Name: Daphne Leroy

Major at Baruch College: BBA Marketing Management
Graduation Year: 1993
School within Baruch College: Zicklin School Of Business
Company and Title: Viacom Media Networks - Vice President of Marketing Strategy, Ad Solutions

1. Tell us about Viacom Media Networks and what you do in your role as Vice President of Marketing Strategy in the Ad Solutions group.

Viacom is home to a leading portfolio of global, multi-platform entertainment brands, including MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, CMT, Logo, TV Land and VH1. The Ad Solutions group oversees all advertising sales, integrated marketing and branded content in support of sponsorships and partner campaigns. I am a member of the Ad Solutions Strategy team that defines positioning and go-to-market strategy, as well as oversees internal operations improvements and launches business transformation initiatives. In my role, I develop marketing and communications plans and lead large-scale projects primarily focused on thought leadership, training & development, diversity & inclusion, workplace culture and social impact.

2. What drives you in your current profession?

It is exciting to work with top creatives, marketers, sales leaders and strategists who embody the spirit of innovation in a constantly changing media landscape. I am most inspired by purpose-driven brands that leverage the power of their platforms to empower and engage audiences and communities. I've been fortunate to manage cause-marketing initiatives such as pro-social programs with local cable affiliates, the KNOW HIV/AIDS global media campaign and other social impact partnerships. Today, smart brands understand how to meaningfully connect to their consumers on culturally relevant moments and issues they care most about, especially among younger generations.  

3. What were some unique challenges you faced throughout your professional career and how did you overcome them?

One of my professional mantras comes from a quote by Shirley Chisholm – “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” As a woman of color navigating corporate environments throughout my professional journey, I discovered the significance of building your executive presence and developing your voice. It’s imperative to think strategically about your desired personal brand with the support of a circle of mentors, advocates and sponsors. I’m very thankful for the valuable role each has played in my career (and life!). 

4. How was your experience at Baruch like? How did Baruch impact your life and career?

I look back at my Baruch experience with pride and joy. Above all else, what made the Baruch community so special were the people. The experience also had a positive impact on me professionally. As an active student, I balanced academic life with a range of extracurricular activities at Baruch. For example, I served as Vice President of Student Government, wrote for The Ticker student newspaper and co-produced a student adaptation of The Colored Museum play by George C. Wolfe. Through it all, I learned the importance of making a positive lasting impression with a strong work ethic and bringing passion and purpose to every project. I still apply those lessons to my daily work. 

5. What is one of your favorite memories you have from your time at Baruch?

Among the many favorite memories from my time at Baruch, a top highlight was serving as project coordinator of the “Celebration of Soul” student calendar with sales proceeds donated to a scholarship fund. The printed calendar featured original photographs of Baruch student models captured in creative scenes on campus, as well as locations across Manhattan such as the United Nations, Madison Square Park and Flatiron District. Long hours went into the completion of this project, and the student-led team handled all graphic design, photography, copy writing and promotion. As a marketing management major, I used what I learned in the classroom to help curate this real-life project. It was such a thrill to collaborate with an amazing group of fellow students to bring a unified vision to life. The calendar is one of my most cherished Baruch keepsakes.

6. Do you have any advice for current Baruch students and alumni who are interested in pursuing a career in Marketing and Communications?

While Baruch College certainly gives you an academic foundation to thrive professionally, a career in marketing and communications is also built on authentic relationships with clients, partners and colleagues. Developing effective “soft skills” and cultivating strong professional connections are critical to your longevity and success. For Baruch students, I highly recommend internships to gain first-hand experience working on a team in a professional setting. Additionally, get involved in student clubs and activities to grow leadership and project management skills in collaboration with other students who may become your industry peers. If you are just starting your career or making a transition, join industry associations that provide mentoring programs, professional development and networking opportunities to engage with influencers in a particular field of interest. Lastly, always make time for continuous curiosity, discovery and reinvention to stay relevant to what is happening in your industry. You should never stop learning. 

7. How can people contact you?