Each week, the #SpanningtheNeed podcast will present an “Inspirational Person of the Week’ and have a “Q & A” with one of its many gifted individuals and/or groups who are willing to go out of their own way to help others. This week’s featured is Chelsea Spears, WKBN Morning/Noon Anchor.
Name: Chelsea Spears
Position: TV News Anchor
Bio: Chelsea Spears is the morning/noon anchor at WKBN 27 First News. She has spent the last 4.5 years in the Valley. In that time, Chelsea has been nominated for an Emmy for Best Daytime Newscast. Over the years, Chelsea has used her platform to be a vocal mental health advocate. In 2022, she was also nominated by the local American Heart Association to be a Woman of Impact nominee. She won the “Inspiring the Community” award for her efforts in raising almost $13,000 and rallying the community to lead heart-healthier lives.
What made you want to go into this field?
I started in “TV” when I was in 4th grade, doing the morning announcements for my elementary school. In high school, that evolved into being part of the school newspaper and television news program. I fell in love with actual journalism after reading “All the President’s Men” my senior year. Ever since, I wanted to be an investigative journalist like Woodward and Bernstein.
What’s the biggest factor that has helped you be successful?
I let myself be uncomfortable in my career. When I graduated college, I moved to Charleston, WV – a place I had never visited and where I knew no one. That’s where I got my on-air start in this industry, which led me to my dream job as an anchor in Youngstown.
What is the biggest professional mistake you made along the way?
I have stumbled and flubbed up my delivery on air (all in front of tens of thousands of viewers.) I have learned you just have to pick up, move on and own your mistakes when you need to.
What is the hardest decision you ever had to make in this field?
Whether I wanted to move to a new, unknown place for a better career opportunity, or stay where I was at and be comfortable. I chose the former, and it paid off.
If you could start all over again, what would you do differently regarding your profession?
I don’t think I would change a thing. Every decision, big and little, has led me to where I am today. I’ve been working toward a mindset of being thankful for what I have rather than focusing on what I could have.
What inspires you to do good in our community?
This is home. There are so many good people in the Valley. I do it for them. They have welcomed me with open arms and make waking up at 2AM daily worth it. Together, we all have our part in making our area a better place to live.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering in our community?
Meeting people and experiencing different walks of life. I have volunteered for lots of different local organizations over the years: the American Heart Association, Project MKC, YMCA Community Cup, Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County, Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley, Red Cross, Salvation Army and Angels for Easter Seals.
What is your best accomplishment/experience in life?
My best accomplishment professionally was helping to get a law passed during my time in West Virginia. Through continuous coverage, I helped a bill get signed into law. It now makes it easier to prosecute drivers who illegally pass school buses. Even though I’ve left WV, I know my time there ultimately helped keep students safe even after I left.
A favorite quote that you live by?
“This is your one opportunity to do something that no one has ever done before and that no one will copy throughout human existence. And if nothing else, you will be remembered as the one guy who ever did this.” – Garden State