The most fulfilling part of my work at Sesame Workshop Is…

Seeing the impact our work has on children around the world. Whether it’s helping children of military families cope with the challenges of deployment, children of incarcerated parents feel supported or autistic children feel they can be accepted and understood, our Muppets have a reach that is remarkable in its breadth. The responses from parents about our See Amazing in All Children autism initiative have been so heartwarming, and to hear from fathers in Afghanistan say that they have changed their minds about sending their daughters to school after watching our local Afghan production Baghch-e-Simsim makes it all worthwhile.

Sesame Workshop measures our impact by…

Constant research and evaluation. This includes both formative research to inform our work as well as summative research to measure our results and impact. Sesame Street is the most researched show in the history of television, and we believe that is one reason we are so successful. We are constantly evaluating and evolving how we reach children and families. These studies are not just about academic learning gains, but also about behavioral change, such as healthy eating, hygiene, and girls’ empowerment.

Lessons children can teach us about entrepreneurship…

Children are naturally inclined to learn, grow, and improve – which are the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. I believe all children are born with a creative spark. Children also see the world through fresh eyes and believe in the power of possibility – a wonderful trait for entrepreneurs!

Sesame Workshop has shifted strategies over the past few years by…

Today Sesame Street goes far beyond television to make sure we reach children wherever they are, from radio to tablets to mobile phones. Sesame Street was the original disrupter in children’s television. We have a 45-year history of being a creative workshop dedicated to breaking new ground. Today, there’s a strong spirit of innovation at the Workshop, and we want to be part of the next big thing for kids, partnering with a wide range of organizations.

Philanthropy and marketing go hand-in-hand because…

Philanthropy and marketing are both about inspiring and activating people with passion, purpose, and authenticity. Whether its consumers or donors, we all want to feel like we are part of something larger and something meaningful. Sharing the inspirational stories of the children whose lives we’re touching is the most effective way to build support for our impact-driven work. In fact, philanthropy and marketing may never have been closer. Whether it’s the RED campaign, or the pink ribbon, more and more consumers are motivated by socially responsible programs and products. There’s a real opportunity for brands to do good by doing well.

The next big trend in marketing will be…

More than just selling to consumers – one needs them to embrace the brand. We also need to demonstrate to consumers how our company does well, as consumers are seeking out brands and organizations where they believe in what those organizations stand for.

Best advice for managing people…

Be optimistic. Whether in times of growth or challenge, employees want to follow an optimistic leader.

The hardest lesson I ever learned in business was…

To keep my eye on the longer term, even when it means a less popular decision in the short term.

My advice for creating a network of supporT…

I believe it’s critical to make time for family and friends, and to mentor young talent.

Tools I use to motivate my team to achieve and surpass our goals…

Never underestimate the power of passion, enthusiasm and encouragement. I remind my team to focus on the big picture and the difference we can make in children’s lives.

I set and track personal goals By…

Taking time to reflect every so often (but not often enough!) on what the most important things I need to focus on are, whether it’s for my own personal growth or professional success. And at work, since there never seems to be enough time to handle all that’s incoming – be it emails, meetings or new problems – I’m often involved in triage. But I try to remind myself what the top three things are in terms of our overall success – and focus on those above all. And then it’s all about my endless lists – both to monitor progress and follow up when necessary. If I don’t write it down, it doesn’t get done. And oh, how I love crossing things off that list!

What I hope to accomplish next…

Our mission is to help children everywhere grow smarter, stronger and kinder. I hope to become a more effective advocate and champion for the Workshop and to build greater awareness for our mission-driven work around the globe. Few understand the depth and breadth of our work here and in places like India, Nigeria and Afghanistan – just to name a few.