The following is one installment of a series recognizing alumni and friends who will be honored at the 2023 Grady Salutes celebration on April 28, 2023. For more details, please see our posts about our Fellowship honorees, Alumni Award recipients and Dean’s Medalist.
Congratulations to Robin Hommel (ABJ ’96) who has been named to this year’s class of Grady Fellowship inductees.
Hommel is a three-time Emmy Award-winning producer and showrunner whose career spans network news, daytime talk and primetime programming. She currently serves as the executive broadcast producer of the ABC News daytime talk show, “The View,” where she has worked since 2015. Prior to “The View,” Robin served as co-executive producer of VH1’s “Big Morning Buzz Live.” Hommel was the creator and executive producer of “Grady Greats,” a panel series in collaboration with ABC News featuring Grady College alumni, ABC talent and media leaders offering insight and analysis into and decisions made behind the scenes.
Hommel oversaw production of a months-long project in collaboration with the non-profit, “Homes for Our Troops,” which included building a custom home for injured veteran NAVY PO2 Timothy Birckhead. “This was one of the most meaningful projects I have ever had the privilege of working on,” Hommel said.
Following are excerpts from an interview with Hommel which have been minimally edited for length and clarity.
What class at Grady College did the most to prepare you for your current career?
There were two classes in particular that helped prepare me: communication law, taught by Professor William Lee, who presented “ripped from the headlines” First Amendment cases, which are still relevant to this day, and Allan MacLeod’s television production class, where I learned every job on the studio floor and in the control room. I booked and produced talk shows at Grady, which set me up for a career in daytime talk.
What experience during your time at Grady College had the biggest influence on where you are today?
The relationships made at Grady have been essential to my growth and success. As a member of DiGamma Kappa, I had the privilege of meeting award-winning journalists and media giants who generously shared their insight and advice. The dean’s office also connected me with alumni who became mentors and friends, including my ABC News colleague Deborah Roberts. That experience led to me to partner with Professors Dodie Cantrell and Parker Middleton on a panel series called “Grady Greats,” paying tribute to the trailblazers who opened doors for so many of us.
What skills and/or values and/or circumstances do you attribute to your success?
Curiosity, passion, and a little bit of chutzpah. Maintaining a sense of humor is essential. Without it, I would have died a thousand deaths.
What advice do you have for today’s young professionals?
Learn every job and make yourself indispensable. Consider the word “no” as a detour – not a dead end. Surround yourself with people who inspire you, elevate your work and believe in you.
What do you miss the most about being at UGA?
I miss the beauty of the campus, the charm and laid-back vibe of Athens, and of course, the overwhelming excitement and bonding with thousands of strangers on game days- there is nothing like it!
What would you tell your 20-year-old self?
Nothing about this will be easy. You’ll be tested and challenged in ways you never could have imagined. Take risks and use fear as a motivator. Relish your Grady ties and the gravitas that comes with it. You’ll make mistakes. Take three steps backwards before propelling forward, but nothing will come close to the highs you get from doing what you love and knowing you’re right where you should be.
What does this recognition mean to you?
This is a tremendous honor and one that furthers my commitment to giving back to the place that has left an indelible imprint. Thank you, Grady!
What motivates you?
Meeting extraordinary and unforgettable people who have entrusted me to share their stories fuels me. Working at a ground-breaking show, “The View”, created by broadcast icon, Barbara Walters is the pinnacle. I can’t think of anything more invigorating than being in the company of smart, fearless and influential women who speak truth to power every single day. The connections I made at UGA and the lessons I learned at Grady laid the foundation that allowed me to thrive both personally and professionally.
Tickets to Grady Salutes: Celebrating Achievement, Leadership and Commitment on April 28, 2023, are available for purchase. Register here.