June 30, 2020
Interview by Kimberly Davis Guerra
Linda Lorelle is best known as an Emmy Award winning journalist who anchored the evening news for nearly 17 years at Houston’s NBC affiliate, KPRC-TV. These days the Stanford graduate is a highly sought keynote speaker, using her wealth of knowledge and experience to speak on a variety of topics, from corporate social responsibility to reinventing ourselves as life throws us curve balls. As CEO of Lorelle Media, Linda and her team produce compelling, original video content for corporate clients, as well as the popular podcast, Our Voices Matter, dedicated to returning civility to our national discourse by sharing our stories.
We caught up with Linda to learn more about her work, her passions and what drives her to make a difference in our city.
Tell us what you have been up to since you have left the news anchor desk.
“After a brief foray into real estate, I re-embraced my journalism roots and my passion for telling stories. In 2009, I started my media production and communications consulting firm, Linda Lorelle Media. My team and I produce a variety of compelling video content for clients across industries who understand that it’s not about the message, it’s about the story. I carry the focus on story into my work as an executive coach on presentation skills in a virtual or in person arena, as well as working with teams and individuals on key messaging.”
You started the Linda Lorelle Scholarship fund back in 1991. Can you tell us what prompted that decision?
“Shortly after being promoted from weekend to prime time anchor at KPRC-TV, I wanted to use that increased visibility to give back to the community. My husband, Lou Gregory, and I are both passionate about education, so we decided to help a population of students who are normally overlooked by other scholarship funds; those who may have average grades because of the challenging circumstances they were born into. In addition to college scholarships, we provide seminars on how to be successful on campus and in the workforce. And now, in collaboration with the Greater Houston Partnership’s UpSkill Houston initiative, we’re helping students connect the dots between what to study in school and the required skills to fill current and future jobs. To date, we have awarded more than $4.5 million in college scholarships to more than 370 Houston area students.”
What has been a stand out moment for you with the LLSF?
“Seeing so many Lorelle Scholars come back for our 25th anniversary celebration was truly special, but what I’m most proud of is the fact that 5 of our former scholars are now on our Board of Directors. So is our daughter, Lindsey. Our goal has always been to hand over the organization to those students we have helped. Lou and I aren’t ready to retire just yet, but it is heartening to know that what we have built will continue to help a new generation of students achieve their educational and life goals.”
Back in 2018, you started your Podcast, “Our Voices Matter”. Given the turbulent times, this is a wonderful platform to promote important topics. What have you found to be the most interesting aspect of hosting these podcasts?
“Hosting and producing the podcast is truly my passion and feeds the journalist in me. I started conceiving the idea shortly after the 2016 election as my way of trying to help bridge our divides. I love talking to people from all walks of life with a variety of perspectives, and having meaningful conversations that have the potential to spark dialogue and understanding of each other as humans. The recent protests and national dialogue on race have prompted many of our listeners and viewers to reach out with their stories. I am honored that they are trusting me to share those stories with the respect and attention they deserve.”
What has been your favorite podcast? Your most controversial?
“That’s almost like asking which child is my favorite. I love them all! But if I have to choose, I’d say it’s the interview with Dr. Brene Brown. I am her #1 fan and I couldn’t believe she said “Yes” when I asked her to be on the show! Since then she has launched her own podcast which is truly phenomenal. Our world needs her now more than ever. As for the most controversial podcast, before this week I would have said, “The Ivy League Terrorist”. That’s an interview I did with a former recruiter for Al Qaeda. But now I would have to say it’s the one I posted on Juneteenth about the Tulsa Race Massacre. I interviewed a filmmaker who did a documentary with first person accounts from survivors. That one has definitely touched a nerve and sparked some heated social media debate.”
You could have moved anywhere after you left the news. Why have you chosen to stay in Houston?
“Our family is deeply rooted in the Houston community, not only through the Linda Lorelle Scholarship Fund, but through many other non-profits that we support in a variety of ways. Our daughter was born here, our friends are here and we truly love living here. It’s home.”
Why do you think Houston is a great city to raise a family in?
“One of the things we love most about Houston is that it’s a welcoming city. Couple that with a great cost of living, a can-do attitude and some of the nicest people on the planet, and you’ve got a great place to raise a family.”
What is your favorite thing to do in Houston?
“Dining out at our fabulous restaurants across the city and exercising in Memorial Park to burn off all those calories!”
Linda is also a two-time winner of the prestigious national Gracie Award, given by the American Women in Radio and Television. Linda is an accomplished emcee and panel moderator, skilled at media training and uses the art of storytelling to coach C-Suite executives who want to brush up on their presentation skills.
As co-founders of the Linda Lorelle Scholarship Fund, Linda and her husband, Lou Gregory, have awarded $4.5 million+ in college scholarships over the last 29 years to more than 350 Houston area students. Its new SmartUp Houston program, in partnership with the Greater Houston Partnership’s UpSkill Houston initiative, helps educate students and parents about the full scope of job opportunities available in the Houston region, and connects them directly with employers.
Article originally published by Houston Family Magazine, June 30, 2020