In recent years, when she wasn’t putting together stories as a senior producer for ABC’s World News or helping to oversee global news-gathering operations as a network vice president, Mimi Gurbst liked to advise her colleagues on various ways to improve their personal and professional lives.
Somewhere along the say, sources tell The Observer, Ms. Gurbst became a kind of cherished, if unofficial, career counselor at ABC News, helping countless young producers and correspondents find their way at a particularly tumultuous time in an already confusing business.
Soon Ms. Gurbst will be counseling uncertain youngsters, full-time.
To wit: Later this year, Ms. Gurbst will step down from ABC News, where she has worked for the past 30 years, in order to pursue a new career as a high-school guidance counselor.
Sources tell The Observer that in August, Ms. Gurbst, who is 57 years old, will begin a master’s degree program in “Risk and Prevention,” at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, with the aim of becoming a high-school guidance counselor and perhaps someday running her own school.
It’s a rocky time in broadcast news. Recently, ABC News cut a hefty amount of its staff in a painful round of buyouts and layoffs. But the timing of Ms. Gurbst’s departure from the network, according to an ABC News spokesperson, is not a result of the layoffs. Ms. Gurbst has long been planning a move into educational counseling. In recent years, she has volunteered extensively at P.S. 69 in the Bronx.
“This is a bittersweet time for us with Mimi leaving,” Jon Banner the executive producer of World News told us on Tuesday afternoon. “But we’re so excited for her. It’s incredibly fitting that what she’s going to do—and what she finds so much joy in—is something she’s been doing for so many years right here at ABC.”
“She has spent immense amounts of time and patience counseling all of us, helping us through lots of difficult times, and giving us advice on what to do,” he added. “I can only imagine how lucky every child will be who someday walks into her office for advice.”
What’s the most memorable guidance Mr. Banner ever received from Ms. Gurbst?
“She made sure that I met and married my wife,” said Mr. Banner.
Through a spokesperson, Ms. Gurbst declined an interview request.
No word yet on whether Ms. Gurbst will advise her future high-school students to pursue careers in the broadcast news business—or to avoid the journalism racket altogether.