As a Temple student, Lisa Bien, JOUR ’91, never crossed the threshold of Annenberg Hall’s television studio.
She would always glance into that world from the hallway, but never took a step in.
“I always wanted to be a broadcast journalism major,” Bien admits. “I remember always walking past the studio and seeing all the pretty girls with blue eyes and blond hair. I never thought that I was pretty enough to be one of those girls.”
But it’s in that same studio that Bien, an adjunct professor of strategic communication and president of Bien Marketing Group, now provides a forum for students to discuss some of the challenges they face in this sometimes tumultuous era in their lives as host of a new show on TUTV-Temple University Television, Bouncing Back.
Bien’s decision to focus her studies on public relations would prove to be a turning point in her life. It’s how she met Jean Brodey, a longtime Temple professor, now retired, who became her mentor. Bien credits Brodey for instilling in her a newfound self-confidence, especially as the person who nominated her for a Public Relations Society of America award, which Bien won.
“Here I had this professor from Temple University who believed in me. I was going to be her star. In my eyes, she was the star,” she said.
From the classroom to the studio
Bien has been teaching in the School of Media and Communication since 2004 and has grasped every opportunity to pay Brodey’s kindness and compassion forward. Bouncing Back is the latest step in the evolution of her journey. It evolved from a conversation with Betsy Leebron Tutelman, senior vice provost and professor of media studies and production.
“I was struck by Lisa’s passion, commitment and honesty,” Leebron Tutelman says. “Lisa found her voice through her mentor and her life experiences. Her success made me think that, through digital technology, she could draw stories out of young people and inspire them, and others who would watch her show, to move forward.”
At TUTV, the concept was welcomed with open arms.
“The second that Lisa and Dr. Leebron Tutelman came to me to share their vision for Bouncing Back, I committed TUTV to produce a pilot episode,” said Paul Gluck, associate professor of media studies and production and general manager of TUTV. “Lisa’s desire to help young people find the path to comfort and confidence, by sharing her own life lessons and those of others who have confronted personal challenges makes for a unique television show, with a positive premise that offers true benefit to viewers.”
In her pilot, Bien interviews Anna Tate, STRC ’13, who struggled with an eating disorder, as well as Frank Farley, a professor of education psychology at Temple, for expert commentary. In the second episode, which airs on TUTV on Oct. 29 at 12:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and on Oct. 30 at 4:30 a.m., features a young gay man who is not receiving moral support from his family. A therapist discusses how to cope when people in your support system are critical of your lifestyle. A third episode is scheduled for late November.
“The goal of the show is to share stories that we’re afraid to share—to show that we all face adversity, that we all have struggles and that it’s OK to talk about them,” Bien said. “I don’t think there are a whole lot of shows out there just focusing on the emotional needs of 20-year-olds.”
A part of the job
It’s a big responsibility to take students under her wing as mentees, but one she sees as an honor and part of her duties as a teacher.
“I think part of your education should be learning how to love yourself,” Bien said. “I want to inspire young people to take a journey to fall in love with themselves. When we love ourselves, we make the right decisions the good choices, the healthy choices. If you love yourself and you believe in yourself, then you know you’re going to keep bouncing back, that really nobody can push you down. At the end of the day, you have to keep bouncing back.”
TUTV can be seen in the city of Philadelphia on Comcast channel 50 and Verizon channel 45 and online at templetv.net.