Why She’s Interesting: Gousman has never shied away from a challenge. After working in TV news for almost two decades, she has seen time and again that life always throws a couple curveballs along the way. In the last year, she’s gone through a divorce and moved away from her native city of Chicago to take on a new role as anchor for News 5 Cleveland.
Survival Instincts: Gousman is nothing if not resilient. At 15, her mother died while giving birth to her brother, which led to several tumultuous years in which Gousman realized she would eventually want to leave home for college out of state. “Anytime you lose a loved one, especially someone like a mother who really is the foundation of your family and the fort that holds everything down, when you lose an instrumental person like that, it just tears everything down.”
Rooted History: Gousman felt pulled to apply to Hampton University, a historically African American college in Virginia, where she was part of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the first Black Greek sorority in the country. “It’s not like I can trace my roots and say I’m from South Africa or Ghana, because African Americans have a hard, hard journey in terms of tracing our lineage. So, I just wanted to learn more about who I am as a Black person.”
Turning Point: In 2014, Gousman covered the fatal Chicago Police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. As an evening news anchor for WGN-TV, it was a challenging story to tell when uncovering the city government’s response to the high schooler’s death. “That was the impetus for change in Chicago on many levels. That was a time that was very, very vivid for me.”
Foundational Truths: In her 17 years working in media, Gousman covered pivotal stories such as the D.C. sniper trial and Sandra Bland, who was arrested at a traffic stop and later found dead in her cell. “As a member of the media you are told, taught and trained not to have an opinion or not to express yourself sometimes. But at the end of the day, I’m a Black woman first before I’m a journalist and before anything.”
Three and Out:
What is your most treasured item?
My grandma was a pianist. She ended up passing but I have her piano here with me in Ohio and I feel like she’s with me all the time.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
My grandma was a very faithful woman. She always put trust in God and knew that it was going to work out, and those were the things I learned from her: knowing you’re going to be OK even when it doesn’t look like it.
What are some unexpected things you’ve learned about yourself in the last year?
The pandemic has helped me go into solitude. I know if the pandemic hadn’t been in place, if we hadn’t been in quarantine and lockdown, I wouldn’t have had time to sit down and get my mind together in the midst of all the changes.