#500EmpoweringAfricanStories: Kristen Welker
By: Sakina Adamali
Kristen Welker is an American television journalist who is currently the NBC News Chief White House Correspondent. Welker has always been an ambitious young lady with a clear vision and passion for journalism. Welker grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and says she aspired to be a journalist since she was in sixth grade. She attended Harvard University, where she majored in history and graduated with honors; while she was in college, she even interned for the Today show.
Kristen Welker has been commended online for her performance as the moderator of the final 2020 Presidential Debate. She became only the second Black woman to moderate a presidential election. She was especially praised for skillfully keeping candidates in line and controlling the conversation. Fellow journalists called the debate “a career-defining moment” and remarked on how she “gave the American people a real debate.”
Welker presents herself with outshining confidence and energy, however admits that she still has a few jitters before big moments, acknowledging “that’s one of the things that makes you human.” In order to deliver an outstanding performance, Welker says she arms herself with confidence by doing extensive preparation. Her effective planning approach to problem solving helps her better manage pressure.
Welker’s mother has been an influential figure in her life. She says “she is someone who is purposeful and was a very strict disciplinarian. In response to her ability to perform so well in the Presidential Debate, she says that her mother’s principles and values were certainly with her on that stage.
Her mother is also the reason Welker became certain of her career path in journalism. Watching and being by her side when she ran for City Council in Philadelphia led her to moments of reflection and acknowledgement of her true passion for politics and government.
“But what I realized in that process is there is a difference between people, journalists who are asking real questions, holding elected officials to account and who are helping to promote good government. And I wanted to be a part of that process.”
Welker is an inspiration for girls and women as she embodies a representation of strong will and resilience.
Her advice to young women is this: “Believe in yourself. Know that, yes, there are going to be days when people doubt you. And maybe even when you doubt yourself. But it's about having passion and believing in that passion and moving beyond those moments and doing the hard work. And ultimately, if you set your mind to it, you could do just about anything.”