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How She Got There: Elizabeth Chambers, Chief Correspondent of the Human Rights Foundation

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Name: Elizabeth Chambers
Job Title and Description: Founder & Co-Owner of BIRD Bakery and Chief Correspondent of the Human Rights Foundation
College Name/Major: University of Texas/Journalism and Marketing
Website: www.birdbakery.com
Twitter Handle: @BIRDbakerySA/@EChambers

 

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

Elizabeth Chambers: There's no such thing as a typical day! Today, I had two meetings about a potential new location for the bakery, interviewed three people for a piece I'm working on for a cable news channel and baked brownies for an event tomorrow. There's truly nothing predictable about my schedule!  

What is the best part of your job?

EC: The best part of my job(s) is the freedom to create my own destiny. The sky is truly the limit.

Your work with the Humans Rights Foundation has taken you to many interesting places and allowed you to cover so many different things. Are there any particular stories that stand out to you that helped shape who you are as a journalist?

​EC: The most influential story I've ever done was actually my first international assignment for Current TV. I spent four days in Sasabe, Mexico and Nogales, Arizona and we crossed the border with illegal immigrants. Everything I learned on that shoot was the foundation on which I have built the rest of my career. 

Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?

​EC: Mitchell Koss. He is a veteran television producer and he has taught me almost everything I know.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

​EC: I love the reminder to, "Be yourself, because everyone else is taken." I'm not sure who said it, but it's an excellent reminder to trust yourself and all that entails. 

Do you have any advice for our college-aged readers who want to participate in more activism but are also juggling other responsibilities (like jobs or classes)?

​EC: Make time for activism and stand for what you're passionate about. It can be difficult with other responsibilities, but I firmly believe that with proper time management, all things are possible.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

​EC: I once left my passport in a car on assignment and was not admitted into the country to cover a story. I literally had to turn around and go home--all the way back to America, while my producer and cameraman went on to get a phenomenal story. It was an excellent lesson to always be prepared and always be a professional.  I've never felt like more of an amateur than at that moment. Being a good traveler is crucial!

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

​EC: Being on the border of South Korea looking into North Korea with North Korean defectors by my side is pretty hard to beat.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

​EC: OCD. Kidding, kind of. Attention to detail is crucial, but so are excellent people skills and confidence. Someone who is comfortable in their own skin (without being cocky or overbearing), warm and a quick-learner would definitely be BIRD material.

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

​EC: Get as close as you can to figuring out exactly what you want to do and then pursue it with all you have. Remember that we're on this planet for a finite period of time, so make the most of each day and every opportunity. 

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