In a year where everyone is feeling a bit out of luck, Lauren Berman is grateful to be part of something that still offers people a chance to completely change their lives.
The South Jersey native is the evening draw host for the New Jersey Lottery. A longtime Cherry Hill resident, Berman is making moves and headed to Haddonfeild for her next chapter.
She grew up in Sicklerville, but at the age of 4, her family moved to Cherry Hill. Berman attended Cherry Hill High School East before moving on to Rowan University. It was at Rowan that she started carving out her path.
Berman had always enjoyed performing and entertaining, so she double majored in theater and journalism, with a concentration in broadcast journalism. Her goal was to land somewhere on television or in the arts. While working in theater called to her, Berman decided it might be best to have something more steady, so she actively pursued television.
As part of her journalism track, she interned with PHL17’s morning news team during her senior year. She didn’t graduate with a job lined up, but the team would later call and ask if Berman had any interest in part-time work. She happily agreed.
During her time at the Philadelphia station, Berman sometimes edited video footage and other times was more involved in camera work. The gig ultimately turned into a full-time producing position.
During her time there, the team was small, so Berman wore a lot of hats. Sometimes she reported; other times she produced video content. But the morning schedule proved grueling and in 2017, Berman decided the lifestyle just wasn’t for her and left the station.
Berman admits she was a bit naive at the time about how difficult it would be to find another position. She spent the next 10 months scoping out work before the position with the lottery entered her life.
At the time, the lottery team was quietly looking for someone to fill the evening draw host position. A staff member at PHL17 remembered Berman and asked if she had any interest in auditioning.
“It was a total blessing,” Berman recalled. .
As the evening host, Berman reads the numbers for the Pick 3, Pick 4 and Pick 6 draws Monday through Friday. She also makes appearances at lottery events throughout New Jersey.
While working with the lottery, she lived in Cherry Hill, but in August, Berman moved to Haddonfield. She was drawn to the area by its main thoroughfare, safe neighborhoods and ease of access to the Philadelphia area
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the lottery had a series of events lined up to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Berman said formatting has since moved entirely online, with broadcasts livestreamed on the New Jersey Lottery Facebook page. While the draws are still held every night of the week, for safety purposes, Berman is no longer hosting in-person, and she’s instead creating a lottery social media post approximately every other week.
Berman said the most fulfilling aspect of her work is making dreams come true. Back when she was still working in the studio, she passed by the digital signs at the entrance that reported the night’s total jackpots. Berman knew if the values were reset as she walked out, someone’s life had just changed.
“[We] just made someone’s dream come true; it’s a great feeling to be part of a system that makes dreams come true,” she said.