Category: GEMA, GEMA Externship

Title:GEMA Externship: Where Are They Now? – Erick Flores (L’09), NBCUniversal

GEMA launched its annual Externship Program in 2003, a unique experience where Georgetown seniors and graduate students spend one week in Los Angeles or New York during spring break meeting with a number of alumni from a variety of fields in entertainment and media. Over 200 students and more than 500 alumni have participated in the program over its first 18 years and many of the externs have gone on to roles across the media landscape. In our series The GEMA Externship: Where Are They Now?, we reconnect with past Externs to find out how their careers have progressed since graduation.

Erick Flores (L ’09), Senior Vice President, Partnerships & Business Development, NBCUniversal

What was your first “big break” into your industry? Or, what is the most significant experience you have had that has made your success possible?

My first “big break” was landing a summer internship at 20th Century Fox, in their publicity department, during my second summer in college and being invited to return for the next two summers. Not only was it a fun gig, as I got to work with a down-to-earth team and plan memorable PR stunts and parties, but it also provided a big brand name for my resume that I could later leverage to establish my credibility in the entertainment industry.

What do you do in your job now? What is your favorite part of your current position?

I’m currently Senior Vice President, Partnerships and Business Development at NBCU and have been in this role for 3.5 years. In this role, I’m responsible for leading business development efforts for NBCU’s Ad Sales division, negotiating our deals and managing our strategic partnerships, including distribution relationships with cable providers like Comcast and Hulu Live, social media platforms like YouTube and Twitter, and device partners like Amazon and Roku; advanced advertising and digital monetization partnerships; and strategic vendor agreements that support our business operations.

What was the externship experience like for you? Did it have an influence on your career/help kickstart your career?

The externship experience was great! It provided exposure across multiple industries and roles – from music to film to publishing to publicity – which allowed me to hone in on what interested me the most about working in the entertainment industry. It shaped the types of roles that I would go on to apply for after law school.

What part(s) of the Externship did you find most valuable?

I loved hearing about the various paths Georgetown alumni took to get where they were. It provided assurance that you don’t necessarily need to follow a linear or traditional path to find a job that you love, which instilled confidence in charting my own course. It was also incredibly valuable to build out my network and have sounding boards for career choices I was considering.

What was your experience like attending Georgetown? Were there any particularly formative experiences that were special to you?

Georgetown, and DC more broadly, were a rich and exciting experience for me. I’ve never felt so surrounded by intelligence and drive, where you regularly met folks working in politics, law, international affairs, non-profit work, and more, all of whom were committed to being the best at their craft. One of my most formative experiences included being able to attend President Obama’s inauguration in 2009 – it was exciting to witness first-hand the historical moment when we elected our first black president, even if that meant waiting for hours in freezing weather to watch it happen live!

What’s your advice for an undergraduate trying to break into your industry? Is there anything you would tell your younger self now?

Be hungry, but also patient! Breaking into the industry requires persistence but won’t necessarily happen immediately, regardless of how hard you work. You need to be nimble in your approach, which may require taking on an initial job that’s not necessarily exactly what you want to do, but which may open the door for the next phase of your career. For example, my first internship in college was for a small boutique product placement company that was run out of the owner’s apartment in Santa Monica, CA. It was far less than glamorous, as it was unpaid, and my job included cold calling luxury brands to try to place them in films and TV shows. However, having that initial experience in the film/TV space then allowed me to land back-to-back summer paid internships at 20th Century Fox. So be a sponge in whatever job you do, as everything can become a transferable skill or experience — and stay optimistic!

Name someone in your career who has been a valuable mentor or role model to you and why?

My former boss, Jeff Hoeh, who is currently General Counsel, Advertising & Marketing at NBCU, has been an invaluable resource and mentor. We became friends during my law clerkship at NBCU, when he was the lead lawyer for NBCU’s late night properties, including Saturday Night Live. At the time, he gave me stretch projects to work on – like reviewing scripts for, and attending live viewings of, SNL for legal review – and then served as a mentor when I left NBCU to work in law firm life. I consulted him along the way as new opportunities emerged, and he eventually recruited me to work on his team at NBCU. Additionally, he was supportive and pushed me to transition outside of my comfort zone in law after 3 years on his team and to pursue my current role on the business side. We still routinely stay in touch, as his team continues to provide me legal advice on all of the deals I lead at NBCU!