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Women to Watch: Bozoma Saint John

Our Women to Watch series has detailed the lives of many successful women who have paved the way for others in corporate America. As a woman in business, I know that to make this mark requires dedication and tenacity. This month, we’re focusing on Bozoma Saint John who encompasses that incredible spirit in the world of business.
Bozoma “Boz” Saint John is a badass Black woman and a fearless leader in the corporate space. She’s not afraid to stand up for what she believes in while staying true to herself and she empowers other women to do the same.

Bozoma “Boz” Saint John’s Beginnings

From a young age, Saint John looked up to her father as an inspiration and she wanted to follow in his footsteps. She started off by attending Wesleyan University, where her father attended many years before for a PhD, to earn her bachelor’s degree in English and African-American Studies. After graduation, she jumped into the world of advertising and marketing with jobs at various companies and eventually became Senior Marketing Manager for PepsiCo in 2005. At Pepsi she began to make herself known in the marketing world and gain recognition. She went on to land positions at Apple, Uber, and Netflix.

Saying “Bye” to Netflix

While holding the position of Chief Marketing Officer at Netflix might sound like the ultimate career for some, Saint John recognized that she needed to make a change in her life. She held this position for less than two years before she realized that there were other goals she wanted to achieve besides working for a Fortune 500 company.
“If you’re doing something you love, fantastic, keep doing that … [but] there are other things that I want to accomplish,” Saint John said. “You’ve got to know when the time is up and to keep it moving.”
In the business world where many people glorify “hustle culture,” Saint John’s decision to part ways with Netflix and a notable C-suite title speaks to the necessity of work-life balance. Even though she had accomplished so much in her career, there was still something missing in her life. American workers are making a similar shift away from the hustle culture and towards a break culture. Many companies are encouraging employees to take breaks from work for mental health and well-being. It can be easy to get caught up in the push to spend all your time and energy at work and neglect your personal goals. Saint John is a testament to always putting yourself before your career.

Saint John’s Personal Ventures

After Saint John’s departure from Netflix, her personal ventures had just started. One of her top aspirations was to become an author. In her upcoming book “The Urgent Life: My Story Of Love, Loss And Survival,” Saint John discusses her career but also her marriage, her husband’s cancer diagnosis, and his eventual passing. In addition to her autobiography, she created “The Badass Workshop” that teaches women how to become successful leaders. It’s safe to say that Saint John probably isn’t missing her days at Netflix – and she’s certainly not slowing down any time soon.

More Women to Watch

Along with Bozoma Saint John, there are many other incredible women leaders that are making waves. We are excited to see what Saint John accomplishes in the future. If you haven’t caught up on our previous women to watch spotlights, be sure to check out Cynthia Marshall and Sara Ziff.
We can’t forget our very own woman to watch — Hope Smith – check out what she’s up to whether she’s busy being a mom or creating new products for her luxury skincare brand, MUTHA™.