Photo by Barbara Ries
How does Cheryl Jennings find time for her 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. newscasts on ABC? Besides keeping us current on world and regional events, she files special reports on children’s and women’s issues and other topics close to her heart, stories that have earned her four Emmys. While her philanthropy is Bay Area–wide, her Marin involvements include Camp Okizu, Search for the Cause, Community Action Marin and Love Is the Answer, a Novato organization providing volunteer visitors for seniors in need. Recently she was nominated for the 2008 Marin Women’s Hall of Fame; last year, San Rafael mayor Al Boro designated April 17 “Cheryl Jennings Day” to honor her work cofounding the Roots of Peace, Pennies for Peace Children’s Program, an effort to remove land mines from playgrounds, soccer fields and schools in Afghanistan. And San Francisco’s League of Women named her one of six women who in their opinion could be president of the United States. “Jennings 2012”?
You could live anywhere. Why Marin? Marin has an exciting group of people who care very much about their community. It has the most incredible weather, hiking and biking trails and extremely friendly people. It’s also an area that’s easy to navigate—there’s only one freeway! We know how lucky we are to live here.
What makes you happy in Marin? I love coming home from wherever I’ve traveled. I love the fact that Marin feels like a small-town community.
What bothers you here? Smoking, rude drivers who don’t signal when they change lanes and drivers on cell phones who almost run over children!
What do you value every day? I treasure seeing my husband and staying in touch with my family as well as good health, patience and a cheerful attitude.
What is your personal idea of luxury? Luxury for me would be to have an entire day to read a book, while sitting under a shady tree in Marin, sipping lemonade.
What person has influenced you the most? My late mother. She raised seven children; I’m the eldest. She was an army wife who moved her family 23 times, while my late father served his country. They left me with powerful values that include honesty, a strong work ethic and taking care of family and community.
What has been the most fulfilling moment in your work? One was when the 1989 earthquake hit and I was somehow able to keep my wits about me and broadcast information from KGO-TV to the Bay Area. We only had one working camera and one light in the entire building. But viewers later told me my calm demeanor helped them get through a very scary time. That has always stayed with me, as a reminder of the true value of television as a public service.
What’s your favorite place to unwind? At home, with my husband and a good movie.
What do you like about yourself? I enjoy just about whatever life sends my way and I always try to find the good in every situation.
How do you want to be remembered? I’m hoping people remember me for trying to make a positive difference in the lives of those who are less fortunate. I also hope that the mentoring I do with young people will encourage them to give that gift to someone else.