BuzzFeed’s First-Ever Chief Content Officer: Melinda Lee

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Melinda Lee’s playbook reads something like this:

1. Break mold

2. Blaze trail

3. Kick ass

Under the heavy pressure from her Taiwanese parents to become successful, Melinda headed straight for law school after she graduated from Rutgers. During this conversation Melinda and Ash shared their common experience of having immigrant parents who were highly focused on success, which in their eyes meant becoming either a doctor or a lawyer. So, as Melinda aimed to fulfill expectations and studied to become an Intellectual Property lawyer (also at Rutgers), she couldn’t help but allow her thoughts to drift towards media.

Although Melinda wouldn’t end up using her law degree in a traditional manner for very long, she doesn’t at all regret getting that level of education and says it helped her in ways she could have never predicted. Her background in IP allowed her to get a foot in the door of an industry that she admits, wasn’t populated by many women of color. Undaunted, Lee made her way through several companies, gathering knowledge and experience while networking with industry leaders. After working for Getty Images she moved on to Hearst Media as the VP of Digital Content and Audience Development before a stint at Meredith Corporation and finally Buzzfeed where she became their first-ever Chief Content Officer!

This conversation between Ash and Melinda was incredibly revealing for creative types to learn about gaining a foothold, captivating an audience and creating content that inspires and connects with an audience. This episode is a must-listen for anybody in a creative field. Melinda Lee is as good of an example as we are likely to find of somebody who followed their passion (against the current) and found great success. It wasn’t as a doctor or lawyer but it should be safe to say that Melinda Lee figured out a way to make her parents proud!

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