BA, Economics, Michigan; MBA, Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
"After I graduated from college, I went into a pretty standard consulting job with Deloitte & Touche in Chicago, and then left after a year to work as a staffer in Washington for my congressman. I was more interested in doing something in politics. Public policy was actually great preparation for Hollywood because it's all about selling your ideas to strangers who aren't really that interested in listening to you.
"I applied to business school after a couple of years thinking I would return to Capitol Hill as a policy wonk, but then got lured back into management consulting shortly thereafter. I ended up working with a firm with a substantial practice out on the West Coast. We were also one of the first consulting firms to actually have a full-fledged media practice. I found myself on a few projects over time that I found really intriguing. I had the opportunity barely one year out of business school to run a small video game company that I nearly took, but it didn't seem to be the right decision at the time. After another year, I worked on a project with a major entertainment conglomerate and became pretty close to some of the senior executives there. Within a year, they made allusions to needing people. They never made any explicit offers or guarantees of hiring me, but I knew I was at least as competent and looked stronger on paper than many of their recent hires. I didn't want to offend my current bosses, so I quit, and then took some time off so as to not to violate my non-compete agreement, and then came on board to the entertainment company six months later.
I've been here six years. I started as a manager working on the Theme Parks & Resorts division. We had a successful international launch, so I was able to get promoted to director within 18 months. At that point, I got involved with the company's Internet strategy, which was just taking off. We completed an acquisition that the CEO was really keen on, so I then was promoted to vice president. There's a fair amount of turnover in the group, so when the Senior VP left to be the CEO of a media company in Northern California, I was promoted to that position.