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Maria Menounos, TV Host and Businesswoman, on Finding Success in Media and Tech

Photo: Courtesy of Stephen Lemieux

In her long career as TV personality, reporter, and now CEO of AfterBuzz TV, Maria Menounos knows what it takes for women to make it in the media field.

Given your incredible career in media entertainment, what advice would you provide to a young entrepreneur working in the technology field? 

I’m less about building starlets, more about “star entrepreneurs.” For aspiring TV hosts, I advise focusing more on the entrepreneur portion. For those in tech, I advise focusing more on the star end. Get your name out there along with your achievements and talents. Many who don’t are overlooked, whereas others with bravado and less talent go further.    

You have had such a successful career, including creating AfterBuzz TV. What challenges did you have to overcome getting to this point in your career?

Besides the constant changes in tech and social media, it was the hours. Most entrepreneurs need a day job to sustain themselves and fund their dream business. I was no different. You need to continue to be outstanding at your day job while using all nights and weekends to build your own business. 

Do you have someone that you look up to as a mentor within the media or technology field?

Referring back to “star entrepreneurs” instead of “stars,” I have always looked up to Howard Stern, Oprah Winfrey, and Arianna Huffington for building diverse brands that provided them great autonomy. Adam Carolla, Sofia Amoruso, and Bill Simmons are just a few I admire who have given us great models of talent using tech to control their destinies. 

Women account for only 30 percent of roles within the tech field. Why do you think it is important to have gender diversity within the technology field, and how can we change the current statistics?

It’s important for many reasons, if not just to get fresh new ideas and perspectives on challenges. Not to mention that women tend to be more detail-oriented – a crucial component to tech. The change comes with publications like this one, and us teaching younger women how cool tech is and all the great rewards that come along with it. 

Many women are starting their own productions in the media field, such as podcasts. What advice would you give a young woman who is entering this space?

I have 400 hosts at AfterBuzz TV. 99 percent of people pitch me generic entertainment news or shows about hot topics. It’s too wide a net to cast in this podcast glut. I advise to target a niche subject, even a niche within a niche. AfterBuzz works not because we discuss television. It works because each of our 150+ weekly podcast videos targets a different television series. Each show serves a specific fan base from a series, and that’s why it works. 

Where do you see women fitting into the world of media in the next 10 years?

I see them everywhere. At AfterBuzz, over 70 percent of my 400 hosts are women and minorities. It’s our way of facilitating this. Though it’s less about women taking over and more about all of us working together. At AfterBuzz, we have a 50-50 mission to produce outstanding content and nurture our talent. In 10 years of doing so, we learned we make outstanding content because we care for our talent. My advice to employers is to follow suit.

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