Nicole Suarez lives by motivational quotes. One needs to look no further than her LinkedIn page, which reads: “Reach for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
But Nicole takes her love of motivational quotes a step further, by actually living them. At just 18 years old, Nicole moved to Colombia to star and compete on Univision’s hit reality TV show, Nuestra Belleza Latina. She beat out many of her competitors and proved her talent worthy of a top three finalist position. After the 6-month competition, she returned to Chicago and began working at Univision as the host of Despierta Chicago, while obtaining her degree in journalism and advertising.
Today Nicole serves as anchor of Tribune Publishing’s Hoy Noticias. She’s also considered one of the 30 most influential people by Habitat for Humanity and deemed as one of 9 women changing Chicago by Michigan Avenue magazine. She’s also received three Emmy nominations and one Emmy ensemble win in the News category.
With so many accomplishments already on her resume, what moon will Nicole reach for next? “I want to produce my own travel show; live in New York, Rome and Beijing; and run a marathon,” she says. We feel confident those dreams will put her on her own moon – sparking stars included.
How did you discover your current job?
Little did I know that one phone call would lead me to where I am today! I worked at Univision Chicago for 3 years and luckily, my now current boss, had his eye on me. My dear friend, Marco Lopez of Elemento L2, also played a huge role in pitching me for the job.
How do you organize your day?
News is unpredictable, so therefore my days tend to be very unpredictable! However, I love to keep a written agenda of the tasks I know I have to complete. I’m an old-school girl when it comes to this because nothing feels better than checking items off of my list.
What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?
I love my job because I learn something new every day and it provides me with the opportunity to share stories. Once you become a journalist, your eyes are opened to the experiences of those in different countries, socio-economic classes and ethnicities. You live firsthand what others read about.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
Thinking about the changing media industry keeps me up. It’s no secret that newspapers and TV stations are loosing force, and viewers have many more options when consuming their news. Figuring out what the future of media will be and how I plan to keep up is always a challenge.
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
When I first started at Univision Chicago, my life was work, and that was okay. In my opinion, that very passion is what makes you accomplish those first career strides. Eventually, I realized that even if you love what you do, it’s important to make time for every facet of life.
No-fail tactic: Efficiency; both in and out of work.
I am efficient with my time while I’m on the job. That way, when I walk out the door, I’m stress-free. I’ve been using my free time wisely; working out, spending time with my family, and living new experiences through travel!
Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I made it!” What was it?
I honestly don’t think that I’ll ever feel like I’ve made it because that’s when I’d stop striving to achieve greater dreams in life. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times that I just stop and say, “Wow, I can’t believe this just happened.”
Recently throwing the first pitch at a Chicago White Sox game [pictured], and being featured as one of the ‘9 Women Who are Changing Chicago,’ by Michigan Avenue magazine, have definitely been some of those ‘wow’ moments.
What are some of the rules you live by?
I live by motivational quotes! Some of my favorites are:
- “It you don’t bet, you can’t win,” –Larry Hite
- “Reach for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” –Norman Vincent Peale
- “Don’t limit yourself by others’ lack of vision.” –Jorge Insua
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
Persistence, curiosity and the ability to adjust to change are key qualities to a great journalist. Stories will not always come to you, and the best ones will most likely result from asking the right questions at the most unexpected moments.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?
Don’t worry about what others have to say about you or the goals you are trying to fulfill. Don’t be afraid to dream too big, too early. Remember, everything in life happens for a reason.