Maya Watson-Director of Marketing and Social Media, Oprah Winfrey Network
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Maya Watson-Director of Marketing and Social Media, Oprah Winfrey Network

Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted
to work for Oprah. You know what happened was, this was before
social media, and before you really had access to people, I started just calling the main
line and asking how I can get an internship. And at the time they didn’t offer any internships. They said, “If you want to work here, you
have to have this kind of experience in media production.” And so I went and did that. I went and worked for ESPN. I went and worked for Comcast. I went and worked as a reporter at WSBT in
South Bend so I could understand the production side of the business, so that when I came
back to them I said I’m ready, I’m prepared. I have all these internships, I have an IU
South Bend education, and it worked out in my favor. One of the great things about IU South Bend
is the flexibility they give you with your schedule. So there were days I was working for ESPN
in Chicago, and I would work Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. So I set up my class schedule for Tuesdays
and Fridays so that I could accommodate both. Because they understood the value of real
life experience. So that was a priority, is to make sure that
you do what you need to do to take care of this internship, but also, how can we take
what you’ve learned at your internship and talk about it in class? How can we make sure that you’re having the
full circle experience? When I started working for Oprah I started
as an intern, and I still had my fall semester to finish, so Dean Ducoffe was awesome and
gave me the opportunity to do independent study while I started that internship, because
we both realized how important this was, and this is what they prepare us for. I think one of the things that IU South Bend
taught me in the business school was to ask questions. And not just to ask questions but to ask the
right questions. It’s not necessarily about how much you know,
but about how can you take the information and disseminate it to tell the right story. It was awesome. I feel like I got a world class education. Once I got into Harpo and working for Oprah,
I realized that I am just as competitive, if not better than, the people my age. I realize that I had the abilities just as
everybody else did. It gave me the confidence, and I relied on
some of the things that I learned at IU South Bend, and it just catapulted me into success. So that’s where I am and I’ve been with Oprah
for the last eight years, which is crazy. And now I’m in Los Angeles. I would tell a young person today, you should
definitely go to IU South Bend. It is a world class education. It’s affordable. It’s convenient. It’s challenging. It’s fun. You’re going to make amazing connections. You’re going to be in environments where you
know people really care about you. You’re going to be able to have access to
your professors in a way that you just won’t in other places. And so when you think about what you actually
need to go and be successful, there’s not a better place that I can think of that gives
you those tools you need to be successful.

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