BY ANN BROWN
Bozoma “Boz” Saint John has a resume many would envy. And now she?s
added another to-die-for position. She has joined Beats Music as senior
VP and head of global marketing, taking the lead on all initiatives,
from brand and performance marketing to collaborations with AT&T,
Target and Beats Electronics. It will be an exciting time at Beats Music.
As you may recall, Apple just doled out $3 billion for the company
built by rapper Dr. Dre and music exec Jimmy Iovine.
Prior to Beats, Saint John worked at Pepsi. She was the head of the music and entertainment marketing group at Pepsi-Cola North America and she? spearheaded numerous 360-degree integrated branding programs through music, film, TV, print, online, grassroots, events and retail vehicles. While there, she put into place celebrity endorsements with Beyonce, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Eminem, Katy Perry and her idol, Michael Jackson.
She?s also been a vp of marketing for fashion brand Ashley Stewart and traditional advertising agency management at Arnold Worldwide and Spike Lee’s Spike DDB.
Named to Billboard?s Top Women in Music, Top Executives 40 Under 40, Fast Company?s 100 Most Creative People and Ebony Magazine?s 100 Top Executives, Saint John has made a name for herself.
Born in Ghana and raised in Colorado, she graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in English and African-American Studies.
TNJ.com talked to Saint John about her fascinating career:
TNJ.com: What prompted you to make the move to Beats Music?
Bozoma “Boz” Saint John: I’m an adventurer by nature, and the world of streaming music is the new wild, wild west. We’re exploring, innovating and creating a new world by which consumers get their music. ?Beats Music is the best at that offering, so if I’m going to be on that caravan, I want to be in the best damned one.
TNJ.com: What are your immediate goals at Beats?
Bozoma “Boz” Saint John: We all have one collective mission, which is to give consumers a premium service, across the board. ?Beats Music is the first and only service of its kind, delivering the right songs for you, at the right time, from people who know what song comes next. We bring that emotional connection back into your listening experience. My mission is to communicate these key elements that make our premium service so special, so more people can join this revolution.
TNJ.com: What are your longterm goals there?
Bozoma “Boz” Saint John: Total world domination. ?And by that I mean to sculpt a leadership brand in pop culture?not just in streaming music, but in the fabric of daily life. Regardless of the activity, Beats Music is a needed accessory for every moment.
TNJ.com: What are your longterm career goals?
Bozoma “Boz” Saint John: Total world domination. ?And by that, I mean just that. (smiles)
TNJ.com: What attracted you to marketing?
Bozoma “Boz” Saint John: I’m a natural storyteller?It?s in my blood. I believe I’ve always been a ?marketer,? but I didn?t know it was a career until I “fell into it”. ?I love having the ability to tell a story that convinces others to immerse themselves in it, as well.
TNJ.com: How has the Internet changed the way we market things?
Bozoma “Boz” Saint John: The Internet has changed everything about everything. ?It?s made us faster and more nimble as marketers. ?We can reach people with better-targeted messages about what they want to hear, instead of throwing spaghetti on the walls to see what sticks. ?Ultimately, I hope we’re able to engage rather than annoy.
TNJ.com: Do you travel often to Ghana?
Bozoma “Boz” Saint John: Ghana has a magical, restorative effect on me. ?I haven’t been back in six years (mostly due to major life changes…ie my daughter’s birth, etc.). I am desperate to return with my daughter, to show her the land she comes from (we’re matrilineal so I’m taking full credit. Ha!). ?In fact, I just renewed her passport and we’ll be heading there at the end of this year. I’m taking my boss, and Beats Music CEO, Ian Rogers with me, too.
TNJ.com: With Pepsi, did you do any outreach to Africa? Will you plan to with Beats?
Bozoma “Boz” Saint John: At Pepsi, I was responsible for the North American business, so I didn’t interact much with Pepsi’s African marketing. ?However, I do plan on making a mark on the continent with Beats Music. Africa is a huge mobile market, so we must go there. ?Remember, our goal is total world domination!
TNJ.com: What has been your greatest business lesson?
Bozoma “Boz” Saint John: My greatest lesson has been about creating, fostering and maintaining relationships?of all kinds and at all levels. ?A mistake in networking is that some only target those in the C-suite. ?Assistants become coordinators, who become managers, who become directors, who become the ones in-charge. ?Relationships have value at all levels.
TNJ.com: What have been your biggest challenges?
Bozoma “Boz” Saint John: My greatest challenge has been the infamous work/life balance. ?My work is very important to me and my family and friends are also very important to me. ?My challenge has been in trying to be the best in one and fighting guilt in not being my best in the other. ?I have learned over the years that there really isn’t a balance. ?There will always be disproportional attention in any segment. ?It will sometimes be daily, monthly or seasonally. ?But the key to overcoming it, for me, has been in finding counterbalances and to ultimately set long-term/attainable goals, which allow me to be my best in that very moment, and in whatever I’m doing.
TNJ.com: Do you believe in the “lean in” theory for female execs?
Bozoma “Boz” Saint John: I believe in leaning in, showing out, stepping up, going forward, driving results, leaving a mark, and BEING BOLD! ?Whatever it takes to get to the place where the individual ultimately feels successful. Similar to my thoughts on work/life balance, the top is not everyone’s ideal of utopia, so the result should not be the barometer of whether or not a woman is a successful executive. ?It’s really about where SHE (Facebook?s Sheryl Sandberg) sets the benchmark. ?And that’s it. ?No judgment here.