Tell us about your upbringing and formal education?
I was born in Cleveland, Ohio and attended Louis Pasteur Elementary School. I
briefly attended Walton School on the city’s west side as I didn’t complete middle
school in Ohio. My mother moved us to East St. Louis, Illinois where I went to
middle, junior high and high school. I graduated from the University of Missouri-
Columbia while majoring in broadcast journalism.
It must have been hard to move from Philly to Missouri and then to Miami?
What did you find the most challenging during this transition?
Moving is always difficult especially when you involve a toddler. My first son was
six months-old and we had no established friends or relatives in South Florida to
help make the transition from Philadelphia a smooth one. Needless to say, there
were some stormy days, but it helped us appreciate the warm, sunny days.
Why did you decide to study to be a journalist?
Sometimes you don’t discover your purpose in life. It discovers you. I guess in a
way journalism discovered me. My English/Language Arts high school teacher
recruited a group of students to resurrect our defunct school newspaper. I agreed
to join the staff as a reporter and immediately fell in love with every aspect of
journalism and telling stories. As a child, I had dreams of playing ball in the NBA
and still to this day I remain obsessed with the sport. But becoming a journalist
was a slam dunk from the moment I picked up a reporter’s notepad and pen.
We know that you were at the disastrous Haiti Earthquake 10 years ago
and that you have recently visited the island. Could you tell us
about your experience there?
I have been traveling to Haiti to report on stories for more than a decade. The
Caribbean nation has had four democratically-elected presidents and I have
interviewed three of them. From hurricanes to political storms to the 2010 quake,
I have been there to cover the headline in Haiti. But, make no mistake, Haiti is one
of the most beautiful places I have ever visited, and the culture and people are
some of the most intriguing on earth. Ten years ago, the deadly quake changed
lives and severely crippled a nation that was already suffocating economically.
When the powerful tremor struck, just about every building and school in Haiti’s
capitol city collapsed. An estimated 200,000 people lost their lives. The 7.0
magnitude quake lasted less than a minute, but the country was devastated. Like
so many journalists who covered the former French colony’s worst day, I gathered
stories during the day and cried at night.
Does being a public person interfere with your private life with your family?
Sure it does! LOL I am naturally a private person who doesn’t enjoy the limelight. I
strongly believe that newscasters aren’t the stars but rather the news is. The
spotlight belongs on the message and not messenger. Our society, however, is
strongly attracted to people who perform on camera, and I happen to be one of
those people, so I get it! Being a celebrity is a symptom of success. And, social
media is a game-changer. Let’s just say I sincerely enjoy my so called “me-time.”
That is, off camera.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I am a very active person, so I enjoy running, exercising and playing basketball
with my children. I love cooking and my children love to eat especially my boys.
For me, a fun day could also consist of watching mindless television or listening to
jazz music in my backyard in the pool with a nice glass of white wine.
What do you teach your kids about life?
I’ll try to give you the abbreviated version of my daily life sermons to my children.
First, I strongly urge them to always be in the moment. We are given 24 hours in a
day, but we are not guaranteed 24 hours in a day. Your daily habits determine
your success. There is no such thing as overnight success. Always be a critical
thinker. In other words, don’t accept what anyone says as the gospel truth. Go
the extra mile and never be afraid to question authority. (This particular advice
does sometimes come back to bite me. LOL) I also talk with them about the
importance of being leaders, always serving the community, knowing who they
are and their history. Lastly, by example, I show them that nothing of any
meaningful value is ever given but that you must work hard to achieve your goals.
Photography: Enrique Tubio
Calvin and sons wearing Bonobos
Location: Calvin’s house