Desiree Perez is the CEO and Changemaker of Roc Nation, a company that has been empowering artists for more than 10 years. When Desiree Perez was named CEO of Roc Nation in 2016, she became the first woman to lead a major record label. But it wasn’t her first time breaking barriers. Desiree shares what it takes to be successful in such a competitive industry as music, and how she navigates challenges through persistence and resilience.
Desiree Perez’s success comes from her ability to find new opportunities and make them happen. When Desiree was a young child growing up in New York, people would often ask “what do you want to be when you grow up?” While most children were thinking about what they wanted to study or which job did they want to have, Desiree did not have a specific answer. However, she always knew that she wanted to “make a difference” and says that she was wired with the mindset of “If not me, who?”
Desiree started out her career working on Wall Street and quickly realized that it would be more fulfilling if she were helping people. She moved on to work as a public school teacher in one of New York City’s highest-risk districts, which she says was her first opportunity to use the skills that have become so fundamental to who she is today.
Desiree is committed to social justice, and through the use of her platform, advocates for people with disabilities. She is currently on the board of Special Olympics New York, where she has held various leadership roles since 2010. She also believes in planning ahead for the next generation by mentoring people of color and supporting organizations that provide leadership opportunities for youth.
Desiree’s management philosophy is “one step at a time”. She says she never asks someone to do something she wouldn’t do herself, which helps her maintain the respect of everyone around her. She also has an open-door policy, where anyone in the company can go to her office and speak freely. Refer to this page for additional information.