LAUREN ZALAZNICK

Executive vice president, NBCUniversal

EDUCATION

Great Neck North High School, Class of 1980

Brown University, Class of 1984

WORK EXPERIENCE

1970-71 Library assistant

“My first boss was my best boss — Adele Feldman, my second-grade librarian. I’d put all the book cards into alphabetical order and reshelve them. Adele was encouraging but very honest. I didn’t learn the word for it until 40 years later: feedback.”

1980 Sales assistant, Echo-Too

“I graduated high school a semester early to work for my father in the garment industry. The ILGW [International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union] and the Mafia were incredibly powerful. I learned a lot about managing unions.”

1984-85 Assistant to the director, Compromising Positions

“After graduation, I wrote one letter on my Olivetti self-correcting typewriter. It said, ‘I know you through my next-door neighbor’s friend, and I’d like a job.’ Two weeks later I got a call from Frank Perry, the film director, and I got my first job as his assistant on Compromising Positions with Susan Sarandon and Raúl Juliá.”

1986-94 Producer, Boomer Pictures

“My parents’ mantra was ‘Don’t work for anyone else.’ So my husband and I ran our own production company. We produced so many independent films we were going broke.”

Produced Poison, Swoon, Safe, and Kids

1994-2001 VP for television marketing and promotion, VP of programming, VH1

“I had been a freelancer for 10 years. I was so stunned the first time I went on vacation and got a paycheck that I checked to see if there’d been an error.”

Developed Ben Stiller’s Derek Zoolander from a VH1 Fashion Awards character into a feature film

2002-04 President, Trio pop culture channel, Vivendi Universal

Produced Brilliant But Canceled, a series showcasing failed pilots

2004-07 President, Bravo TV and Bravo Media

Launched Project Runway, Top Chef, and Real Housewives

“Bravo had Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Everyone said it had legs, but I knew it was a format show reaching the end of its life. We needed a lot of new stuff immediately.”

2007-10 President, Women & Lifestyle Entertainment Networks

2010-13 Chairman, Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media

Oversaw Bravo, Oxygen, Telemundo, and all digital properties

2013 Executive VP, NBCUniversal

LIFE LESSONS

1. At a certain point in your career, don’t pick your next job, pick your next boss. 2. Don’t aim for perfection, aim for success. 3. Don’t use your kids or spouse/partner as a focus group.

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