…I think what’s most important is that you don’t forget your self-worth, you don’t apologize. It’s taken me a very long time to be okay in my skin, walking into boardrooms or meetings understanding that I am enough.

I love when Mika always highlights women on MSNBC because it really is knowing your worth. But it is also taking up space and not apologizing for it, though when you walk into the boardroom don’t sit 333 levels back, the men have no problem going in there and just sitting at the head of the table. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be at the head of the table as well. Women have instincts that are amazing. Women like to figure things out. They like to take care of people. They like to be human and humane. And they have incredible instincts that really are a trait that people in general women in general need to really tap into their inner compass and their inner gut. And every single time I’ve gone against my gut, I have regretted it. I’ve gone, “Why the hell didn’t I just listen,” whether it was taking on something I shouldn’t have or just working with certain people, I should have trusted my gut and I didn’t.

For my series on strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Raquel Bruno.

Raquel Bruno began her career in television at Nickelodeon & Nick at Nite. There she was part of the team that launched the ‘TV Land’ channel and was responsible for clearing all programming and retromercials for the network. Upon her promotion to Manager of Strategic Partnership Marketing, she served as liaison between Viacom partners such as UPN, Paramount and National Amusements, as well as the Museum of Television & Radio. Her passion for the retro subject matter led her to spearhead television preservation efforts for TV Land with the Museum’s assistance.

Special events became Bruno’s forte, when she took on the on site coordination of all talent for MTV Radio, MTV News, MTV Online, and various other departments for MTV’s big events. The MTV Video Music Awards, the MTV Movie Awards, MTV’s Spring Break, MTV Icon, and Total Request Live are among the events/programs to which Bruno lent her talents.

In 2006 the time was right for Bruno to launch her own company. DRIVE ENTERTAINMENT GROUP was started to offer clients — on the booking and management sides — unprecedented attention to detail, unparalleled forward movement of their careers and events and real understanding of their needs and circumstances. Since the company’s inception, Bruno has booked/produced various events and shows such as Spike TV’s Guy’s Choice Awards, the Jennifer Hudson Oscar party, Logo Affiliate Launch Party, FearNet Launch Party, Xbox 360 ‘Gears of War’ Launch Event, Current TV’s New Icons Campaign, Jay-Z’s MTV Movie Awards Party, G-Star’s Fashion Show, Bravo’s Even More Scary Movie Moments, IFC’s ‘Guest List’, Logo’s New Now Next Awards, Rosie O’Donnell’s The Big Gay Sketch Show, Shaun White Snowboard Video Game Launch, WE TV’s High School Confidential, MTV’s It’s on with Alexa Chung.

In addition, Drive Entertainment Group booked and produced events for Lexus, VW and Greenzy’s as well as TV productions/web productions for Logo, MTV, NAACP nominated UNCF’s Tribute to Chaka Khan, Google’s Youtube’s Creator Summit, Pepsi’s The Flow, MLB Fan Cave, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences-College Television Awards, The Wendy Williams Show, BBC America, Soul Train Awards, Defeat the Label, Dew Tour Concerts, Sprout, Starz, Slate at Sundance, Sports Illustrated Revealed, Above Average/The Kicker, ABFF Awards on BET, Condé Nast, ABC & Disney Holiday Specials, the U.S. Premiere of Bohemian Rhapsody, SYFY WIRE and many other television specials, documentaries, digital series, non-profit projects and red carpet events. As of 2020, we have recently been nominated for a Daytime Emmy for one of our TV Specials, added American Idol as a client and proudly became a member of Producers Guild of America.

Thank you for joining us Raquel. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve told this story a few times when I mentor kids, I kind of created my own path, but it all really stems from my parents and musical history of my family. My mom’s a singer and has been a jazz musician her whole life and my dad’s a songwriter, arranger. And my uncle’s all played with Frank Sinatra and Louis Prima and all these classic jazz greats, so they were always sidemen, always on the road, and I grew up on a Recording Studio floor and I was always surrounded by music. I knew that music and I could never really formulate in my young mind but I knew that I needed to be around music. My mom would have rehearsals in our living room and she did the senior prom when I was a freshman and I was mortified. But now looking back, what a great thing to have. My parents recorded all the time and they did commercial jingles. They wrote their own music and my mom had a band right after my brother was born.

I love telling the story because I try to inspire kids to say not every path is exactly linear. It’s a journey. And in high school, there was a guidance counselor who handed me a piece of paper and said you want to check off the career that you want. And I looked at it and not one of them was relevant to me. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not on here. And I remember thinking, Okay, then what is it? There has to be something. I could never be a banker, I could never be a nine to fiver. And so the opportunity came.

I was always very ambitious. And in my senior year, my parents knew somebody who worked at CBS local, who was a graphic designer, and he’s a friend of a friend who got a name at Nickelodeon. I can tell you that music was a big part of my life. I was one of the first groups to be able to see MTV when it launched and that to me was when I knew I wanted to do this and I wanted to work there. So I got a number from a department over there and they went wait, how old are you? And they gave me the blow off and said call in a year.

I call exactly a year to the day and luckily, through the fates of the gods, higher power connected me to a fantastic woman who got on the phone and said, wait a second, how old are you? I think you need to come in. So that was the first person who really started shaping my career. Her name was Susan Kearns, and she was an absolutely amazing woman. She gave me my first internship at Nickelodeon in acquisitions and programming. I worked for her and Diane Robina and Dea Connick Perez, and then I ended up when I graduated becoming their assistant. I always tell the story that she was such an inspiration because she never ever treated me like an intern but an assistant. You have a hunger and a thirst for this industry. Let me teach you and give you the ropes. I sadly lost her after six months of becoming her assistant to cancer, but she will always be forever the one that took a chance. She’s like you were a kid. You’re how old, you called a year to the day and that’s amazing. So that’s really the beginning of my career.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leaving your company?

Everything that I do has a personal story attached to it. For all of the challenges that my Uncle Nicky had and even though he was prone to seizures and in a wheelchair, the place was magical to him, Disney World was one of his favorite places. So, when I had the opportunity to become the co-producer and senior talent producer for the Disney Holiday Specials. It was all in his honor. And I would always get symbols that I use around me. I used to call him the Big Hawk. When I was there I saw a lot of Hawks so I always knew he was with me.

Being able to work in this industry and make a difference for those people in my life that were such a big influence on me and be able to carry it, knowing that I’m carrying on their legacy for something that made them so happy. It’s a thread that unites all of us. Those are the moments. And being able to be on the producing team to give Lady Gaga her TV debut. I talk about that all the time. Working with incredible artists, the fact that I’m a part of American Idol right now as a Talent Producer and working with the great Lionel Richie and Katy Perry who I’ve worked with for years when I was at MTV, and work with such amazing talent like Luke Bryan, and then giving others a platform. I feel that I’m behind the scenes because my parents were always in front. I love being able to speak to the MD at American Idol where I know the way musicians relate just like I grew up watching. It’s almost an unspoken language they speak to music, and also being the go between understanding the music or musicians and then bringing it to the business side of it and giving them a platform to let their content shine through. That’s why I do what I do.

And then getting to work with a lot of my idols I worked with when I was at MTV. When we launched TV Land, I got to work with John Ritter. He just was the best. He came from Hollywood royalty. And he never ever let that get in the way of just being a good person.

When we launched TV Land I got to work with Garry Marshall for Laverne and Shirley and John Ritter for Three’s Company. We were part of the teams that launched and relaunched all of these shows that hadn’t been seen in a while. That was about 11 years before YouTube. And I was able to work with John Scheinfeld, who is an incredible documentarian and to honor Garry Marshall, who I’ve worked with many different times throughout TV Land, and his assistant, who had been with him since 96. Such incredible women like Heather Hall brought it full circle and now being able to bring it full circle under my own umbrella Drive that to me is continuing the great legacy of a lot of these artists that influenced me growing up.

Garry Marshall everyone loved him and getting to work on the Happy Days of Gary Marshall which just aired May 12 on ABC. And doing American Idol and getting to work on these two very different streams. And people come out of the woodwork when you’re good at what you do, and you’re kind along with that.

I want people to continue to be themselves and know that we’re going to come through on the other end of it. I try to remember that about John Ritter. I have a John Ritter baseball card that he signed for me. But even in the worst of times, John never lost it on all those people and never lost focus on greeting the assistant or the CEO with the same amount of respect. And that to me shows a true talent.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you first started? And can you tell us the lesson you learn from it?

The first mistake I’ve made is to never assume anything is probably my funniest mistake. I will tell you the story about TV Land when we were launching. Now I actually do clearances and helped with clearances on a lot of these shows. So when we’re launching TV Land, we aired retro commercials. And nobody had seen these commercials again; there wasn’t YouTube. Is that content? What is that? Even today when people are talking a lot about the old MTV videos and they have the commercials in it. I YouTube classic commercials because my job when I was in TV Land was to basically go out to different libraries. I was a synergy person between the Museum of Television and Radio and TV Land and Nick at Nite. And finding the kine scopes, finding old commercials and sometimes they were the originals that people would just pull an intake with and there was nowhere to put them in and tapes were rotting. So we decided this was just a culmination of all of us, we threw in I like to buy the world a coke, your a pepper and I am a pepper.

And about six months later, SAG came and said it was either pay this amount of money or pull it out.

So last year at American Beauty Star we had to take the talent one of the ways. There was a craft table that was blocking all of my talents. I said come on and move this thing and it was a table that had legs that buckled in and we were about to be live. I pushed the table. I felt so terrible. I walked back five minutes later to get all of the talent and there’s the pa’s on their hands and knees.

We must have lost so much of craft services. But you know sometimes you just gotta do what you have to do to get your talent on the stage.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I think the ability to constantly pivot, to be nimble, to be flexible, to be willing to make changes. As a talent producing company and booking company and content creator, we’re on the front lines all the time. You have to read a room, you have to see the problems and issues before they get to the red light. So when we warn our clients, this is not going to work. You have to understand the sensitivities. Getting them to understand that it’s not black and white. It’s very much a gray scenario when it comes to talent when it comes to pivoting.

I’m most amazed by SyFy Wire, American Idol, and my clients right now who took the time to understand that we’re in unprecedented waters and still continued to be content creators working with us and beside us to make that happen. With SyFy Wire, the ability to pivot and able to stay relevant with a working from home series that we’ve created. Also taking our lead when it comes to talent and saying look, I think we should do this. I think we should get ahead of the curve. I think we need to be thinking 2–3 or even 6 months out.

In the very first year I was asked to do it at the VMA’s which was just when I had left MTV, it was just me on a carpet pulling people for my one little platform, then with every passing year, digital just kept growing in leaps and bounds. And they also know me because I was a Talent Booker on the inside. So they knew all the ways that things need to happen, the big picture, the negotiations, all of it that has to happen on award shows, and then to the ancillary businesses that go with it. And I understood it well, because I came from MTV Radio, which was an ancillary business attached to the mothership but we created our own platform and needs for the talent.

We need to build my team to go with it and then we’re doing pre show, post show during the show, and Facebook Live. So we pivoted and I do my best to stay one foot in and understand the basics of business. So understanding technology, pivoting to all, creating content is content, whether it’s going to be on a streamer, or on a linear, it’s still content.

And so my brother and I used to joke around saying content is king, and it’s more relevant than ever. So no matter where talent exists for us at Drive Entertainment, we want to make sure we always stay relevant with them and give them those platforms because it’s ever evolving.

How to push through in a very noisy and clunky marketplace is incredibly important, which is why my relationships are incredibly important because these are the same folks I started out with and made sure to stay in touch with because everybody has something to contribute, and everybody has places that they go that you know someone working collaboratively is a big part of what we do. It’s how do we collectively collaborate on ways to make it better and bigger? And that’s what’s really important because everyone’s important in a production, every job is important.

When one fails. We all fail.

Drive is a lightning bolt because we’d like to almost disrupt a little bit so that people can say, what’s happening and then we bring it and build it together. So everything I’ve worked on has been built by building it from the ground up, nothing has ever just been handed to me, not one thing. It’s always been how we build it. I’m usually the problem child but not now because my clients have been established, but a lot of the times we were brought in for emergency bookings. And we’re there because, with short windows we have a week, a day or three days to put something together, because we just put our noses to the grindstone. It’s why I like staying a boutique agency because when you hire Drive, you’re hiring me. I’m always at the helm. And I’m always also in every aspect of the job. Because it’s important that we’re part of every part of the decision because it reverberates effects, talent effects, production effects, everything.

What I love about SyFy Wire, is that they are just actively producing original short form content, they are actively looking for new ways to do things differently. They are open to staying relevant. And I love how exciting it is because they’re one of the few that have both the online aspect of it and on air linear and you can stream it either way.

And the great thing is we support other content. We’re booking all the time because they’re supporting Amazon or Hulu and then of course, their own network. It’s almost like when I was at TRL. At TRL we would book MTV Radio, and we would book anyone that made sense that was in the news and relevant, and that’s what’s great about SyFy Wire, anything that fits with the genre. And even sometimes it stretches a little bit, they are willing to cover it, whether it’s News, Features or Fangrrls. Again, the reason I love that vertical under SyFy is women having a voice in that genre as we don’t always have a voice in the genre. The one that did was Cher Martinetti who created this incredible vertical. And I am proud of her for that and she’s got an incredible team that works with her. And so we’re always looking to make sure that we keep women’s voices alive and well, and elevated under the fangirls umbrella under SyFy. I always have to do things with a purpose.

I work on Miss Universe. I’m the producer of that and I’m the producer of the Disney Holiday Specials. I hope that we can pivot and figure out how we can make it work in this new world right now. It’s a combination of a little bit of terror, a little bit of anxiety, but a lot of excitement and the fact that I am excited to see what’s next. We’ll just continue to work on content because streamers and networks need content.

It will happen because entertainment leads the charge a lot. The lines are blurred. I feel terrible for my friends in film because I don’t know what we have planned with film right now. But again, they can make the pivot which a lot of them are for content and figure out a way to make it happen on Netflix so then we can still create the content because you know what, Garry Marshall Happy Days was created as a film and it aired as a Documentary on ABC, which was amazing and John Scheinfeld’s vision for the Garry Marshall film.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team?

It’s not always just money, money, it’s a matter of trying to fill a need and make other people satisfied.

There have been things I’ve turned down because it wasn’t what Drive is about. A lot of Drive is a part of my personality and it has to make a difference in what we do.

What advice would you give to other females about the best way to manage our large team?

I think besides managing a large team, I think what’s most important is that you don’t forget your self worth, you don’t apologize. It’s taken me a very long time to be okay in my skin, walking into boardrooms or meetings understanding that I am enough.

I love when Mika always highlights women on MSNBC because it really is knowing your worth. But it is also taking up space and not apologizing for it, though when you walk into the boardroom don’t sit 333 levels back, the men have no problem going in there and just sitting at the head of the table. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be at the head of the table as well. Women have instincts that are amazing. Women like to figure things out. They like to take care of people. They like to be human and humane. And they have incredible instincts that really are a trait that people in general women in general need to really tap into their inner compass and their inner gut. And every single time I’ve gone against my gut, I have regretted it. I’ve gone, “Why the hell didn’t I just listen,” whether it was taking on something I shouldn’t have or just working with certain people, I should have trusted my gut and I didn’t.

No matter what sector you are in no matter what if you’re a stay at home mom, or the CEO of a company, you make a difference. I try to be both. It’s challenging on days, I want to be the best mom and I want to be the best CEO of my company. Something has to give time to time, but you put your head down at night and go to sleep and you say, I have done my best. And so open dialogue with those that you work with those uncomfortable conversations that sometimes have to happen is important, but you do it with respect. One thing that makes me very upset is when people call out other people or throw them under the bus like there’s a time and a place of how to respectfully challenge something or have a conversation about something.

Another woman, Michelle Welch, who was my rep at Sony when I was at MTV. She would say, What do you need Raq? What can we do? How do we make this work? It was never a no first. It was always a yes first. And if it was a No, she was still going to try to turn it around. That is Michelle.

At the time when I went to open Drive, she was leaving Sony, she was retiring. And she was like, hey, I can come to work for you. I said but your VP of your department? What are you talking about? She goes great I want to pivot, I want to understand production. Even though I work with talent. I want to understand the other side of it. How do we make it work with content. She just kept at it and she has been by my side since I launched, working. She is my right hand person and freelancer for Drive and a lot of the time I don’t know what I would do without her. She is the nitty gritty, production manager for the talent side of things and keeps it all straight. She’s incredible.

I also have amazing women that I work with on projects. Donna Sposa who comes from the advertising and marketing world and Tanya Copeland who I’ve known for years out in LA. I love working with strong and powerful women.

But no woman should ever be afraid to take chances.

It’s harder for women because we are already set behind 10 steps before we even get to this Starting Line and we have to be each other’s encouragement. And the most difficult thing is being and surrounding yourself with positive people that are encouraged; I’ve had to make changes across the board. If people only want to tear you down, then it’s not the right person. They’re not your people.

That’s why I have the zoom calls because some women friends are stuck in small apartments. I want people to check in with one another and make sure that we’re okay because we put on the smiley faces but really people need to know that it’s okay if they vent. It’s allowing yourself to be vulnerable which is a tough one. It’s a tough balance.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. You sort of talked about this before, but is there a particular person who you are grateful towards you helped you get to where you are?

I have many guardian angels along the way. It starts out with my parents. And even though they’re very different people at times, they never forced me into something I didn’t want to do. The only thing they made sure was I started working when I was 10 as a babysitter and then 13 working at a deli. They always instilled in me the value of the dollar. And working hard and not giving up. Things were never handed to us because both my parents were musicians and teachers. They still made sure that we were always together, even if we had to be roadies for my mom, which I always joke about. We were hauling equipment on weekends when she had her wedding band.

So my parents are number one, my grandparents as well as my grandmother. She’s old school Italian but she never was old school in her thinking and the fact that she was close minded. She just believed in everything I did.

I lost one of my best friends to cancer when I was 19. Mary is always with me. Mary has come through and in readings. I talk about this all the time but she really was just out of the gate behind the eight ball. After leaving a foster home she ended up making it on our own in New York City. After being abused in so many different foster homes and I met her when I was 16 and she was maybe 19. Living on her own she we both love Mr. Mister, I met her at a concert it was just literally Kismet that I was wearing. We just happened to be walking on the beach. I was with my friend and she was by herself. We both were wearing concert t-shirts Mr. Mister. We had never seen them before but we were obsessed. And Mary ended up moving in with us my senior year because she couldn’t make ends meet and it turns out that she was actually sick. Mary was my staunchest supporter and would buy me music of theirs and imports and that’s probably where it all began for my love of vinyl even more. She was my greatest supporter and as hard as it was to lose some people their name is never in vain. They are always just the most incredible spirits because I feel them all the time because they believed in me when I didn’t even know what my future was going to be. That captures Mary’s love of me as a sister. And then my bosses along the way, a boss of mine at TV Land, my bosses at my acquisitions didn’t want to let me go but they knew I needed to pursue music. And, Diane Robina and Dan. Just great people that said, you know what, you’re good at this. You may not be great at like, running graphs or charts things up, but let’s throw Raquel to Talent. And that’s really where it started, where I started working with John Ritter because I work with Werner Klemperer. By the end of it, he was dancing with me at the end of that week. And so when John Ritter was all the upfronts, John Ritter came around I worked hard to make sure Werner Klemperer was happy.

It’s really where my talent booking started. And then another amazing woman, Michelle Roberts. I went in because I just wasn’t happy being a freelancer and didn’t like the jobs I was doing. I just wanted to be back being staff. And I walked in and I said, listen, I’ll be a PA and she said, no, you have way too many qualifications you’ve launched networks, but there is a job we haven’t posted yet, which I think you’d be great for. And that is Talent Manager booking for MTV Radio. Turns out it was the same job I had wanted three years earlier. Michelle Roberts took that chance. And because of Michelle, I’m now on this path of where I was finally meant to be not saying that the other jobs weren’t a great part of my history, because I wouldn’t be here without it. I’m a Talent Booker. I’m a talent producer.

She was instrumental in that and then when I started Drive, my friend Gennifer Birnbach got me one of my first gigs. Again, a lot of women got me one of my first gigs and told the logo folks whose now on her own now you should hire her was Gennifer Birnbach. When I was in another agency I had worked on booking Jennifer Hudson to perform at the Aretha Franklin tribute because of Ava DuVernay. When I was at MTV I booked all of Ava’s artists and all of our clients. So I had a relationship with her for years. So when she found out that I was in LA, she called me to work on a great event. She was one of my first clients to really get it going. I had established myself and gotten incorporated in 2006. This was February 2007. And hired me to book Jennifer Hudson’s Oscar party that year. So again, women taking chances on other women and believing in them and seeing it through. So those are the people and of course I can’t forget my husband Chris, my brother, and my dad. Also my brother who was a big part of my life. He’s my soulmate. Russell has been so supportive of Drive. He’s been so supportive and used to come to every one of my radio forums and volunteers out in the room. In fact, I sure wouldn’t walk the room until my brother was there. My brother Russell has really shown what it is to be a small business owner but make big, big things happen. And to keep at it and be risk averse, and make sure no matter what you just keep going if you truly believe in a product and a person.

And then we went to Thailand for Miss Universe and I had to travel internationally and be almost a full day away from my son. My brother dropped everything, booked his ticket with one of his best friends and was there the whole week and my brother has been in almost every show I’ve done. He will always be the one and he’s part of the ones that come to me and do all the VMAs. I throw him on the red carpet because he knows what I am doing.

I was still not well, I’ve been dealing with a lot of issues like migraines and stuff like that. He’s always standing behind me from a distance and making sure I’m okay. And then every once in a while, are you okay? Everything good?

My brother Russell said to me, when I was really not sure about starting my own company. He said, you can do this. You’ve got me behind you backing you and supporting you in whatever you need. And he’s lived up to that all these years later. And anytime I need anything done, my brother will drop anything he needs to and he runs a big business and he’ll drop everything and be a part of it.

It’s about making sure his sister is okay. At the end of the day he knows how much I love him and he’s very much my twin even though he’s younger than me and people tell me that’s the Bruno twins all the time. So I owe him a tremendous amount. And of course, all my clients and all the folks that have worked with me through the years with Drive. I owe them a lot.

I try to pay it back literally and figuratively. Music is a big part of who I am. I really got to know a lot of the music industry people very early on when I was running my college radio station. First I started out doing overnight news and built my way up. And then I had my an ad show even though it’s like 1991.

That’s how I got to meet a lot of people because we were charting music that we were adding and the ads of the week. And I was always on the phone talking to all my reps.

In fact, one of them is another great friend of mine that I can shout out to Sharon Sperber, Sharon Joffe at the time. She was a big believer of me very early on and just supported me and we’re still to this day, incredibly close friends. In fact, she came to visit me. She had been down in San Diego when I was working on Comic Con with SyFy and she and her husband came up for a quick coffee break. I just love that she’s known me since I’m 18. The radio station is a big part of who I am because I added music and all the vinyl that’s in there. I would mark off the songs and it was music lovers big thing to me.

I found out that the radio station was starting to lose people and funding. And I said that can’t happen because that is the one place where outside of TV and film departments, radio, the station itself is where these young adults learn and make decisions and this is really their hands on experience. I can’t let this go. So I made a donation. I said, I’m not donating to the department. I’m going to donate it to WGLS but it’s for all the students. So I said there’s two caveats. It has to stay a music station because music is a big important part of it, it cannot become talk. Then it needs to go to WGLS. So I donated $25,000. And so that’s how I’m paying it forward. They donated the music library in my name. That was what I wanted, it was awesome.

Right before the pandemic I was going back to mentor kids and I was finally going to get my chance because NYU was one of my first choices, and Rowan. I love Rowan. But NYU was like a dream. But my parents said, well we could either pay for school or you can, which was tough, but it was the right choice for me. And so I was actually going to speak at a friend of mine’ class and I was so excited to go back. I love to go and share stories like this, to try to give kids hope that there is still opportunity even in the worst of times right now that there are opportunities that will be there. You just can’t give up. So I pay it forward whether it’s working on diverse shows or making sure you’re helping the next generation of kids. I worked on College Television Awards which was through the Academy. It was great because we were honoring students. I did that for a couple years. Anything that is a feel good like logo next awards, we honored and supported and the LGBTQ community, which is a very important part of my life.

The programming we do has to resonate somehow and there’s the fun stuff, but there has to be something that keeps me tethered to why life is important and take care of all those that are part of it, as well as animal rights and anything that has to do with it.

Also being a part of the Producers Guild. But, literally making sure that you’re influencing those in the positive way so that people feel connected and have a way to really do what they love to do.

What are five leadership lessons I learned from my experience and why?

Never taking no for an answer? Because people will tell you no, no, no, no to this salary no to this fee, or no, that can’t be done, which drives me crazy because it can be more. So no, it’s not in my vocabulary. If I can find a way to make it happen. I’ll make it happen. That’s number one.

Number two is keeping up with relationships, checking in with people, always making sure you have an open dialogue with friends and people not just because, it’s exploited or exploitative. It’s because everyone has something to contribute and I thrive on also connecting the dots. I had friends of mine that summer looking for some gigs.

Keeping up with relationships, making sure you are firm, and being flexible. So especially with talent, not letting people walk all over you and not just talent, but people in general. So it’s a very delicate balance of how do you stand firm, but also compromise if it’s meant for so both sides can win. So I tell my students all the time, you got to be firm but you gotta be flexible.

In talent booking a lot of times it’s not celebrities I am being asked to find, it’s can you find the animator from 1978 and they’re not on TV?

It’s like a treasure hunt and I actually love that part of it because you do research and you get to talk to people. I like picking up the phone and calling people.

You are a person of great influence, if you can inspire movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would it be you never know what your idea can trigger?

I think we need to get back to humanity. I think we need to get back to the bottom basics of what it is to be a human being. We have to remember that we all bleed the same period, end of story. And until we get back to basics, I don’t have a planet left for my son. That is what keeps me up at night, is that there are people that are greedy at the helm that are making horrific decisions for the rest of us.

We just got brought in with my friend Melissa Chusid. She asked me to help out with City Harvest. Coming together again, as New Yorkers always do, and raising awareness for City Harvest, and having out of the box ideas are probably the ones that are going to help continue to get us back in this economy. I’m thinking every day as a CEO, like a content creator, outside of what I do with SyFy Wire.

Because there are an incredible amount of selfish people right now. I’m hoping that trend is going to end quickly because we need people that are willing to take chances for other people and stick their necks out for other people while also collaborating with them and not throwing other people under the bus. So it’s finding a way to find that connective tissue where everybody wins.

Can you please give us your favorite life lesson quote? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Carpe Diem seize the day.

I remember watching Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society. I was so influenced by that film because it was coming out as I was graduating from high school into college.

That is ingrained in my head because I was so struck by that movie, and it’s just struck by going back in time, Carpe Diem, you have to seize the day because tomorrow is not guaranteed to any of us, especially now.

You only have what’s right in front of you. You only have what’s present in this moment, you have to grasp it with all that you got. You know nothing is above my paygrade or below my pay grade. Let’s get it done. How do we get it done? And how do we make the most of every single day?

Carpe Diem like seizing the day like every day is an adventure. We have to keep positive, we have to keep being optimistic and so Carpe Diem and seizing the day is absolutely one of my favorites.

Some of the biggest names in business VC funding sports and entertainment. Read this column. Is there a person in the world or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with and why he or she might just see this, if we tag them.

There’s so many to bring Ava back to the mix. I’d love to catch up with her since she’s had such an amazing, explosive career and I’m so proud of her.

Someone I’ve always loved with his inspiration and his creativity is Richard Branson.

I cried when Virgin America went away. The safety was everything I love about a brand. The ability to feel like a human and not caged animal. Yes he’s someone I’d love to sit and have a long conversation with.

And Rosalind Russell who was actually my biggest influence, you just feel like she broke down barriers and she was who she was. And she wasn’t a classic beauty but she was funny and did her thing and of course Grace Jones.

I’m gonna say the current prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Bertran. She said we had that horrible shooting and she said, no more semi automatic weapons, innovative women that are not afraid to put their foot down and go, nope. And I gotta be honest Cuomo, making people feel that they are feeling we have leadership. But there’s so many from different sectors.

How can our readers connect with you on social media or what’s the best way to reach out to you?


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