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The Great Communicators

John Caruso '82, Senior Vice President, ABC Television Network Sales

“My day is not very typical, and that is what makes it exciting and fun,” says John Caruso, senior vice president of ABC Television Network Sales.“A lot of my job, which I love, is meeting with clients who are pitching their marketing agenda for the next year and looking to us for solutions.”

Since 2002, Mr. Caruso has overseen the client specialist team leaders responsible for developing marketing partnerships, executing buying and planning goals, and finalizing all sales agreements involving the ABC Television Network. Mr. Caruso began his career at ABC as an intern with Eyewitness News.

While still attending the Mount, he began working as a guest relations page. After graduating in 1982, Mr. Caruso was hired in the ABC Affiliate Relations department, holding a number of positions over the years until he joined ABC’s Network Sales department in 1987. That same year, he also received an M.B.A. in marketing from Fordham University.

He attributes his success to the connections he’s made over the years. “One of the things the Mount teaches you is maintaining great relationships,” says Mr. Caruso. Sustaining relationships has helped Mr. Caruso navigate the changing landscape of the television industry.With so many different media outlets available to consumers today, Mr. Caruso works with his team to customize and achieve marketing initiatives to meet and surpass his clients’ goals.

Still, he says the bulk of ABC’s viewership still watches the traditional television set. With TiVo and numerous digital outlets vying for viewers’ attention, television networks are working harder than ever to keep viewers tuned in. Mr. Caruso works with clients such as Sprint to produce innovative product integration promotions as a marketing tie-in with top-rated shows. The writers and director of Desperate Housewives worked with Sprint to develop seven commercials that had the feel of the show. This initiative was a successful fit for the network and its client, but every marketing challenge isn’t solved as easily, says Mr. Caruso.

“The most difficult part of my job is solving a client’s problem when you know there is no solution,” he says. “You have to work hard, even when it’s not easy.”

David Schliecker '92, Vice President, Food Network Brand Research

David Schliecker ’92 has forged a career that would make most people salivate. As vice president of brand research for the Food Network, Mr. Schliecker spends most of his days analyzing viewers’ relationship relationship with food, and determining how the Food Network can please their palates.

Like many communication majors, Mr. Schliecker initially sought a career in television or film production, but quickly learned that it wasn’t his ideal fit. The communication and psychology major customized his education so that it combined his two passions—media and research— and ultimately found his niche in brand research.

“I was encouraged to pursue both (fields) and that opened the ability to create your own way,” says Mr. Schliecker, who also obtained a M.S. in communication from Cornell University. Throughout his career, Mr. Schliecker has conducted consumer research for networks including FOX, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. “The common theme in the networks I have worked for is the passionate fan base,” says Mr. Schliecker.

“I have been fortunate to have been interested in each network I have worked for. It’s important to work for a brand you are interested in.” Much has changed since the beginning of Mr. Schliecker’s career, and new media has been a game-changer for traditional research teams. “It becomes hard to be a network, and we in research have to figure out how it affects the network,” he says.

Despite all the changes that networks face, no one can deny Mr. Schliecker has a formulated a winning recipe for success. “The recipe to follow is having good communication skills at work,” says Mr. Schliecker. “The Mount Communication Department laid the ground work.” He also encourages students to make and sustain connections. “You never know where an opportunity may come from,” Mr.Schlieker says.

Endy Rodrigeuz '03, Senior Assignment Editor, Telemundo WNJU 47

Don’t let his young age fool you. Two time Emmy Award winner Endy Rodriguez’s go-getter mentality has helped him quickly ascend the ranks at Telemundo’s local station WNJU 47.

“My interest in news began in high school,”he says.“My first goal was to be a reporter,but then I fell in love with investigative journalism.” It all started in 2002, when the-then Mount junior interned for theWNJU 47 News department.

“I gave it my all, and that is why I was looked at,” says Mr. Rodriguez, who was brought on as a freelancer after his internship supervisor left the station. He began working full-time overnight shifts at the station during his college days, while still arriving in time for a 9:45 am class at the Mount. The lack of sleep apparently didn’t affect Mr. Rodriguez’s grades, who graduated summa cum laude with a communication major and Spanish minor.

“The Mount prepared me all the way,” he says. “The professors put me in the right situations, and I came out well prepared.” Mr. Rodriguez initially oversaw the station’s investigative unit, and was soon promoted to senior assignment editor, a position he has held since 2004. “Working for a Spanish station is a very friendly environment,” he says. “It’s like being home.”

While most of Mr. Rodriguez’s days are spent investigating and covering local news stories, he has been given the opportunity to cover international stories, including a presidential election in the Dominican Republic. This year, he will cover the beatification ceremony for Pope John Paul II for Telemundo networks. This has personal significance for Mr. Rodriguez, who also volunteers as a youth coordinator for the Archdiocese of New York. “The sky is the limit and I’mnot putting limits to myself,” he says. “I can’t be satisfied with what I have done, but what I can do.”