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  • Writer's pictureAhyiana Angel

Creating Diversity in Entertainment Industry with Veronica Salcedo

In this Cracking Corporate conversation we chat with Veronica Salcedo, the Senior Director of Integrated Marketing within NBCUniversal's Entertainment & Lifestyle Group, where she leads a team of marketers ideating and executing brand campaigns across NBCU’s cable portfolio. We touch on the lack of diversity behind the scenes and how that has impacted her career, finding her voice in her career, how to gain the trust of senior leadership and so much more!

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*Please note, the below transcript has been uploaded without the eye of a human editor so please expect some typos!

[00:00:00] This is a Mayzie Media production.

[00:00:02] During the Switch Pivot or Quit chats we talked to women who have successfully navigated through some of the plot twist years of life and are eager to share their stories and what they've learned in the hopes of inspiring, teaching or making even the slightest impact by candidly owning their truth. Hey girl, hey and thanks for dropping into the Switch Pivot or Quit podcast, candid convo for the girl needing a lifestyle plot twist when she's deciding if it's time to Switch, Pivot or Quit. I'm a Ahyiana Angel a former sports entertainment publicist in New York city, turned traditionally published author with Simon and Schuster. Who quit my old life to write a book, live in London for a bit and explore my dreams to find my happiness and fulfillment. I'm here to help encourage and guide you through your plot twist years as your chief encourager and host of this podcast, Switch, Pivot, or Quit.

[00:01:01] Our community is continuously growing. So welcome to all the new listeners, and thank you all for those who are returning. If you love what you hear on the switch, pivotal quit podcast, and wanna show your love, head over to iTunes and leave us a review. A review just helps more people know about the podcast and it helps to continue to amplify our voices as women in the space.

[00:01:27] Now, if you just can't get enough. Come hang out with us on Instagram by following me at Ahyiana.Angel. And that's A H Y I A N A dot A N G E L, or drop by our website,

[00:01:44] And today we're chatting with Veronica Salcedo. She is a Senior Director for NBC Universal's entertainment and lifestyle group. Veronica leads integrated marketing for NBC Universal's suite of pop culture, reality programs across cable, including the Real Housewives franchise, Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Chrisley Knows Best.

[00:02:06] Veronica has led campaigns anchored on E!'s Live From The Red Carpet at the Grammy's and Academy Awards, as well as Sci-Fi's live from San Diego ComicCon. She's been in the industry for more than a decade, working within the content in integrated marketing fields, as well as within communications and public relations.

[00:02:27] She's also been recognized by industry organizations, including PR Week as a champion of PR and marketing. Let's dive into this conversation with Veronica. Oh, but wait, before we do just a little disclaimer, please remember that many of the cracking corporate conversations you will hear were recorded in 2019, they were previously recorded in anticipation of a cracking corporate podcast that never came to life because guess what COVID happened?

[00:02:57] And I just felt like it was a little insensitive to release episodes regarding corporate climbing when so many people were finding themselves unemployed. So some of these conversations may not reflect exactly what the person is responsible for in their role right now. But overall, I felt it was really important to get these conversations out because the gist of them is about how to grow in your career and that never gets old.

[00:03:27] Alrighty, Veronica welcome to the show. Very excited for this conversation. How are you? I'm doing great. Ahyiana. How are you? I'm doing well. Thank you. Thank you. So to get us started, let's talk a little bit about your background and tell us how you got into your field and what you're presently doing?

[00:03:48] Sure. Thank you so much. So I'm originally from California. I went to school up there. I went to USC for public relations. And when I graduated, I worked for a really small multicultural agency out in downtown LA. Before I made the big move out here to New York. And when I made the move out here, I actually landed a very, very large public relations agency as well.

[00:04:09] Worked there for a couple years, did a lot of multicultural PR for Unilever, Pepsi, Microsoft, the like and after a couple years I started getting a little bit antsy on the corporate agency side so I made the big jump to join media companies originally working for a pretty large Spanish language network called Univision, and five years ago made the jump over to NBC Universal. And I was actually asked to work initially on a channel called E! We did campaigns with fashion week, the Oscars, the Grammys, and, and about three years ago, I made the move over to the cable side of the business. And now I'm working on USA, Sci-fi and CNBC, and my main role really in the integrated marketing team is to help the brands that we all know and love, bring them into the culture conversation that NBC as a media company is having and helping tell their brand story through the lens of, of our networks. So it's a lot of fun. I basically get to like watch TV and be creative for a living.

[00:05:03] But you know what I also get to do because of the position that I'm in. I'm also able and very lucky to help other women of color, particularly Latinas who, you know, are interested in the same field that I'm in. So really trying to break barriers in the marketing and advertising industry. So obviously representation in front of the camera is important, but that's not gonna start until we have that representation behind the camera as well. So, absolutely. That's really what I'm working on at the moment.

[00:05:29] I love it. Yes. So in terms of representation, we've we've touched on this topic a bit on this podcast, and I know that being a woman of color, sometimes coming into corporate spaces, you don't see a lot of you, a lot of people that you can automatically connect with and gravitate to. How has that played a role in your career, if at all?

[00:05:55] It's honestly been one of the driving and determining factors in my career that I've really used to propel and used it as a catalyst. Mm. In me really pursuing more opportunities. I, I started my career actually in the multicultural side of the business.

[00:06:12] So at the beginning it was, you know, I did see a ton of people that did look like me, the same culture backgrounds as me, but as I started progressing in my career and the higher end rank that I got, those started diminishing and when, especially when I moved over to New York and I started getting more involved in the entertainment marketing side of the business and entertainment advertising side of the business, it was slim to none.

[00:06:32] And there's a really big hole in gaping hole that we really need to address because. We have a ton of great talent at the entry level you know, coming into the workforce outta college, right. Who are so eager to learn about this, but aren't really sure that this is the, the industry that they wanna come in.

[00:06:49] And so again, because of the position that I'm in and, and, and my particular interest I've been. Very vocal, not only in my company, but in the industry at large, to make sure that we are paving the ways and just it's about access and information. Mm-hmm a lot of people just are unaware of the businesses that are available to them.

[00:07:06] Mm-hmm so, you know, I, I, I'm not only working on that. You know, in, in my day to day job, whether it's making sure that our advertising and marketing campaigns are breath full of, of diverse individuals, not just in race and religion, but things you can't see, right. The diversity of the human experience.

[00:07:22] Is it perspective, is it a veteran? Is it disability? Is it, you know, you come from a different world of view that is diversity as well. So my job is really just to make sure that we are representing those individuals and the campaigns that I'm executing for my brands. how, or when did you find your voice in your career?

[00:07:40] Oh my gosh. I think my inflection point was, honestly, maybe about five years ago. Mm-hmm I had an experience with a supervisor at the time that you know, he, in so many words told me I was too much and you know, I would come to work with my red lipstick, my hoops, my really loud dresses and skirts.

[00:08:00] And he told me that he literally said that I you're just too much, Veronica. You need to tone it down a little bit. And I gotta be honest with you, Ahyiana, I, I did. And I started wearing more muted clothes. I started not doing my makeup a certain way. And there was a point in time where I felt really dirty. I felt like, oh my God, this isn't me.

[00:08:20] This is not who I grew up to be. My mom would not be proud of this woman. And I, it was, it was a real reckoning for me because. I took the advice of someone who I respected and thought that that would get me further in my career. And I kind of flipped it on its head because here's the thing that it took me a long time to realize.

[00:08:39] I was at a, I, I was at a conference a couple of years ago and I came across a piece of advice. It was essentially, you have to play the game, then you have to win the game and then you have to change the game. You gotta play ball mm-hmm right. You gotta play by the rules. You have to come, you have to suit up and you.

[00:08:53] Do it, like they want it master that and then you're able to really change it. Right. So what I started to do was, you know, what, I, I will be that way, but I'll be the best that I can be and then I'll be able to change and flip this script on its head. Mm-hmm . So after a couple, as I mentioned, you know, a couple of, of weeks, months of reckoning, I was like, this is not okay.

[00:09:14] So I, I started to reintroduce those bold colors and those bold characteristics that make that make me, me mm-hmm , you know, I think getting a seat at the table is important, but what you say when you get there, I think arguably is more important because people are gonna help you. Get there mm-hmm right.

[00:09:33] But once you're there, it, it's up to you to make sure that you are suiting up and delivering the right information. So yeah, it happened about five years ago, but I'm so happy that it did because it really made me look at myself as an individual and made me remember what I stood for and what my values were.

[00:09:51] And I haven't lost it then. Mm. I love that. You know, this just makes me think of when you're in these moments where it's a little. Challenging for you. And you're trying to decide which way do I go? Do you reach out to anybody? Did you speak with anybody? Did you have any mentors or just people maybe that were your colleagues or just colleagues in the business world where you're like, Hey, have you experienced something like this?

[00:10:18] I guess what I'm really getting at is what are our options when we are in those difficult situations at work where you have to make a decision, but you don't really know what the right decision is because maybe you've never encountered this before. Right. And the one thing I would say, Ahyiana is that there might not be one right decision.

[00:10:41] Mm. And I think every person has to struggle with that. The right decision for me might not be the right decision for you. Right. But I think you need to you know, it's funny, I, I, you need to surround yourself with your own board of directors. Right. Like you have mentors in your life, but you need people who will call you out on your, on, on your BS.

[00:11:00] You, you need people in life who are gonna, when you're down, help bring you up. You need people in life who, when your ego is high are gonna help bring you back to reality. you know what I mean? You can't just surround yourself with with yes, men, you need to be able to surround yourself with people who, who are invested in your growth, but sometimes that also means tough conversations. And sometimes it means conversations that you don't wanna hear. So you will be faced with these difficult encounters and scenarios in your life. And, and again, you gotta tap into your board of directors and, and take a pulse of what the industry is saying what, because they know you outside of your perspective.

[00:11:39] So I think your board of directors will definitely give you really valuable insight that others potentially might. and, and, and then really the onus is, is on you because you're the one who's gonna have to sleep with that decision. But again, I don't think there is always going to be one right path mm-hmm you know, our journeys are jagged our journeys.

[00:11:57] There's tons of U-turns pivots detours and that's okay. Because at the end of the day, if we would've never taken those, they would never have led us to where we end up. How did you land your first big promotion into management, cuz as we're talking about growing, and as you said, as you continued to excel in your career, you started to see maybe less representation.

[00:12:17] What was that like your first big promotion into management and how did that sort of like come about for you or, and was it a strategic move for you? My, my big promotion into management was something that I, I, I made them move over to a division where I don't particularly had a passion for. Mm. And I did that because I wanted to be uncomfortable.

[00:12:38] And I knew the only way that I was going to grow into the manager I wanted to be, was to do something that I potentially didn't have an easy knack for. You know, originally in my career, it was very, very pop culture driven. It was very red carpet driven and that's very much my, my style and, and kind of what I love and, and, and see, and that, that industry sparks joy for me.

[00:13:00] And when I made the move into management, I went to a division that needed the help to grow and needed someone who potentially had a little bit more pizzaz than they were used to and a little bit more bold and, and, and sassiness mm-hmm to help kinda revive it. And I. When you take these big promotions, they always come with a little bit of uncertainty and uncertainty, not in yourself, but in, in, in, in the future.

[00:13:28] And I think that's, that's key. You have to be able to take these stretch assignments and really use them to your advantage. Like, I mean, All star of the line. You just continually get promoted in the best job that you love. But typically that's