“I had ideas that I wanted to be in radio, but I didn’t know if that was available to me,” says Los Angeles native Theo Greenly, “I really didn’t know how to make it happen.” He envisioned a career in journalism that would take him on an adventure. He turned to JVS SoCal’s Career Services to make it a reality.
Equipped with a degree from the University of Colorado Boulder in creative writing and an unwavering passion for storytelling, Theo was honing his reporting skills by participating in workshops and writing for local publications.
He landed a few assignments as an independent producer, but it didn’t pay enough to make ends meet. His main source of income was from working in the hospitality industry.
“I enjoyed restaurant work but it ultimately it reached its end,” he says.
Theo faced unemployment during the pandemic and had to move back into his parent’s home. That’s when he decided to meet with one of our career counselors.
“Theo was worried that he would need to brush up on his virtual interviewing skills,” says Rachelle Cohn-Schneider, a Master Certified Career Counselor (CCC) who offers one-on-one career coaching through JVS SoCal’s programs sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.
Before the pandemic, Theo had previously interviewed only in-person with employers. Rachelle offered to conduct mock video interviews through Zoom to strengthen his skills. She also helped him focus on pursuing the roles he really wanted.
“Rachelle really helped me build the strategy,” says Theo, “to think of places to apply, and take steps to get to that level.”
The work paid off. In 2021, Theo landed a full-time paid internship at the National Public Radio headquarters in Washington, D.C. This, he says, gave him his first real shot at entering the industry.
Armed with newsroom experience and the confidence he gained through his work with Rachelle, Theo decided to go one step further. He applied to become a Corps member at Report for America, an organization that places early-career journalists in newsrooms around the country.
Theo received an offer with KUCB, to work as a general assignment reporter covering the Aleutian Islands, in Alaska.
“It seemed kind of scary to go so far away and move to a place that I’ve never been,” he says, but one of the reasons why I got into journalism in the first place wasn’t just writing, but to have an adventure –and that’s exactly what I got!”
Seven months into his new job reporting from the last frontier, Theo emailed his JVS SoCal career coach. “He said that he didn’t think he would have made it there without my assistance,” says Rachelle proudly.
Although he admits that the work can be challenging, he says that it is incredibly rewarding.
“I feel like I’m doing what I was meant to do…I get to learn something new every day and get to share all that. He says, “it’s an incredible opportunity to have and I’m very grateful for that.”
If you’d like to help other people like Theo find a rewarding career that combines what they love doing with the ability to earn a good income, consider donating here.