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From public speaking champ to Television in Canada

From public speaking champ to  Television in Canada

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Viclene Matthews 28.NOV.08

For as long as she can remember, she has had a passion for communicating. While many girls were braiding their Barbie dolls’ hair, she was busy fiddling with her tape recorder and video camera.{{more}}

Nneka Elliot made her debut on the national stage in 1999 when she won the revived Lions Club South Secondary Schools’ Public Speaking Competition. The then Girls’ High School student won in both the Impromptu and Prepared speech categories. She describes the preparation for the competition as a lot of hard work, but it was an opportunity she had always wished would be given to her.

“It was one of those things you always used to see on television and I thought it was so cool especially the impromptu speeches. I don’t think I had literally vocalized it, but I always wished that I could get that opportunity” she mused.

Some may say that this experience reinforced her embedded passion and helped pave the foundation for Nneka’s now thriving career on television in Canada. The daughter of Walter and Jacinta Elliott, Nneka presently holds the position of Traffic and Weather specialist at CP24, Toronto’s only all news Television station.

While strolling down memory lane, Nneka reflected that since age seven, she often pretended that she had her own radio talk show. “I used to pretend that I had my own radio talk show and used my little tape recorder and recorded shows. There was a show called “Rhyme a Line”. I would pretend I was the radio host and pretend people were calling in,” she recalled.

Her interest and drive deepened when her parents purchased a video camera for her. The former Cane Garden resident, who now lives in Toronto, Canada, started creating music videos and talk shows with her friends. She sums it up this way: “It has always been in my blood and I like to communicate with people and doing things like public speaking”.

She had her genesis in broadcasting while at the A’ level College as a moderator for the National Youth Council (NYC) Saturday morning programme on NBC Radio 705 and as a co-host with the Nu Koncept crew on Saturdays at Hitz Fm.

The 25-year-old related that those experiences helped her to familiarize herself with how to talk on air and how to be natural, as “people want to speak to somebody who is talking to them like their friend”.

A graduate of Ryerson University with a bachelor’s degree in Radio and Television, Nneka has the responsibility for Traffic and Weather news on CP24.

She said that in Canada, people want to know where the traffic is before they leave for their various destinations and they also want to know what the weather is like. Nneka also does some general reporting. Before her start at CP24, she worked at CFRB radio and the National Weather Channel – Weather network.

Nicky, as she is affectionately known, described her first time on Television at the Weather Network as “nerve-racking” but most importantly a “learning curve”. She explained that it’s not just the fact that you have to learn how to talk about the weather, but also you have to learn how to relate to people and translate the weather in an interesting way.

Nneka is undoubtedly making a good impression on her viewers as she was featured in Sway, a Canadian Lifestyle magazine. In the article, it stated that “fresh-faced Nneka Elliott has everybody watching the news”.

Although finding it a bit difficult to pick out one memorable moment in her career, an interview with actor Brendon Fraser comes to mind. She told Searchlight that she got the opportunity to meet and interview him when she covered a red-carpet event.

So what can one find Nneka doing when she is not delivering the Traffic and Weather forecast? Hosting a red-carpet event such as the awards ceremony for Canada’s Association of Black journalists or motivating young people in high-risk communities. Nneka also watches a lot of television to help fine tune her skills.

Nneka hopes to some day host her own current affairs show and urges young people to be persistent and never underestimate the importance of internships.