Turn Up The Volume

When I worked as a local television news reporter in New York City, I walked into my news director’s office one day. He was in the midst of watching video reels of reporters who had sent them in from across the country with the hopes of getting a job at the station.

The problem, as I saw it, was that my news director wasn’t really watching the reporter’s reels. He would insert a DVD, press play, watch for a few seconds, and then eject the DVD. To confound matters further, the volume was muted on the television. He couldn’t hear one word that the reporters were saying. I was confused. 

“How do you know if you want to hire someone if you can’t even hear them?” I asked.

He looked at me and smiled. “I want to see if their personality makes me want to turn up the volume and hear what they have to say,” he said. I never forgot this exchange. To this day, I still find it extremely relevant.

It’s my mission to empower college students “turn up the volume” so the right people pay attention to them. This is the reason I decided to join the team as the Director of Higher Education.

Almost every week during the school year, I deliver leadership keynotes on college campuses across the United States. It’s an honor to regularly talk with students, learn from them and share all I can to help them succeed.

One of the most poignant moments of my talk comes when I show a slide highlighting all of the top television networks and magazines I’ve worked with over the years. These include NBC, E! News, Nickelodeon, BET, PBS,, and more.

However, it’s not that slide that gets the audiences attention, but rather the next one. The next slide is empty. Blank.

I share with the audience that the blank slide represents my experience when I was beginning my undergraduate education at Western Michigan University. Like many students, I didn’t have any experience. But I didn’t allow this to deter me, and neither should they.

Instead, I share with them to look at the empty slide as the beginning of a new chapter to begin telling their story. Everyone has an opportunity to build their Backstory that they will share with others in the future.

To judge a college student solely based on his or her resume is to ignore so much of what makes them special. Sometimes it’s the experiences that are not on our resume that allow us to stand out even more.

I’m honored to join the team and I’m committed to helping college students turn up the volume and have exceptional experiences on campus, in their careers and lives.

Antonio Neves is the Director of Higher Education for He is a graduate of Western Michigan University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

3 responses to Turn Up The Volume

  1. The young people who hear you speak are fortunate. That one-two punch with the slides: Priceless. I can see why invited you to their team. May the relationship prove to be outstandingly rewarding for all concerned.

  2. Tremendous news and excited for what’s just around the corner…

    It’s going to be fun to watch what you create with the amazing team at!

    Keep moving the good forward and congrats on the new role!!!

  3. Alex Shulga

    Great advice!
    Thank You for the article, Mr. Antonio Neves.

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