Lauren A. Corrao '83, P'16
This interview is dated 03/18/2014.
Women's Leadership Council member Lauren Corrao serves as Chief Creative Officer for Vuguru, a digital studio located in Los Angeles, CA. Presviously Corrao was president of original programming at Comedy Central. As a leader, mentor, and phinalthrpoist for Brown, Lauren tells us how Brown has impacted her life.
Can you describe your current position and what led you to your job?
I am currently the Chief Creative Officer at Vuguru, a television and digital content company owned by Michael Eisner. When I left Comedy Central a few years ago, I knew that I wanted the transition to bring me closer to content creation, production, and ownership than I was afforded as president of original programming at a cable network. The entertainment industry was going through a massive transformation at the time with the emergence of new digital platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, and I focused my efforts towards an opportunity that would embrace the new media horizons as well as the more established cable and broadcast networks.
What was your most rewarding moment at Brown?
I cannot possibly pin it down to just one moment, but I will say this: Having grown up in Providence, surrounded by people of similar cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, I was amazed and thrilled to be a part of Brown's vastly diverse community of students and professors. By exposing me to such profoundly different points of view, Brown allowed me to put myself in others' shoes, question my own beliefs, and open my mind.
What is the best career advice you have received?
The best advice actually began when I was a student at Brown and followed me throughout my career. "Question the status quo, never be afraid to take a chance, and zig while others zag."
How have you received mentorship in life and where did you receive this guidance?
My mentorship began as a child witnessing the incredible charisma, integrity, and spiritual strength my mother embodied. She was the first to tell me, "You can do whatever you put your mind to." And she made me believe it. At Brown, I think most of my guidance came directly from my peers and indirectly from the women who led the feminist movement of the 60's and 70's. They were the pioneers that allowed women of my generation to believe that career and family were not mutually exclusive. Professionally, there have been many people whose careers I've admired, but the most specific guidance in the form of mentorship came from Judy McGrath (Former Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks) and Doug Herzog (President of MTV Networks) whom I met early on in my career and who instilled in me the value of embracing creative risks.
"From the moment I was accepted to the class of 1983 and stepped onto the campus, I have been incredibly passionate about Brown. My four years as an undergrad defined who I am today, created my community of friends, and instilled in me a thirst for knowledge."
What networking advice would you recommend to students who are entering the work force?
As a mentor at Brown, I am always telling my mentees to utilize Brown's amazingly talented and successful network of alumni. There's something magical about the Brown community; we all share experience that transcends the point in time when you were actually on campus. Use this to your advantage. It's a commonality that opens doors and the possibilities are endless. Today's generation of students understands this concept more than ever. It's like surfing the Web. Open one link and it leads to another.
You are an active volunteer for Brown. Can you tell us how you are presently involved and why?
From the moment I was accepted to the class of 1983 and stepped onto the campus, I have been incredibly passionate about Brown. My four years as an undergrad defined who I am today, created my community of friends, and instilled in me a thirst for knowledge. Volunteering at Brown, whether it's through philanthropy, being a member of the Women's Leadership Council, mentoring, or interviewing incoming students reminds me that I am an active part of this incredible community and it simply makes me feel good.
As a Brown alumna and parent, how is your Brown experience different from your daughters?
I was a Providence local and my daughter, Madison, was raised in California. Aside from the weather shock to her system, our underlying experiences are very similar, and with advances in technology, I can actually listen to her DJ'ing at WBRU through a "Listen Live" app.
What Brown memory brings a smile to your face?
In the spring of my junior year, I auditioned to be in Hair, a Brown student-run production that was going to be in Cambridge, MA over the summer. I had never done anything like it before and was thrilled to be a part of something with so many talented performers. I was cast to be in the chorus (which I learned later would involve singing and dancing naked on stage). At the same time, I learned that I landed a summer internship with the local NBC affiliate in Providence. I decided to go with the internship which clearly put me on the path towards a career in television. I often find myself smiling at the thought of what would have happened had I taken "the road less traveled."