We had the good fortune of connecting with Vivian L. King and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vivian, what role has risk played in your life or career?
A chief human resources officer once told me during an interview of a Zen quote, “Leap and the net will catch you.” It was during a series of interviews that ultimately led to my leaving my 18-year TV journalism career for an offer I couldn’t refuse as the public affairs director of a grocery chain. The move put me on a different track within the communications field. I later became the vice president of community relations of a large health care system when I essentially knew nothing at the time about the health care industry. Fast forward five years later in the midst of a merger, and I was presented with the opportunity to either rebuild the new entity’s community relations department or leave to pursue other endeavors. This was my chance to begin something I had only dreamed of before. I recently had asked God to give me some time with means to allow me to write a book without worrying about my bills, and here was that chance. I jumped, and the net that caught me resulted in a published, award-nominated book in a year-and-a-half and the beginning of my new business, Vivian L. King Connections, LLC. When I reflect on my life, I realize that I have made decisions that many may consider risks. The summer after graduating from college with my journalism degree, I left the familiar and my hometown of St. Louis to move to a small town in rural Louisiana. My next move landed me in another small town in Texas. Wanting to move up in broadcast, some said you may have to take a pay cut, so I did that and moved to a larger market to further my career. Relocating to Milwaukee, Wisconsin provided me with my final assignment in broadcast. My latest goal is for my new career path as an author, speaker, communications expert and connector to lead to children’s books and, ultimately, a broadway musical. So how do I think about risk? Your biggest risks can lead to your greatest rewards, and I have a few more risks to take.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am an author, speaker, communications expert and connector who helps you find and share your voice by leveraging the media, moderating with confidence, and motivating you to boldly share your world-changing messages with the communities that need to hear them. At Vivian L. King Connections, LLC, we talk, listen, moderate and motivate to help you reach your goals. After an extensive career in broadcast journalism and public and community relations, I founded my company in March of 2019 while I was writing my first book, “When the Words Suddenly Stopped: Finding My Voice Again After a Massive Stroke.” I am still developing my total suite of services but I will soon offer a Personal Track to help you find your voice and a Media Track to help you share your voice. The Media Track will teach you how to attract media attention, be the type of moderator that can help you connect with your audiences and help you determine if your message is ready for the world. I have experience with this as I was able to pique the interest of ABC’s Good Morning America after launching my book just as the pandemic was beginning. I can also be hired to do some of these tasks for you. My Personal Track (in development) comes form the lessons I learned from my book, and you don’t have to be a stroke survivor to benefit. When I reflected on my ordeal, I learned the importance of what I now call the three Ps: creating or acknowledging your Posse, demonstrating Persistence, and relying on Prayer when striving to make a positive impact on the world in your own unique way. Additional services I offer personally include the following: voiceover work for commercials, PSAs, audiobooks, training videos or moderating or emceeing a program. I am also available for speaking engagements and producing videos for individual or organizational needs.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First of all, I am a foodie, so whatever we did would be laced with great places to eat like Old Lady Gang, the Slutty Vegan, and boy do I wish The Pecan in College Park was still open. My cousin, Marilyn Quist Coates, always has great ideas for food, so we would pick her up. The history in Atlanta is so rich that I would have to check our the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, in addition to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. These days, I would also need to go visit the Tyler Perry Studios. The pictures of it I’ve seen on the news look awesome, and I haven’t been. I am not a big soft drink fan, but believe it or not, the World of Coca Cola is so interesting and interactive. Plus, it is such a huge part of Atlanta that I would have to go check that out with my best friend. I also like aquarians, so we might have to go to the Georgia Aquarium. Finally, to satisfy my journalism interest, of course, we would check out CNN. Finally, we might need to take a quick road trip to either do the North Georgia Winery Tour or get some spa days in at the Lodge and Spa at Callaway Resorts and Gardens. I really could go on and on with tons of things to do if the weather was super nice, walking tours, hanging at the park, going to an outdoor concert or following my friend, Lisa Kitchens’ band. Atlanta is such a fun place. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Aside from my parents and family who laid the foundation for who I am today, members of my sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, have had a profound impact on my life. They make up a large part of one of the three Ps I embrace and write about in my book, “When the Words Suddenly Stopped: Finding My Voice Again After a Massive Stroke.” To help me heal from my unexpected health scare, I needed a posse, as I am a single woman and the only member of my biological family in my city. My sorors, as we call each other, were there from the beginning, assembling a team to assist me, contacting my parents, and advocating for me at the hospital, where I spent 10 days in neurological intensive care and an entirety of 32 days. I interviewed those members who came to my rescue for their perspective, and thus, they are a large part of my story, a large part of my posse. Today, their support continues. My book launched in March 2020, just after the country shut down because of COVID-19. Prior to that, one of my sorors in Atlanta, Sandi Peterson-Cooper, committed to hosting a book event in her home. Others have invited me to speak to their chapters, participated on my book launch team, urged me to seek a listing in the Delta Authors on Tour Directory, and even served as early readers to make sure I launched the best book possible. Deltas have always pushed me into action and leadership. Not only did they urge me to run for chapter president in college, but they encouraged me to run for homecoming queen at the University of Missouri-Columbia, which resulted in Charles Marvin Cobbs and I becoming the first Black homecoming couple at the predominantly white institution. There has been a Delta chapter in every city I have lived, and because of their consistent support, members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority get a resounding shout-out.
Other: Amazon: Amazon.com/author/vivianlking
Pat Robinson Photos Wiley Price / St. Louis American