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Business and Tech Education

How Lee Brown Became the Chief Revenue Officer of Buzzfeed

Photo: Courtesy of Buzzfeed

The Chief Revenue Officer of Buzzfeed, Lee Brown, wasn’t always going to have a career in media. “I majored in Electrical Engineering at Vanderbilt with the thinking that I’d go into the family’s electrical distribution business,” Brown explained. After working there for two years following graduation, the family eventually sold the business, leaving Brown to find a new direction for his career. Brown and his girlfriend left Kentucky for San Francisco — unemployed. “I interviewed for every job everywhere, from finance to internet companies,” said Brown. Eventually, he landed a position with Yahoo, which eventually lead to his position at Buzzfeed.

The skills to get there

When considering the skills that helped him move forward, Brown first credits networking. “Building trusted relationships has served me well throughout my career. Investing in people and culture have also been top priorities for me.” Along with the social aspects, Brown also emphasizes flexibility. “Mobility helped to advance my career significantly. Being willing to move for new opportunities enabled me to broaden my experience quickly,” he said. Over the course of ten years, Brown lived and worked in four cities, “all of which provided me with unique learning experiences on culture, talent and markets that I use in my current role today. Taking risks and going places where proven ad-models did not exist is also key.”

By merging creativity and business, Brown has focused on problem solving and learning from coworkers. “Empowering [my team] to solve complex challenges with me has always served me well.”

Up next

While the digital world is constantly evolving, Brown finds fascination in the chaos.  “How content is being created, distributed and consumed is changing so fast that it is truly exciting to see what is coming next.” 

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