Bozoma St. John has been a high-profile brand architect and marketing whiz for some of the world’s most innovative entertainment and tech companies. Her resume includes executive positions at Pepsi, Uber, Endeavor, Apple, and now Netflix. But as an African-American woman of Ghanaian parentage, St. John’s ascent up the corporate ladder has involved numerous struggles for rewards worthy of her contributions. Many of her early successes were created behind the scenes, including her notably arranging, while at Pepsi, Beyonce’s memorable 2013 Super Bowl half-time show.
In 2016, as Head of Global Marketing for Apple Music, she hit the stage at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. Her presentation became a viral sensation, with Buzzfeed commenting: “Bozoma St. John is the Coolest Person To Ever Go Onstage At An Apple Event.” It elevated St. John’s public profile, and she’s now known in the public consciousness as much for being a style icon as a savvy behind-the-scenes corporate marketer.
On the latest episode of Boardroom’s “Out of Office” podcast, St. John talks to Rich and Gianni about her fallout with Pepsi after the Beyonce half-time show, getting LeBron James and Kevin Durant in the back seat of an Uber for an award-winning campaign, and why Gianni was such a good intern. (Yes, St. John was Gianni’s boss for his first corporate internship.) She also talks about how she rebounded from tremendous grief after the death of her husband, why she relates so well to tech founders, and why she’s so excited about Netflix’s future.