Becoming an executive producer of television was an adventure of opportunity. From my early days as an unpaid production intern – first at WETA TV-26 (PBS) in Shirlington, Va. and then at BET (Black Entertainment Television) in Arlington, Va. – to my arrival at Discovery Channel as a one-day temporary employee, my goal has always been to master the environment wherever I am in the moment. That one-day gig turned into a nine-month assignment before I was finally hired as a full-time production assistant. That was my first paid job in television. Two years to the day later, I was promoted to an associate producer at Discovery Channel. A year after that, I was promoted to a producer. And finally, I was promoted to an executive producer. I eventually went on to work at TV One and OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.

And while becoming a television producer was not my childhood (or even early adulthood) dream, it has certainly been a wild ride worth taking. I have come to see it all as a glorious scholarship: being paid (well) to shape my creative abilities, develop my talents, and hone my management style. Along the way, I worked with some very dynamic producers and executives; went from fan of to boss of a few celebrities I’d long idolized from a distance; and I traveled the world, mostly on someone else’s dime.

I wouldn’t trade anything for that 20-year journey.