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Whitney Reynolds: Making a Career Out of Compassion

Whitney Reynolds: Making a Career Out of Compassion

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In a world oversaturated with noise, we all seem to forget the power of listening. Whitney Reynolds believes that everyone’s story is one of immense value and deserves to be heard. The Chicago mom of two, wife and award winning storyteller amplifies delicate stories and changes the dialogue for Talk TV. Cutting through the noise, Reynolds brings raw, relatable and real to the forefront. After interviewing countless subjects, we flipped the script on Reynolds to discuss southern charm, creating a career out of compassion and her exciting next chapter. 

Whether it be through her TV program, The Whitney Reynolds Show, podcast, Pop and Positivity, book, Beyond The Interview, or column for Cancer Wellness Magazine, Stories of Hope, Reynolds greets each story she shares with a warm heart and open ears. Perhaps setting an example for us all.

She has approached her seasoned career with a less gentle attitude. Having designed her own future, her professional motto is, “If the door is closed, find the darn window!” 

Whitney Reynolds: I love to talk but I love listening even more, especially when I’m connecting with someone about a life changing experience. I noticed as a kid that people would open up to me and we’d have unique conversations beyond my age. As I got older I grew that skill and eventually created a job out of it.

Born and raised in Durant, Oklahoma, her humanity is rooted in the love her small town showed her during darker days. 

WR: I’m from a small town and that town was everything to me. My family and I went through something extremely challenging early on. Coupled with it being in the 90’s and in Oklahoma, most would have assumed our family would’ve been bullied out, the laughing stock or maybe would’ve even needed to move to escape the rumors. Our town rallied around us. They loved us and lifted us up. Because of that, I was able to dream deeper about the future.

Dream she did. Reynolds went on to obtain a degree from Baylor University and secure an internship with Good Morning America in New York City where she found early footing in the TV industry.

WR: I learned how to not just walk in heels but run! That whole experience was a pinch me moment daily. I learned how to pitch shows, operate on little sleep and money, make lasting connections and even be on air (they let me demonstrate one day). The floor director then is still my friend and actually introduced me to FlipTrax who created my new show open (coming this fall).

Reynolds gained the attention of networks early on. She attributes her success in part to her southern roots.

WR: Southern charm is a secret tool in my box! I was raised on sweet tea and told your kindness to everyone should be sweeter than that. That you just don’t say thank you, you also write a handwritten note. That when someone asks for prayer, you do it. There are no strangers and anyone is welcome to a seat at the table. These things I have brought with me to every city (even NYC) and have helped me stand out with love. 

Even with a blossoming TV career in her early twenties, Reynolds always knew her calling was to host her own show. 

WR: I connected some major dots in my twenties. I realized I was not given my life story or my gift of storytelling by accident and I needed to combine both and create something more. That’s when the Whitney Reynolds Show was born. I treat every story with the white gloves that mine needed and that’s the key to our show.

Now surpassing ten seasons, The Whitney Reynolds Show is an Emmy nominated and Telly-Award winning program that is syndicated nationally through PBS. Reynolds has fostered a safe space where topics such as mental health, systemic racism, hate crimes and medical miracles can be explored. She hopes her show instills compassion into her viewers’ lives.

WR: I am thankful God gave me my cards. It helped me create the mission behind the show and understand the need for a safe space. I wish we could holistically look at each person and see them for their whole journey and love the bumps along the way. There’s not a one size fits all to people’s struggles and I wish people understood that. 

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Reynolds’ drive for storytelling doesn’t stop with TV. In March of this year she began co-hosting The Pop and Positivity Podcast to bring the stories of celebrity guests such as Chris Martin, Madison Beer and Afrojack to the city of Chicago and iHeart listeners around the country. 

WR: I’ve been on iHeart for almost a decade now and I met the male radio version of myself. Brady Broski and I kept having deep conversations about gratitude for life and how we can impact the world on a deeper level. This conversation was going for years, that’s when we said LET’S DO IT and Pop and Positivity was created. 

Beyond her growing audience, Reynolds’ greatest mission is to teach her own children about the importance of compassion for others. 

WR: I teach by actions. My kids are with me a lot. It’s in the way we talk to others in the check out line, how we handle bad moods, difficult situations, etc. Those are the daily lessons they recieve. I try to lead with love and hopefully they see that first hand. 

Reynolds’ advice for young women? She encourages them to break the mold of traditional work and create their own dream job. 

WR: Identify what makes you tick, where your talent is and see if there’s a way to make money and an  impact there. My job technically did not exist… I created it. 

Reynolds currently resides in the Roscoe Village neighborhood of Chicago with her husband David and their twins. She is currently hard at work on The Whitney Reynolds Show and her next mini series which is set to tape this fall.

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