(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 12: Hayley Harmon, co-host of The Lee and Hayley Show.)
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.
Hayley Harmon came to Lexington in the fall of 2014 and quickly became a popular television personality. These days, she is one-half of the popular “Lee & Hayley” television talk show and co-owner of her own production company.
Title/company: Host, “The Lee and Hayley Show” on WTVQ-TV, Lexington; owner, Lee & Hayley LLC, a television production company.
Previous positions: Morning news anchor, WBKO-TV, Bowling Green, Ky.; weekend morning anchor, WATE-TV, Knoxville, Tenn.; morning anchor and host of “Live with Lee and Hayley,” WLEX-TV, Lexington, Ky.
Education/training: Bachelor’s degree in mass communication, electronic media journalism, Middle Tennessee State University, 2010.
Top accomplishment: Owning my own business, and having the faith that I could do it. Transitioning from a decade-long career in local news, and succeeding in it, to going out on a limb to open my own production company and host an all-new entertainment show was terrifying! But that leap of faith is now my greatest joy because it allows me to do my two great loves: making quality television and making people laugh.
The person(s) who most influenced me: My middle school geography teacher, Ms. Bernadine Nelson, demanded the best of her students and taught me to demand the same out of myself. My college professor, Dr. O’Neal, scared me when I first got into broadcast journalism and had me contemplating changing course because he was so tough. But he, too, made me work my hardest and dig the deepest. That helped me discover my natural talent for television and the work ethic to go along with it.
My biggest challenge and how I overcame it: Believing in myself. This is not a business where you can succeed if you’re constantly second-guessing yourself. You are not going to be any good in the beginning, and that’s OK. But you’ve got to get back up, brush off, and keep on going. You will get better. Give yourself some grace and keep on going.
My advice to younger women in business: Get an internship. My college internship at WTVF-TV in Nashville was life-changing. You learn more in the field in one semester than you can learn in years of classroom work. You have to see local news in action before you really get it and understand this business.
The best/worst part about being on television: The best part is the simultaneous rush and calm that comes over me when the lights come on. It would probably scare most people, but being on TV for me is relaxing. I can finally turn my brain off for one hour and just relax and have fun. Nothing else matters but that set, that moment, that laugh. It’s thrilling.
When I was a child, I wanted to be: At one point, I told my parents I wanted to be a “fireman.” It’s even written in my baby book.
The most important attribute I bring to my job: Being able to think on my feet. It’s a good skill to have for news but especially for a talk/ entertainment show. So much is unscripted and being able to ad-lib on the fly is vital.
In the next five to 10 years in my job, I hope to accomplish: Continue to grow. Our dream is to go national or at least regional. We have such a blast and see such a positive response from our audience. And Lee and I truly believe that God brought us together and made our show happen because that’s what we were meant to do: Bring light and laughter and joy. For us, there’s no greater calling than brightening someone’s day.
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
Day 10: Jennifer Ketchmark
Day 11: Kristin Pierce