming an author. The future is bright, change is constant and limits do not exist. I am so excited.
DL: Do you have any advice that you would like to pass onto current students and future alumni?
CJ: Strive for excellence and do not lose who you are in the midst of doing so. If an opportunity in front of you does not align with your core values or your moral, say ‘No.’ That is okay. Also, what do you believe in? Know the answer to that question before saying goodbye to undergrad.