From beauty queen to broadcasting executive, the journey in between for T.V 3 General Manager, Verona Parker, has seen significant breakthroughs as well as challenges making her a respected leader in the community.
After being a recognizable figure in the broadcasting stations history, Parker will be moving on from the T.V station this Friday to take on a home executive role as ‘Mother-in-chief’.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer she reflects on her business journey with satisfaction while looking forward to taking on motherhood with full force.
When Verona decided to take on the struggling broadcasting channel just over three years ago, most would have thought twice about assuming the executive role when the only other option was to indefinitely close the T.V station.
Despite the uncertainty in T.V 3’s future, the decision to run head straight into the unknown was an easy one for Verona based on one simple fact – she believed in T.V 3.
“ I didn’t want to see it close.” She said “I had worked at T.V 3 before as a presenter and editor before; I saw that there were great opportunities and potential for it to grow. So when they said they were going to close it, I thought to myself ‘No’ – not only had they invested millions of dollars into it, this is an avenue for our community to stay informed, so why close it?”
Transitioning from a comfortable position at Bluesky Communications to T.V 3 in 2015 was not easy and Parker admits that she had to acknowledge that even at 39 years of age with a wealth of business, marketing and media experience behind her - she still questioned her capabilities but she didn’t dwell on it long enough to stop her,
“ the first day when I walked through the door, the thought popped into my mind ‘what did I just get myself into?’” she laughs “I had a great job at Bluesky before I was asked to take this on but I was never one for comfort, I had all these perks and opportunities for growth there - but I love challenges, I love pushing myself.”
“If I didn’t know something – I would make sure that I learned by reading up on it, asking around. I have 19 different staff here at the station who have different powers I can work with and they were an immediate source of information – I was never lacking in that department.”
Having started her broadcasting career with T.V 1 in the early 2000s as well as presenting and editing at T.V 3 later on, Verona was well versed on how to work with little to no resources. She remembered times of scarcity of sitting on wooden crates behind a desk to present the news and once serving as both a spare cameraman and news reader in one episode.
Producing new shows and keeping the business afloat and continue broadcasting is something that she is very proud to leave behind her as the new owners, Corey Keil and Nicco Cafferelli take over the broadcasting station.
“Television still has power to influence our people that’s why I’ve stayed in the role all this time but it doesn’t take away the business side – you still have to sustain that journey in itself, is not easy it is a very expensive undertaking. when it comes to the changes of trying to move television from analog to digital, I give my hat off to people who are actually maintaining the T.V stations in the country because these are millions of dollars that they tried to start up and they are going to need millions more to maintain it.”
“But I have to acknowledge people who have been backing it like Faiesea, the churches that back up the village and T.V stations as well as the private owners like Joe keil and now Corey and Nicco that are actually brave enough to continue to the journey onwards.”
On that note, Ms Parker turns to her future plans turning her focus to the home front as she’s conscious of the reality that as her eldest daughter, heads off to university for the first time, she wants to ensure she gets to enjoy time with her other four children.
“ I love children – its why I had five of them and if I could have had more I would have” she laughs “gosh mother hood is like basically running a business – you’re just not paid in cash but you are paid with the satisfaction that you are growing the future leaders, future rugby players , future artists, future dancers, future nurse and helpers.
“ Now that I’m leaving T.V 3, I have more time, love and effort to be able to nurture those five nuggets of mine and also we have some businesses that need some attention. I don’t think I would be able to sit still even if I wanted to and there is always something to improve, create or invest in, and now with this transition, I can focus on all those things.”
Despite being a figure that was synonymous to the T.V 3 brand, Verona is looking forward to writing a new chapter in life, continuing to always see possibilities where others do not and living every aspect of her life on her own terms even if it means closing one door behind you.
“ Yes, you can have it all, I’m living proof of it.” she said “ but don’t be too hung up about it when the door closes, there will be other doors that open up to you because you carry your own abilities, gifts and that’s what you offer and that’s how you will attract more opportunities to utilize them.
““I’m going to walk back into the door of my home and focus on my family and who knows media has grown on me all these years and I will probably go back into it in some form. Reflecting on my journey and the people we have lost along the way - life is so fickle these days, life expectancy is so short. You can conquer the world if you want to, but you choose your battles. You choose the opportunities you feel that is going to leave you happy and satisfied and also know that have other people that count on you and in this case it’s my family that counts on me.”