Robin Roberts’s secrets of storytelling, leadership, and purpose

For the previous 16 years, Robin Roberts has served as co-anchor of Good Morning America. It’s a profession that’s undoubtedly remodeled her life, going from an ESPN sportscaster to sitting behind the desk of what would turn into the primary morning present in America for a number of years .

“I like saying good morning to America. I like waking America up and having a dialog and enlightening people,” Roberts stated throughout Quick Firm‘s 2021 Innovation Pageant. “However I used to be able to flex one other inventive muscle, one thing completely different.”

That new inventive muscle has been Roberts’s movie and TV manufacturing firm Rock’n Robin Productions.


Based in 2014, Rock’n Robin Productions has since produced tasks together with Stolen by My Mom: The Kamiyah Mobley Story, a dramatic retelling of the true story of a girl who kidnaps a child from the hospital and raises her as her personal; Tuskegee Airmen: Legacy of Braveness, a documentary detailing the historic all-Black army pilots throughout World Battle II; and the Emmy-nominated Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia, a biopic of the legendary gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.

“Illustration is so key,” Roberts stated of selecting which tasks to tackle. “It’s desirous to see individuals extra who appear like me doing various things, educating individuals in a really entertaining method.”

As co-anchor of GMA and as president of her manufacturing firm, Roberts has keyed in on each what makes good storytelling and good management—and, alongside the way in which, she’s discovered her purpose.

Hear in addition to you communicate

Actor Danielle Brooks took on the mantle of Mahalia Jackson in Roberts’s manufacturing, however it wasn’t lengthy into the method that Roberts prolonged the title of government producer to Brooks as properly who helped develop the story and character in key methods.

For instance, it was Brooks who pushed to indicate Jackson’s struggles in turning into a mom, leading to one of the movie’s most profound scenes the place Jackson suffered a miscarriage after acting at Carnegie Corridor.

“The movie wouldn’t have been the identical,” Roberts stated. “We have been like, ‘we didn’t have that in initially. It means so much to you. We will see how it might add [to the story.]’ In order that’s what that is all about. In terms of storytelling, it’s not simply speaking—it’s listening. We don’t hear to 1 one other sufficient.”


Roberts additionally desires her tales to evoke a response robust sufficient to elicit change within the viewers—one thing she realized from her ABC Information colleague Diane Sawyer.

“She was the one who instructed me, that is the hallmark of good storytelling, that the story creates a response that results in motion, that you simply react to the story, and you then need to take motion no matter it’s,” Roberts says.

“However I believe there isn’t any actual method,” she went on to say. “And that’s what the sweetness of storytelling. All people has a unique strategy to it—identical to all of us have a unique strategy to management.”

The three C’s (and 1 E) of management

Though Roberts has been a pacesetter in her personal proper main GMA and Rock’n Robin Productions, she says ABC Information president Kim Godwin, who got here into the place in Might, has given her a invaluable framework for a way she views true management.

“I’m going to share with you the three Cs,” Roberts stated. “Confidence, as an excellent chief, you could have confidence. You’ve completed your homework. You realize can do the job. Braveness. You might have the braveness. You bought to make some robust choices. Folks might not like them, however you must have the braveness. The third C, readability. What number of instances have we, as little ol’ staff, really feel like we’re at midnight? Simply let me know what’s occurring.”

As a bonus, Roberts provided another letter that’s simply as necessary.

“It doesn’t begin with a C, however empathy, particularly what we’ve gone via this final 12 months,” she stated.

Roberts additionally famous that having empathy also needs to prolong to being empathetic with your self.

“Self-care shouldn’t be being egocentric,” Roberts stated. “You gotta be good to you, if we’ve realized nothing via Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka for standing up and saying what they’ve and opening up a dialog about psychological wellness.”

State your purpose

All through her profession, in addition to her well being challenges having survived breast most cancers in 2008 solely to struggle again the bone marrow illness myelodysplastic syndrome 4 years later, Roberts says her purpose has crystalized into being a messenger.

“To not borrow from Michelle Obama, however I’m at all times turning into. Folks say you solely reside as soon as. I say, no, you solely die as soon as—you reside daily,” Roberts stated. “There are individuals who have been drawn to my resilience going via the well being issues and different issues that I’ve shared with individuals. And I need to say I’m simply this large mirror. All of the issues that you simply say about me, I’m a mirrored image. You might have it inside your self.”


And to these nonetheless struggling to seek out their purpose?

“God’s delays usually are not as denials,” Roberts replied. “What I’d ask you to do is to show round and have a look at all these mountains you’ve already scaled. Why do you assume this new mountain in entrance of you, you may’t scale it? Keep in mind what you’ve already completed. When you’re struggling and really feel such as you’re attempting to determine your purpose or this, that, and the opposite, generally you simply gotta be nonetheless. You gotta be nonetheless and know and belief. And when concern knocks, and it does on a regular basis, let religion reply the door.”