My Favorite Things: Jonna Mayberry

As 2017 winds to a close, we’re looking back on some of our favorite memories of the year. From favorite programs to community events, this was a big year, with fun run-ins and meaningful moments.

Today’s memories come from Jonna Mayberry, a publicist at Wisconsin Public TelevisionRead on to find out what she’ll remember the most!

Sometimes, my job allows me to meet Nature Cat. And that, my friends, is pretty cool.

March of 2017 marked the beginning of my fourth year as an employee at Wisconsin Public Television. My role at WPT has evolved over my time here, and each year has brought new projects, new colleagues and new memories. In my role at WPT, I find that no workday is the same, and I appreciate the opportunity to explore new topics and learn more about wonderful state every day. As an Arizona/Ohio native, I love learning more about Wisconsin on a daily basis.

In February, I worked at the Wisconsin Public Television booth throughout the annual Garden Expo (coming up this February 9-11). Spring is my favorite season – second only to fall – so I always appreciate the opportunity to stop and smell the roses in February. You might think that working in a booth for three days straight would get old, but I’m being honest when I say that I love it.

When WPT’s other annual expo, Quilt Expo, rolled around in September, I was excited to get another opportunity to interact with the public we serve. Expos are a wonderful opportunity to visit with hobbyists, viewers and supporters face to face – and I’m continually impressed by the amazing work that the WPT events team does to make these events run so smoothly.

On another, more somber note: I am glad that we can carry on the late Nancy Zieman’s incredible legacy in the work that we do, including Quilt Expo, which was co-founded by Nancy. My mom is a sewer, and I grew up watching Sewing With Nancy – unaware that it was produced in the WPT studios. Getting the opportunity to work alongside Nancy during my time here was an incredible gift. Thank you, Nancy Zieman, for sharing your talents with all of us. 

Throughout the year, I have enjoyed seeing the work that is coming out of WPT’s Education Department. As a publicist, I sometimes get to help spread the word about the education team’s work.  One amazing project that launched this year is the all-new Wisconsin First Nations website: WisconsinFirstNations.org.  Created by WPT Education and the  Wisconsin Act 31 Coalition partners, this resource offers a rich collection of educational videos, teacher professional development resources, lesson plans, and learning tools for classrooms and libraries. And, speaking of Wisconsin Act 31, have you watched the Tribal Histories series of documentaries? Three new episodes are airing this month!

Wisconsin Life is another project I’ve enjoyed seeing evolve over the year. This year, the Wisconsin Life team launched a brand-new season with a brand-new host: the talented Angela Fitzgerald. I have loved watching Wisconsin Life’s diverse, captivating profiles. Also, it’s pretty cool that sometimes I have to watch Wisconsin Life episodes for work.

And, the literal icing on the cake: This year, I was able to work on one of the coolest projects of my career thus far – The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge! All summer long in 2017, my colleague Jessica Lee and I – with support from a ton of colleagues – invited bakers to bake along with The Great British Baking Show, and add a Wisconsin twist.  Each week, we issued challenges based on the challenges from The Great British Baking Show, and bakers uploaded their baking stories, photos and videos for the world to see.

A Capitol Centennial Sandwich made by Ralph from Madison.
A Capitol Centennial Victoria Sandwich made by Ralph from Madison.

What started as an exciting experiment turned into a successful engagement project that allowed us to connect with people from throughout Wisconsin – and even one baker in Australia! Each week, I was blown away by delectable, picture-perfect creations, and by the bakers’ creativity.

One of my favorite parts about the project was getting to know the bakers: We corresponded with the bakers throughout the project, and it was so nice to bond with our viewers and supporters in new ways. When the project came to a close, I was honestly a little teary – these were my pen pals, and I loved seeing their progress and learning about their lives! The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge was an opportunity to challenge myself in new ways, bond with the community and remember the reason why we do what we do every day at WPT: YOU.

If you’re reading this blog, my guess is that you watch WPT, enjoy visiting our website, or support public media. So thank you for making this past year possible. My favorite moments of 2017 couldn’t have happened without your support!

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