When she was a student at Dalton High School, Gabrielle Nelloms didn’t know what she wanted to do after graduation except that she wanted to be on television. Today, just eight years after graduating from DHS, Nelloms has realized her dreams working as a cross platform associate producer at CNN in Atlanta.
“I was all over the place in high school. I said I wanted to be a news reporter, actress, weather girl,” Nelloms said. “I knew I liked being in drama and chorus, so I knew I wanted to be on TV. But, I really figured out what I wanted to do in college.”
Nelloms attended the University of West Georgia where she decided to pursue a career in journalism and majored in mass communications. While in college, she began working for the campus news station, WUTV, as a reporter. It wasn’t until after college that Nelloms discovered her love for working behind-the-scenes as a producer.
“I got my first shot in local news at WGXA in Macon, Georgia,” Nelloms said. “They didn’t have a reporter job at the time, but they did have an associate producer job open. I didn’t know about all that because I didn’t do producing in college, so I had zero experience. But I tried it, and I fell in love with it.”
After three years working for WGXA, Nelloms’s contract ended and she needed to search for a new job. She sent out applications for every opening she could find, and soon had an offer from a station in Birmingham, Alabama. Before she could accept the position in Birmingham, a recruiter reached out to her from CNN.
“When they sent me the contract in Birmingham, the talent recruiter at CNN reached out to me,” Nelloms said. “I was caught in a hard place. I asked God, ‘What do I need to do?’ Should I take what’s in front of me, or depend on God? I decided to go off faith, trust God and I declined the job in Birmingham.”
However, she soon received an automated email telling her that she was rejected from the job at CNN.
“I was devastated,” Nelloms said. “I gave up my chance in Birmingham, and now I didn’t have any job. This was also around the beginning of the pandemic, so I wasn’t sure what I was going to do.”
Nelloms turned to her parents for advice. Because the rejection email was an automated response, they encouraged her to follow up with the supervisor for the role to make sure the position was actually filled.
When she contacted the supervisor, she was told that while that position in particular was already filled, there would be additional opportunities coming soon.
“The following week, someone reached out to me and it was smooth sailing from there,” Nelloms said. “They offered me a job the next day, and I’ve been working at CNN ever since.”
In her role as a cross platform associate producer, Nelloms has rotated through various assignments at CNN. Right now, she spends her days working on the domestic news show airing daily on CNN.
When Nelloms looks back on her experiences at Dalton High School, she can see how they prepared her for her success today.
“I am very big on diversity so, to know that I went to school with kids who looked like me was inspiring,” Nelloms said. “Even when I was in high school, there were so many pathways like engineering, manufacturing and culinary. They were really setting us up to make sure we knew what we want to do when we got to college. The opportunities presented to us when I was in school were awesome.”
Today, the district has added an audio video technology and film pathway at The Dalton Academy which focuses on broadcasting and digital media. Nelloms advises all students to take advantage of the opportunities currently available to them while still in high school.
“Take advantage of the opportunities that are given to you right now,” Nelloms said. “We didn’t have a journalism pathway when I was in high school, so take advantage of that. If you really want to do it, you need to put in the work. I think it’s awesome that you have a journalism program now. That’s going to put students two steps ahead when they get to college.”
Even though she lives and works at CNN in Atlanta, Nelloms said she still sees Dalton as her home.
“Dalton is home,” Nelloms said. “It’s where I went to elementary, middle and high school. I grew up here. I am very grateful, and I’m always here to speak to any students. If you ever need a speaker for anything, that’s me.”