Photo by Ashley Rose Stanol

The comparisons between the model home and the dream house hang in the air when you visit with former TV anchor Nina Sossamon-Pogue. 

The 2,400-square-foot model home, which literally was the showcase house for the Mixson neighborhood in North Charleston, has lots of upgrades that highlight possibilities that could be incorporated into any home built in the new village — walls of brick, wood and sheetrock; stacked kitchen cabinets and a tiled backsplash, both of which go to the ceiling. The home, which has a huge square marble kitchen island, is comfortable, open and inviting.

The dream home, which Nina and husband Ben Pogue sold less than a year ago, offered 4,000 square feet of space on three acres on Hobcaw Creek in Mount Pleasant. It had everything, including a dock on the creek with a place to put in a kayak for a morning paddle or serve as a setting for a chilled glass of wine at sunset. There was even a music room for a grand piano and an array of guitars. 

“Ben plays everything,” Nina jokes. “I play the radio. I have many talents, but music is not one of them, although I play a mean triangle. Who knew the triangle was in every song?”

They moved into the model home in July and it fits their empty-nester lifestyle better, now that their blended family of three children is grown and starting their lives. The grand piano is living with another family member, but guitars are cradled in the open space that stretches the length of the house and includes a living room, dining room and kitchen.

“All that we need is this. We spend all of our time cooking and talking in the kitchen. It has an office and everything was brand new.”

New challenges and opportunities

People who have lived in the Charleston area for a few years know Nina and Ben from television. Nina, who came to the area in 1992 as a reporter for WCBD, was voted favorite news anchor for 10 years running in the City Paper’s Best of Charleston contest. Ben, now a lawyer, was a meteorologist at the station for eight years before he eventually went to law school and got into local politics. They married in 2005.

You might not know that as a teen-ager, Nina was an elite gymnast on the USA Gymnastics Team. While she didn’t win a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team, she competed competitively at Louisiana State University before being injured. 

“I was a gymnast, so obviously that sport taught me how to perform under pressure, but more importantly, it taught me how to be coachable, to accept criticism and to make adjustments to improve,” she says. “Plus with gymnastics, you learn how to literally fall on your face or land on your head and get up and try again.”

The lesson served well after she was, as she wrote in a bio, “in a devastating accident involving her co-anchor’s baby boy in the family’s driveway. Going from beloved news anchor to the person driving that car almost ended her life story, but the baby miraculously survived, and she and her co-anchor went back on the air together.”

Two books and a podcast

The accident is a fulcrum in her 2020 book, This Is Not the End: Strategies To Get You Through the Worst Chapters of Your Life. It’s also part of her work now following 12 years of corporate success at Benefitfocus, a local software start-up that made good. 

Her work, which includes giving keynote speeches and a new podcast, focuses on resiliency — on bouncing back after loss, tragedy or failure, and developing strategies to manage adversity.

“I’ve had a very public life, from being a gymnast to being on television to working for a software company,” she says. “I became the go-to person to help people at the tough times because I’ve learned how to manage the losses.”

The 143-page book includes seven coping skills and tools for people to use to move to the next chapters of their lives. 

In addition to moving her home during the pandemic, Nina published a second book, But I Want Both: The Working Mom’s Guide to Creating a Life She Loves. Like the first , it offers strategies to help people move forward. In this case, it focuses on helping “high-achieving women see that there is no work life balance — it is all just life, and they can make their life amazing.”

During the pandemic, as there were no live keynote speaking jobs, she added something new: a podcast called “THIS Seriously Sucks, the right podcast when life goes seriously wrong.” So far, she’s got 16 episodes on Spotify, including discussions on homelessness, narcissism, sexual assault, loss and addiction with people from all over the country. 

The episodes, which generally range from 30 minutes to 45 minutes, have been a way to keep doing the work that she’s enjoying — guiding people through crises and helping them to build resiliency. She’s looking forward to continuing the podcast while she gets back on the road to resume keynote presentations on pushing through adversity.

“This was my dream job, and now I’m doing it.”

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