Meet the Marketing and advertising Exec Who’s Been Making Her Mark at Apple, Uber and Netflix

In Particular Board of Directors, top rated company leaders talk about the folks they turn to for suggestions, and how these persons have formed their viewpoint and aided them be successful. Past installments from the sequence are below.

In summer time 2020,

Bozoma Saint John

landed a desire task as main promoting officer of

Netflix Inc.

The streaming huge spends extra than $2 billion a calendar year on promoting. Amusement “is my sweet location,” she states.

The firm, dependent in Los Gatos, Calif., is the 10th employer and sixth business through Ms. Saint John’s very long job. Bias generally prompted prior work changes, she says.

“I hit a wall or a ceiling, and I couldn’t crack by way of,’’ she proceeds. “As a Black female, I have had to get the job done a lot more durable to do well.’’

The self-proclaimed “badass” is now Netflix’s most senior Black executive.

Supportive mentors solidified Ms. Saint John’s potent dedication to go up by moving on. “My personal board associates have played the job of assisting me to trust my instincts,’’ she suggests.

Bio Bits

  • Age: 44
  • Education: Bachelor’s diploma in English and African-American Reports from Wesleyan University
  • Household: Daughter Lael, age 12
  • Magic formula talent: Skilled seamstress who has manufactured almost everything from skirts to curtains
  • Administration mantra: Provide your complete self to perform, even if it is in glitter or burlap
  • Enjoyment fact: Opposite to well-known belief, I’m not all frills on every little thing. My favored ice cream is straight vanilla
  • Top in heels: 4-inch stilettos are my go-to…which would make me 6’3”
  • Superpower you desire you experienced: Teleportation

The 44-yr-aged executive, who typically goes by her nickname “Boz,” was born months before her father finished his doctorate in ethnomusicology at Wesleyan College in Middletown, Conn. Her mothers and fathers, then Ghanaian citizens, returned to Ghana for the duration of her infancy.

Ms. Saint John moved to 6 distinct locales before she turned 13. As a significant-faculty university student in Colorado Springs, Colo., she interned with an obstetrician and regarded starting to be a health practitioner.

She also beloved pop culture, but figured her interest was “not something to be really serious about.” Ms. Saint John reconsidered her healthcare-job goal following becoming impressed by an African-American studies course during her freshman yr at Wesleyan.

Geared up with a diploma in English and African-American research, the 1999 graduate acquired hired as an administrative assistant at Spike DDB, a New York advert agency headed by movie director Spike Lee. She was stunned when he approved her advice that soaring pop star Beyoncé Knowles ought to surface in a commercial for

PepsiCo Inc.

“If he experienced picked another person else, I most likely would not be sitting down listed here now,” she observes. Ms. Saint John recognized her tips could rely, and “the pecking purchase doesn’t make a difference.” She ultimately advanced to senior account government at the agency.

In 2005, she joined a Pepsi unit as assistant manufacturer manager in multicultural promoting. Whilst a marketing govt there a long time later, she assisted manage Beyoncé’s 2013 Super Bowl fifty percent-time visual appearance and an elaborate introductory Pepsi business.

Ms. Saint John captivated even higher awareness at the time she grew to become

Apple Inc.’s

head of international customer internet marketing for Apple New music and iTunes.

She took an unusual strategy in describing Apple’s redesigned streaming songs provider throughout its 2016 developers’ convention. “It was genuinely scary,’’ she recalls. “My model was so various.”

Ms. Saint John urged the predominantly white male audience to sing “Rapper’s Delight” as she swayed to the hip-hop strike. “Some of you guys are not rapping to the conquer,” she chided males in the viewers.

Her subsequent stint—as chief brand officer for

Uber Systems Inc.

—didn’t past lengthy. Hired in June 2017, Ms. Saint John stop just after a year.

She and Uber Chief Govt

Dara Khosrowshahi

disagreed in excess of irrespective of whether improved shopper assistance need to be the ride-hailing giant’s highest priority, she states. “We just did not align.’’ An Uber spokesman declined to comment about her transient tenure.

She following held the top rated promoting spot at

Endeavor Team Holdings Inc.,

an amusement company recognized for representing Hollywood’s major abilities.

Subsequently “joining Netflix was my biggest internet marketing obstacle at any time,’’ says Ms. Saint John, who reviews to co-CEO

Ted Sarandos.

“I am advertising to so numerous completely unique specific titles and messages.”

Additional complicating matters, the Netflix newcomer underwent crisis surgical procedures for appendicitis all through her 1st 7 days. She resumed get the job done from her mattress times later on.

Her most valued advisers include:

Brett O’Brien

Standard manager of Gatorade at PepsiCo Inc.

The Pepsi govt recruited Ms. Saint John since he experienced been a person of her Spike DDB customers. He to begin with supervised her at the large food-and-beverage maker.

She doubted that she would triumph, however. Compared with many Pepsi peers, the newbie assistant brand name manager lacked an M.B.A. degree.

Mr. O’Brien reassured her that “my qualifications didn’t make any difference. I could do everything,’’ Ms. Saint John proceeds. His self-confidence in her abilities motivated at minimum 1 of her further marketplace switches.

He suggests he also urged his protégée to “keep performing you.” A greater-than-lifetime individual, “Boz lets her enthusiasm shine through,’’ Mr. O’Brien points out. She didn’t “need to dampen that enthusiasm to fit any perceived company norms.”

Arianna Huffington

Founder and CEO of Thrive Global

The executives met in 2016 at a shopper-electronics trade demonstrate. Ms. Huffington, an Uber board member, finally proposed that Ms. Saint John take into account leaving Apple for Uber.

“She wanted to be somewhere that would permit her whole character glow,’’ Ms. Huffington states. And “Uber wanted her distinctive presents.”

The entrepreneur related Ms. Saint John with then-Uber CEO

Travis Kalanick

and supported her candidacy. He interviewed her at Ms. Huffington’s Los Angeles dwelling.

Mr. Kalanick resigned soon after Ms. Saint John arrived, next months of scandal and setbacks at Uber.

Luvvie Ajayi Jones

Author, speaker and CEO of Awe Luv Media

Ms. Saint John sought an introduction to Mrs. Jones in 2014 simply because she was impressed by her commentary about pop tradition on her site. The pair have been rapid mates ever considering the fact that.

“Luvvie has normally encouraged me to continue on producing hassle,’’ Ms. Saint John suggests. Her counsel proved particularly practical when the executive still left Uber sensation discouraged.

“Am I just looking for difficulties just about everywhere I go?” Ms. Saint John remembers asking herself. “I never always want to be the one particular who disrupts merely due to the fact I walk in the doorway. It is exhausting,” she goes on. “Sometimes, I just want to basically in good shape in.”

Ms. Saint John should really retain earning the finest problems and transformative improve mainly because she “cannot fit in, even if she attempts.’’ Mrs. Jones contends. “She is a tall, dark-skinned, Black girl who normally exists in rooms that have been not developed for someone like her.”

The author’s latest guide, “Professional Troublemaker,’’ explores how to tackle and normalize anxiety. She believes her finest tips to Ms. Saint John was that she really should quash fears and settle for recurring requests for a TED Converse. We increase by difficult ourselves to do things we’re concerned of, Mrs. Jones told her.

Ms. Saint John lastly delivered her TED Chat in August 2021. The concentration of her speak was on applying her instinct just about every working day.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas

Actor, producer and author

The pair became acquainted about a 10 years in the past when the preferred Indian actor appeared on “X Aspect,” a televised talent present that Pepsi sponsored.

In 2018, Ms. Saint John attended Ms. Chopra’s marriage in India, exactly where she married musician Nick Jonas. Currently, the widowed Netflix executive however struggles to pursue her friend’s suggestion that she open her coronary heart and obtain really like once more.

Ms. Saint John’s husband, Peter Saint John, died in 2013. Their daughter Lael was then 4.

“I do know how to get what I want out of my career. I don’t know how to do that in like,” Ms. Saint John admits. “It’s extremely unpleasant and scary.”

Publish to Joann S. Lublin at [email protected]

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