Q&A

What is a typical day like for you as CEO of Roc Nation?

My day is a mix of planned and unplanned meetings and strategy sessions with artists, athletes managers and other executives, as well as putting out fires and dealing with whatever comes across my desk. What remains a constant is that I begin work at 5am and my day usually ends around 11pm.

What is the best career advice you have ever received?

The best advice I ever received was this: "Work harder than the next person, stay true to yourself and don't ever compromise your values and before you know it, you'll be running it all."

What or who inspires you?

I'm inspired by so many people, but I'm mostly inspired by excellence. If a successful and accomplished man like JAY-Z can wake up when I do, work as hard as I do, mind every detail and want to make a difference - that is my benchmark. I'm also inspired by all of the strong women at Roc that have worked alongside me to earn a seat at the table.

Why is a collaboration like the Roc Nation School so important?

Education is the solution to all of our nation's problems, and our goal since day one has been to provide a pathway for young people to unlock their potential and expand their knowledge; to help them on the journey to young adults, which can be such a minefield to navigate. We've always considered it both an honor and a duty at Roc to pass our knowledge to the younger generation, as they are the leaders of the future, and we are counting on them. So the school is just a formal way of letting everyone know what's possible and what Roc is doing to advance the cause.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I try to lead by example. I'm not above any task and I don't ask a Roc employee to do something I wouldn't or haven't done myself. Anyone who has seen me work can attest to that. It starts with commitment and discipline: most people who've been with me for awhile know my response to a question before they ask it. That steadiness, to me, is the essence of leadership.

What advice would you give to aspiring entertainment executives?

Listen far more than you talk. Understanding the whys of a decision is paramount to growth as a person and a leader, so don't be afraid to ask questions of the people making them. Learn the business and understand your industry—it will only help you as your career advances. Be patient and your turn will come. And keep your focus on the person you are talking to, at that moment. Put your phone away.


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