In today’s episode, we get to know the woman behind the microphone – four-time Emmy nominated television producer, Erin Saxton. She tells us about her great New Jersey childhood and her genuine interest in people that led her to be in broadcasting. Dropping inspiration along the way, Erin shares some career highlights that shaped her to be the media and strategic marketer she is today. Learn more about working outside your comfort zone and staying on top of the competition from the girl from Jersey.
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Erin Takes Her Own Advice
I am so excited to introduce to you our guest. She’s an amazing woman. I have to be honest, I’ve been trying to book this person on this show for the longest time. Erin Saxton, welcome to the show. Let’s have the readers get to know you a bit. Erin, where were you born?
I was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In fact, it’s the green space on the Monopoly board, Pacific Avenue. For all those fun facts people might want to know about me.
What was your childhood like?
My childhood was great. We had a swing set. I went to school and I had lots of great friends. We grew up very suburban, American fun lemonade stands, some broken teeth along the way on water slides, everything that a girl could ever dream of.
Give us some fun facts about Erin Saxton.
Rumor has it that my great grandmother used to work for Thomas Edison. I love cheeseburgers so much that I could create a coffee table book based on cheeseburgers. If I could tour the world and just critique each burger and put it in a book, that would be great.
What made you think you wanted to have a video podcast?
I didn’t think I should do it. I’m 49 and I figured that after a few people strongly suggested I do that, I just finally get in front of the camera and doing it. There are days where I’m oddly comfortable with it and many days not. I’m used to being a behind the scenes girl. I’ve made a career out of helping other people look good. Now it’s my turn. Oddly enough, as by proof of this, I’m okay looking dorky and silly and sometimes not so good.
If you weren’t in the media, what do you think you would’ve done instead?
The joke is I would be a stripper and then everyone laughs because we all know you can’t write a book on cheeseburgers and want to be a stripper. It’s not sexy. I forgo that dream but when I was little, I used to want to be on the Price is Right modeling cars, microphones, all the different refrigerators, and the TV was put on the community channel. In our town, the pancake suppers. It would be a roll and you’d read it. It would go slowly enough that I used to pretend it was a teleprompter. Once I did the loop a few times, I would have my mom, my dad and my brother make fun of me. I would read the Knights of Columbus at 7:00 PM. I’d go through that whole thing.Not everybody who has an iPhone who can shoot a movie is a producer, but it is a start. Click To Tweet
Once I fell in love with the teleprompter, I used to think, “I’m going to be a newscaster.” I didn’t do any of that because I got an internship at Good Morning America. If you can imagine, we’re there on the set at Good Morning America, Joan London and Charlie Gibson’s there. We were standing there with two other friends of mine. Joan London said to Charlie, “Look how cute our interns are.” All these producers and guests looked at us. It wasn’t like they wanted to kill us, but we definitely were the young kids and we got attention. Immediately I thought, “I’m not leaving.” You’d be crazy to leave this environment where people on newscasts all over the country are trying to get to, “Why would I leave here to go there.” I stayed. If I wasn’t in the media, I would’ve studied to be a psychologist. I like helping people. I like figuring out what’s wrong, what makes them tick. I’m obsessed with it.
When people visit your website and your social media channels, what could they expect?
I think they can expect fun. I think they can expect a variety. I want a lot of different guests on this show. There are other parts of the website on The Erin Network. I’ll interview book authors., interviewing inventors and CEOs, not for That Girl from Jersey show but on another part of the Erin Network. I’m still doing consulting. Anytime I’m doing media, we’ll put it up there. I probably will do lots of videos and lots of commentary. Whoever hangs out with me at The Erin Network will hear about things first.
What’s your proudest moment?
Giving birth to my son, Eric, who’s fourteen. I didn’t have any trouble getting pregnant, but I absolutely had trouble sustaining the pregnancies. Unfortunately, I lost a few babies through miscarriage early on. For anybody out there who’s ever lost a child, you never forget that. It got to the point where I wasn’t sure I was ever going to even be able to have a child. Fast forward to when I finally was blessed with Eric, I delivered him at thirteen hours of labor. We went into a C-section. Every day, I look at him and I’m like, “I’m so lucky.”
I feel we’re getting closer. Tell me more about your path, career and personal. Where are you going?
I want to explore this on-camera thing. I love making people laugh. I love connecting with people. If I could figure out a way to get to know everyone in the world, I would. One day, I was sitting in the Giants Stadium, my brother used to play for the New York Giants. I was looking around and my mom was like, “What are you doing? Your brother’s on the field.” I said, “Mom, wouldn’t it be so cool if you could have one sentence you could learn about every single person in the stadium?” She just stared at me, but I wanted to do that. Even the people who give something out if you could learn one thing. I’m obsessed with figuring out a little bit about everybody. I ask questions naturally. I would think that’s a path. Even in my personal life, I’m always wanting to make more friends. Funny enough, I don’t feel I have a lot of close friends. I have a lot of people that I like. I have a small group of people that I would trust with my life.
It’s clear that we’re pretty good at talking to one another, but let’s go even deeper. What would you say to a younger Erin who is just starting out?
There is so much I would tell the younger Erin. I am very sensitive as an adult. I care what people think. I was conservative in some of the career moves I made. People would think that that’s the opposite. I was somewhat risking adverse with some of my career choices. I didn’t play the game as well as I could have played because I was worried about what somebody would think. If I could go back in time and realize, “It doesn’t even matter. It hurts and it makes you feel uncomfortable,” but I would say to the younger version of me to try to be a little more comfortable being uncomfortable.
Give me an overview of your career highlights. What you’ve liked and what you haven’t liked so much.You can't let fear grab hold of you. It will just paralyze you from anything else you wanted to do. Click To Tweet
I went to East Stroudsburg University. It was the early ‘90s. There weren’t many internship opportunities. There were a few but I didn’t love either of my options. I had a professor who was supporting me and supportive of a third option, which me and my family created just by our network. That was for Good Morning America. While I wasn’t given the internship, I was at least given the opportunity to interview for the internship. I went and my dad sat in the lobby. It was six hours long. I should have asked better questions because I had no idea it was supposed to be that long. There were six departments at the time. Each department had each intern for an hour. I immediately went, “I’m getting this.” I thought I’m not going to stop. That’s when I knew the first day I’m like, “This is a grown-up thing. This corporate thing, this TV thing is totally competitive and I’m going to win at it.”
I graduated and they hired me as a permanent temp person. All I was, was a glorified vacation filler in all these departments that they had. If somebody were going on vacation, I would float. I’d go from one department to the next. There were hurricanes that summer. It was crazy, news coverage thing. I learned a lot and I had a great experience. After Good Morning America, there was chatter of Barbara Walters, who had her own production company, needing an entry-level person. That fire came in again like, “I need to get this.” Once I was with Barbara, it took on a whole new level for me. I was traveling with Barbara for the primetime celebrity specials. I was there for many years. Eventually, I hit the proverbial wall. I tried to get as many promotions as possible and work hard, but it’s a small production company. There’s only maybe six to eight of us at any given time. The people that were there at the top were not leaving. I didn’t want to go. Luckily, they didn’t want me to go but I left anyway.
I went to work for a TV show that Dow Jones had. We mixed financial and I brought in my celebrity stuff into it. It was a nice mix. I worked there for a year and then they called in a meeting and they said, “Sorry, but the show has ended. We’ve been canceled.” I’ve never been worried about my next move, as over-analyzing as I can be and self-deprecating as I can be. The one thing I’ve never second-guessed was my career. When we were at the meeting, they were like, “We’re done. You don’t need to come in.” It was surreal, but I did not feel any panic. I wasn’t thinking anything. I thought, “I got this, something awesome is about to happen.” I walked back to my desk and my phone rang. I picked it up and it turned out to be Bill Geddie who was my boss at the production company for Barbara Walters I just worked at. He said, “Erin, how are you doing?” I said, “I’m good, Bill. How are you?” He’s like, “You’ve been away from me for about a year and a half.” I said, “I know. I miss you.” He’s like, “I’m starting this talk show. It’s called The View. I want you to come back home and I want to offer you a job.” Offline he couldn’t see it but I was like, “I already have a new job.”
I was cool and I thought, “I can’t go back at the same level I was with Bill.” That was one of our issues. We worked so well together and I was like a niece or an older daughter. I was so good at being his sidekick, an assistant type person, that he wasn’t able to let me expand my horizons. One, because there wasn’t room and two, he admittedly was like, “You make my life great here at work.” As much as I was excited to get the call for The View, I quickly was like, “Have I been away from this team long enough so they felt like I grew up?” When you’re looked upon as that production assistant, you start working there when you’re 21 years old. Are you going to ever look like a grownup to these people? I said to him, “I would love to come back but what would my title be?” It’s not that I wanted a specific title, I just wanted the lot in life to be better or more significant than when I left Bill in the first place. I know he was rolling his eyes saying, “Yes, Erin. I want you to come back.” I’m like, “As a producer?” He’s like, “Yes, Erin, as a producer.”
I said yes and I was one of the original producers of The View. We are there for a bunch of years, with Emmy nominations. I worked with great people. One day, I had an idea for a PR company, but it was a niche company. I realized, “I’m an entrepreneur.” As much as I am a TV producer, as much as I love being a creator of things, I have this idea for our company. It bridges the gap between media and anybody who wanted to be in the media. At the time, you were just starting to email, starting to send texts and people still had beepers. You were trying to get the producer’s attention to say, “Here’s a book author, don’t you want them on your show?” I’ve quickly realized that the people who want to be on TV, who want to be in magazines, who want to be on radio, they don’t know how to talk to the producers or editors that create these programs or these articles.
The yucky part about that is that some of their stuff is good. If they could translate their world into what producers and people in the media needed to hear, they probably would have more success getting on the media outlet or category that they wanted to get. I thought, “That’s it. I’m going to bridge the gap between my world and everybody else who wants to be in it.” I called it the Idea Network. For fun, I’m calling this The Erin Network just to be a little nostalgic. Fast forward, I ran that company with a great team for years, ended up merging that company with a business colleague. We then started a private production company sometime later. Soon enough, I became The Erin Network and I’m back here.
I have learned so much about you. What advice would you give to people who want to follow their dreams?
I get being nervous following my dream. You need to do it anyway. What’s freaking me out is, is it safe or am I not wanting to do it because it’s life-threatening? One time, I was afraid to be a waitress. It freaked me out and yet I loved the money grab. I loved hustling, getting tables, quick turnaround tips, but I had this fear of dropping all the plates and spilling drinks. It became so much of a negative for me that I finally then forced myself to do it. I dropped plates and I spilled a Piña Colada on this one man at a restaurant in the Poconos. I thought those scary movies where you have a dream and then the next day in the movie, the person is reliving their dream but they’re awake. That was me in the Poconos with this piano player off to the side. I believe he had a rough old tuxedo shirt on. He was singing the Happy Birthday song.
I tripped over someone’s purse, Piña Colada, not even water or Sprite. There were the orange peels on them, the cherry stems all over. It was the worst-case scenario that I’ve ever imagined it could be. I think I manifested it. We paid for his dry cleaning and he went home. I waitressed the next day. I was no longer afraid of it. If you’re afraid to make your dream, you can’t let fear grab hold of you. I thought if I’m afraid to be a cocktail waitress in college, fear will take over everything for me. If I can’t do this with my roommates, we had the best time, then this will just paralyze me for anything else I wanted to do. My best advice is you have to go for it. As long as you’re not hurting anyone or yourself, you have to try.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve had some pretty stressful days. What do you do? How do you get through it? Are there any tips you have?If you come from the sincerest of places and stay in integrity in a very crazy world, you will yield success beyond what you can imagine. Click To Tweet
I love to binge-watch TV at night. If I can climb into bed and I can watch any of my favorite shows, I know with certainty that I got through that day. I accomplished what I needed to do and I checked my little boxes off the list, how great will that little TV binge be that night? I used to reward myself with food. If I can get through this, everything for me was about McDonald’s, in good times or in bad. The golden arches were like lassoing me in. That’s not sustainable. I don’t recommend celebrating good and bad things with food. I needed to break that. I became more aware of the little moments. Even if I had a bad day and even if I didn’t check the boxes, I still could have binged-watched my shows and I did. There’s that comfortable feeling that you did it. There’s that sense of accomplishment that you had a great day even if it was stressful. All you have to do is get to the end of that rainbow and you can press reset. There are times were when I was producing, I had a bad segment. It got to the point where for my line of work, everybody saw if I had a bad day.
Millions of people watched me at work every day. They might not see me on camera but if a guest didn’t talk the way they needed to talk or didn’t hit their marks, somebody has a bad day at an office. Maybe twelve coworkers know. I was stacking up millions of epic fails. My segments, if they were good, would make the comedy shows at night. They’d make the talk shows and they’d make the clips. If I had a great day at work, other producers would notice. They’d either make fun of one of my hosts or look at a product. It was all compliments. You don’t want to be on those shows when it’s a bad segment. If you have a bad segment and then you wait, “Did anyone watch this or am I just being over critical?” One day, it was so bad that I looked at my co-worker and she’s like, “What are you going to do?” I said, “I’m going to shower.” She’s like, “Why?” I said, “I feel so gross from what happened that I don’t even want to have any remnants.” I wasn’t even being woo-woo, Namaste spiritual. She and I started laughing.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to get into media?
What I love about the option of being a TV producer is there are so many more opportunities. You have your network TV shows. You have your cable shows. You have your YouTube shows. You have shows on Instagram and Facebook. You have so many different formats that you technically could be a producer in. In my opinion, not everybody who has an iPhone, who can shoot a movie is a producer. That doesn’t mean you can’t start there, learn your craft and get as good as you can to that level and keep building. That’s what I would do. I no longer think that there’s this epicenter of Producer Ville. There are these wonderful routes that you can go to as being a TV producer. There are tons of people that are nice that will be willing to teach you. What I would absolutely say is thank goodness for social media. Thank goodness for all of the ways we can digitally connect. Everybody, no matter where they are, could reach out to somebody even if they don’t know them. As long as you’re not creepy, you can make friends. You can be introduced to other people and networks until you cannot network anymore. If you come from the sincerest of places and you stay in integrity in a very crazy world, I think that you will yield success beyond what you can imagine.
Erin, thank you for your time.
Thank you. I appreciate it.
We want to say thanks for joining us. We hope that you’ll tune in to every show that one of us does.
About Erin Saxton
I am a creative, results-driven professional with experience developing and executing strategic communications programs to help organizations and individuals raise their visibility and achieve their business goals. I oversee a team of fantastic colleagues and together we leverage persuasive communication and relationship management to increase distribution channels, including direct-to-consumer media, direct marketing. I personally excel in delivering keynote addresses as an expert in my field to business audiences around the country.
We are known for developing and executing marketing campaigns, increasing media exposure and support strategic marketing initiatives for corporate and individuals. As a former member of the national media, I am proficient in media relations, crisis management, and advancing large scale organizational projects. Please feel free to contact us at with any thoughts, comments, or questions about my work or the team’s experience — we are always interested in making new professional acquaintances.