(Editor’s note: The March issue of The Lane Report features our semi-annual list of the Top Women in Business. At lanereport.com, we’re shining the spotlight on one of the honorees each day. Day 10: Jennifer Ketchmark, a Northern Kentucky meteorologist for WCPO in Cincinnati.)
Our occasional feature, Top Women in Business, highlights some of the women in and around Kentucky who are making an impact in business, the professions, politics and economic development. The intent is to recognize not the household names, but those in key roles whose work ethic and body of work are making important contributions to commerce—and life—in the area.
Our Top Women in TV profile features a handful of dynamic women who have made a name for themselves reporting on Kentucky sports, weather and news.
Jennifer Ketchmark is a popular meteorologist for WCPO in Cincinnati. Before COVID-19, she spent much time teaching schoolchildren about the weather. Since the pandemic began, Ketchmark has been filming weather segments from her home in Union, Ky., a task made even more challenging by having two children at home. She’s also a seamstress who has sewn more than 1,500 COVID-19 masks for friends, family and neighbors.
Title/company: Meteorologist for WCPO 9 in Cincinnati.
Previous jobs/positions: Weekend meteorologist in Indianapolis at Fox 59; evening meteorologist at WCIATV in Champaign, Ill.
Education/training: My education started at Eastern Illinois University, where I received a degree in communication studies, minoring in broadcast meteorology. After getting my first job, I enrolled in Mississippi State’s distance learning program for meteorology to finish that portion of my degree. I wanted to use the title of meteorologist on television and I also really enjoyed learning about the weather, so it was a win-win.
My top accomplishment: I was named the Meteorologist of the Year when working in Illinois for those markets outside of Chicago. I was also named top collegiate weather personality one year while still at EIU. In a more fun turn, I was the winner of a local Dancing with the Stars competition in 2019.
The person who most influenced me: Growing up in Central Illinois, Judy Fraser was an iconic weather presenter. As one of the only females you saw doing weather on TV, she inspired me to go for my dreams. I actually got to work beside her at my first job before she retired.
My biggest challenge and how I overcame it: Learning to manage my anxiety has been a huge challenge in this career. A life in television comes with negative comments, threatening messages, body comments, unsolicited advances from strangers, unusual hours, long shifts and difficulty sleeping. That’s just the tip of the iceberg behind the smile you see on TV. For me, it resulted in overwhelming anxiety. I like control and this job is really lacking that aspect! Through therapy and positive lifestyle choices, I’ve been able to live a happier life and one with so much less stress. That may make it sound easy, but it took years.
My advice to younger women in business: You are not bossy, you are strong. Your voice matters; speak up! Put conversations in writing when you can. And remember: at the end of the day, leave work at work.
Ways I’ve used my position on TV to help others: My biggest use of my job to help others is through school talks at local school districts. Because they know me from TV, I get to share my love for the weather and teach these young minds about it, too. Kids are fascinated about the weather and they always have great questions or stories for me.
When I was a child, I wanted to be: I wanted to run a clothing store, just like my parents.
Something I love doing: I’m slightly obsessed with sewing. I quilt, make curtains, alter clothing … goodness I make just about everything. Sewing is like a puzzle. If I can figure out how it was put together by pulling it apart, I can do it again! I also enjoy hiking and exploring our wooded areas.
I’m inspired/driven by: My children drive me. I want my daughter to see a strong woman who can do it all but knows when to ask for help when she needs it. And to my son, I want him to see that women are strong, smart and determined people.
A song from my childhood/teenage years that I still rock out to when no one else is around: Pull up Backstreet Boys or N’Sync and I’ll bust a move every time.
In the next five to 10 years in my job, I hope to accomplish: It seems silly, but to stay put and stay happy. Being in news often leads to moving all the time. I want stability for my children and family.
Other Top Women in Business stories
Day 1: Susan Elkington
Day 2: Marjorie Farris
Day 3: Sarah Davasher-Wisdom
Day 4: Connie Smith
Day 5: Diane Whalen
Day 6: Yajaira Aich West
Day 7: Rebecca Fleischaker
Day 8: Karen Harbin
Day 9: Mary Jo (Perino) Ford