University of Northern Iowa - Bachelor of Arts, Broadcast Journalism
University of Northern Iowa - Minor, Business Communications
NASCAR Week: This interview is part four in a series of five articles this week on jobs in NASCAR.
If you've ever watched a NASCAR race, you've seen Krista Voda. As a pit reporter for NASCAR on Fox, she brings fans into the pits to get insights, predictions and reactions from drivers, crew chiefs, team owners and other stakeholders in the know. And when she's not on TV, she offers her behind-the-scenes take on the sport on Twitter.
Although she has a dream job now, Krista was one of those women who, like many of us, graduated college and then thought, "Now what?" Realizing quickly that she needed to hit the ground running, Krista held jobs in radio sales at KROS, her hometown radio station in Clinton, Iowa, as well as small market television sales. She then became a sports reporter at WLEX in Lexington, Ky., and eventually moved her way up to weekend sports anchor, where she spent a handful of years before moving to Charlotte, N.C., to cover NASCAR. During her tenure at WLEX, Krista cut her teeth — covering everything from NCAA tournaments, to College Bowl games, to the NFL and World Series playoffs. She even co-anchored the station's annual live coverage of The Kentucky Derby.
Krista believes hard work and taking risks pays off — and based on her extensive resume, we can't hep but agree with her.
People are able to take risks in their life because someone said, 'It's OK to fail.'
How did you know sports reporting was the right career path for you?
I think from a young age you gravitate toward what you're good at. I loved telling people's stories and from a young age I knew I wanted to be a story teller, but I didn't know how I wanted to do that. As an 18/19-year-old kid, I worked at KROS, a radio station in my hometown, Clinton, Iowa, and would shut down the radio station at midnight. In September, I was inducted into their Hall of Fame. It's funny, I tell Darrell Waltrip I’m a Hall of Famer, too.
I also tried to dable in a bit of everything in college. Try everything in college. That's what's great about college. It's this forum where you can talk about things and explore new areas. During college I worked in public access, public relations, sports information and at the college newspaper and college radio station.
What is the best part of your job?
I love that every day is different. No two days are the same. It varies. Good and bad. I'm not going into an office every day. But someday I know this job is going to end. I can’t live this lifestyle of traveling every weekend forever, but for now I love it. It’s the people in the sport -- not just the drivers and the crew chiefs -- but also the people behind the camera. The people behind the camera are some of the best people I work with.
What aspect of your job keeps you awake at night?
Thre’s never enough time. You’re never really done. There's always more you can do. If I have five hours, I’ll be in the garage and talking to people. I’ll always wish there was another hour. It just seems there is never enough time.
With a job that occupies so much of your time, how do you achieve a work/life balance?
On any given weekend, shows air on hundreds of networks, and there are hundreds of different people behind the scenes. All of us just have to do it. My husband, who is on the production side in sports broadcasting, is on the road, too. I go to one city, and he goes to another. We’ve had to put kids on hold. It's not a job where it’s easy to be a parent, because I know I have to travel and be on the road. It’s not an easy way of life, but you know what’s right for you. It’s refreshing t0 know you can make it work one way or the other.
What has been the best moment so far in your career?
Any time you realize you’re witnessing a part of history. Last year's Daytona 500 when Trevor Bayne (the youngest-ever driver to win a Daytona 500) won was one of those moments. You know that millions of people are watching this moment in our broadcast around the world. And I’m witnessing it with my own eyes.
Is there a specific quote or mantra you live by?
I'm big into quotes, and I'm always looking for little sayings. And what I like is always changing. I wouldn’t say there’s one that’s tattooed on everything I do. Lately I saw one that said, "Be a positive force." Force tied in with positivity is powerful. Do something extraordinary that day in whatever way it may be.
Many women look up to you and want your job, but who do you admire?
My grandparents. My grandmother passed away recently. You don’t realize it when they’re living with you every day how important they are and how much they influence you. My grandfather was feisty and one of those old school manly men. And she put up with it. They were both good people. Obviously my parents are an influence, too. People are able to take risks in their life because someone said, "It’s ok to fail." You have to climb the steps.
For me, that meant leaving Iowa and going away to NASCAR where I travel all the time. It’s not easy to leave all your surroundings.
What are some qualities you feel someone needs in order to be a stellar sports anchor?
Specifically for my job what’s really overlooked is being a good writer. That’s really what good story telling is all about. You see the person talking, and you don’t necessarily see how the story unfolds, especially in this age where everything is so immediate in social media. But really good storytelling starts with the written word, and it can be one word or one phrase. You don’t always get to tell the stories the way you want, but my adrenaline surges when I hear people phrase things in just the right way.
Is there any advice you have for women who want your job?
As women, we are especially looked at by everyone. We’re supposed to be this. We’re supposed to be a mom or stay in a hometown. That’s OK if that's where you want to be, but if you want to do something and you know someone is not going to like it or that it’s not going to be the norm, just know that it's OK to take risks. You can’t dive off the high dive without knowing to swim.
-Interview by Brianne Burrowes
Image | Scott A. Miller/Special to FOXSports.com