President Obama’s State of the Union address in January lasted an hour, but a few quick seconds of it could fundamentally transform the world and work of David Haussler ’75.
In 25 years, Jeff Berman ’93 has gone from college newspaper publisher to public defender to chief legal counsel for a U.S. senator to Myspace and the NFL. At the start of last year he became president of an independent cross-platform media company.
Berman is president of BermanBraun, an L.A.-based company that provides entertainment and advertising services across three platforms: television, digital and feature films. The company is co-owned by and named for Gail Berman (no relation) — the only female executive ever to have run both a major film studio (Paramount Pictures) and TV network (Fox) — and Lloyd Braun, former head of Yahoo! Media Group and ABC Entertainment Television Group.
Jeff Berman got his law degree from Yale in 1996 and then spent the better part of five years as a public defender in Washington D.C., helping underprivileged minors charged as adults. Next came Capitol Hill, where he served as New York Senator Charles E. Schumer’s chief counsel.
He began his media career in Los Angeles in 2006 when the social media site Myspace hired him, eventually rising to serve as president of sales and marketing. Then in 2010 he joined the NFL as GM of the league’s digital media business.
In his latest job, he says, he wears many hats. One minute he’s working on digital content strategy, the next he’s developing a marketing partnership. At other times he may be drumming up business for the company and overseeing startup projects.
He says the greatest lesson he learned at Connecticut College was that “opportunity is everywhere, but you have to reach out and grab it to take advantage of it.” For instance, during his freshman year he served as managing editor of The College Voice. The next year he was the paper’s publisher.
He was a government major but in classic liberal arts style took several classes with Weller Professor of English and Writer-in-Residence Blanche Boyd. The creative skills he learned in those writing classes translate to the business world, he says.
“There is creativity in parts of business that aren’t often described as creative: structuring deals, working with partners, addressing team member issues,” he says. “An awful lot of creative energy goes into working out issues with no clear solution.”
- By Peter Banos '14
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