There is no doubt that Chapman alumni are doing extraordinary things post-graduation, and Annie Ackerman ’14 is no exception to that. After receiving her B.A. in television broadcast journalism with a minor in public relations, Annie landed a job as the executive assistant to the president of Lifestyle Network, NBCU Cable Entertainment in New York City, where each day is a new adventure waiting to unfold. Check out Annie’s story to hear more about how Dodge College of Film and Media Arts was the catalyst for her exciting life in the Big Apple, and to learn her tips for success!




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Annie with Professor Pete Weitzner


Chapman University: Tell me about your Chapman story.


Annie Ackerman: I was a spring admit to the University. I started at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts Spring 2011. Because I was a spring admit, I wanted to get involved at Chapman as quickly as I possibly could. Pete Weitnzer, director of the broadcast journalism program, allowed me to attend
Chapman News
, our student-run newscast every Friday before I had officially started as a full-time student. I am so grateful for that opportunity, as it allowed me to quickly get acclimated and I never felt behind. I worked in the Office of Admission during my time at Chapman, interviewing prospective students and assisting parents with the college admission process. I truly believe everything works out the way it is supposed to. I would change nothing about my Chapman experience!

CU: What are three words you would use to describe your Chapman experience?


AA: Rewarding, fun, too short!

CU: How were you involved on campus during your time as a Chapman student?


AA: I was an anchor, reporter and producer for
Chapman News
. I also worked in the Office of Admissions and was a board member of a political club.

CU: How did your experiences at Chapman prepare you for the role you are currently in?


AA: I attribute major milestones and positive experiences as a young professional to my Chapman education! And honestly, I’d be nowhere without my family’s support.

CU: What are you doing now?


AA: I am an executive assistant to the president of Lifestyle Network, NBCU Cable Entertainment. My boss oversees five networks: Bravo, E!, Oxygen, Esquire and Sprout. I think people imagine my job is like being an assistant to Miranda Priestly, Meryl Streep’s character in 
The Devil Wears Prada,
 but it’s really 
nothing
 like that. In addition to ensuring everything in her world runs smoothly (her bi-coastal travel commitments, busy calendar, meeting organization and expenses), I get to assist on marketing campaigns, dabble in programming and development, assist with pitches, travel to L.A. with her and so much more. I love the accessibility I have to every department; it’s a huge learning opportunity and gives me a lot of exposure. Before assisting my boss, I spent one year in the NBCUniversal East Coast Page Program. The Page Program is a post-graduate rotational program where pages spend three months with different departments across the organization, learning as much as they can about the business and NBCU’s diverse portfolio of brands.

CU: Where do you see yourself in five years?


AA: I am currently figuring that out and using every opportunity to act as a sponge, absorbing and understanding everything I can about the business. I have wonderful mentors from Chapman and at NBCUniversal, including my boss.

CU: What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t working?


AA: I love exploring NYC! I lived in Southern California my whole life, so as you can imagine, moving here was a big change. Record-breaking snow storms, a case of bed-bugs, living on the sixth story of a six-floor walk-up and embracing the subway system… I’m still here and it’s all been worth it! I like to think I acclimated rather quickly, but there is still so much to learn and experience.

A few things I really enjoy outside of work are binge watching 
Sex and the City 
with my roommates… In NYC, “brunching” is a verb; I’m constantly brunching, doing day-trips to Brooklyn, finding new museums to explore, and since I’m very lucky, escaping city life during the summer months and relaxing in the Hamptons with family friends who live there. It’s fun to experience seasons, meet new people and face challenges. I am learning a lot about myself!

CU: What advice do you have for incoming students? Is there anything you would have done differently during your experience as a student?


AA: Just be open! I have a brother starting college fall 2016 and it’s such an exciting time. Hearing him gush about everything he wants to get involved in not only makes me want to go back, but it’s a reminder of how quickly the time goes by. It’s important to set goals for yourself early on. Think about creating your legacy and the mark you want to leave behind. It seems cool to get involved in 
every
 student organization and club, but pick and choose wisely. You don’t want to over-commit yourself, so make sure you’re spending time on things that you are passionate about and that will prepare you for the future. Because after all, that’s a big part of what college is about!

CU: Are you currently involved with Chapman? If yes, why is being involved important to you?


AA: Staying involved with Chapman (and Dodge) is very important to me. The University gave me so much! I am constantly in touch with Chapman students who want to get their foot in the door in the film/T.V. industry. Not that I have too much wisdom to share (yet!), but it’s rewarding to watch television broadcast journalism students land internships and put them in touch with mentors who have helped me. When Professor Pete Weitzner makes his annual trip to New York with the T.V. and broadcast journalism students, I’ve been able to show them around 30 Rock and NBC. It’s incredible to see our Chapman NYC alumni network grow, and I’m lucky to be part of it.