• Michelle Johnson

Strong female lead feature: sharing my experiences in journalism

I'm beyond honoured to have been recently featured at part of Claire Vanner's Strong Female Lead blog. In her new blog, which features "stories from inspiring women, shaking up their industries", Claire is interviewing women from all backgrounds and sectors about their careers, creating a pool of resources for women interested in pursuing a career in a diverse variety of industries.

I first met Claire in 2013, when I was on the international desk at HELLO! and she was a very talented intern working with the online team. It was lovely to reconnect, and not at all surprising that Claire – who is brilliantly creative and driven – would use her time in lockdown to create such an interesting passion project.

On the Strong Female Lead blog, you can read Claire's posts on how to grow a marketing agency with Digital Radish founder Renaye Edward; being a woman in STEM with Durham University's Dr Sue Black OBE; finding your voice in radio with Radio One's Grace Hopper and much more.

I have to admit, it felt very strange to be on the other side of the interview, but it was fun to take a trip down memory lane. Claire asked about my day to day role, but also about how I first got into journalism, what my goals had been, and what I'd learnt along the way.

I'm very grateful for the chance to reflect on the experiences I've had over the last 10+ years, and to do so in lockdown, when (like many of us) I've been struggling with anxiety, control, focus and other elements of pandemic-related mental health (pandemental health?). Fighting the instinctual inner fear at reading my own words back, I was touched to read Claire's take on my career, as well as highlight the importance of resilience and collaboration – two elements I think are vital to journalists.

All too often, it's easy to get caught up in the every day or focused on the next goal, and forget all the small achievements and wonderful people that it took to get us to where we are right now. It was a privilege to reflect upon the many firsts – the successes, the risks, the attempts that didn't pan out, the lessons, the amazing people – that have shaped my career so far, and take a moment to be extremely grateful and, well, kind of proud.

Thank you, Claire!

You can read more from The Strong Female Lead here