Chief Marketing Officer of Netflix Bozoma Saint John has an impressive resume of high level marketing positions at some of the most prestigious brands in the world.
And while she makes it look easy, her journey certainly wasn’t smooth sailing.
Bozoma’s incredible success has been achieved through nothing but dedication, perseverance – and a whole lot of badassery.
Bozoma was born in the USA, but spent most of her childhood in Ghana after her family moved there when she was just six months old. She was named after her grandmother, who she describes as “a young Queen ruling Nzema in the western region of Ghana.”
Bozoma lives up to the legacy of her name – and in 2021, she was named one of the Top 50 Most Influential Female Leaders in Africa within corporate spaces.
Her time in Ghana ended when her family returned to the USA, and settled down in Colorado. As a teenager, the last thing Bozoma wanted was to be different from everyone else.
But she stood apart in every way.
This wasn’t an easy time in Bozoma’s life. She was a black girl in a white community, had a different accent, and was brought up differently to everyone around her. When her friends came over to her house, her mom would speak to her in their home language – and she would cook traditional Ghanian food instead of ordering pizza like her friends’ parents.
Bozoma relates that, at the time, it deeply embarrassed her to stand out so much. She struggled having parents who were unrelenting in keeping their different culture and who refused to be “normal” like everyone else.
At the same time, Bozoma had big dreams and ambitions – but she felt discouraged when nobody in the roles she wanted looked like her. Once again, she was different.
But rather than giving up, Bozoma took this as a challenge.
If there weren’t leaders in business who looked like her – then she would just have to be the first.
This was easier said than done. As she entered the workplace, Bozoma encountered many barriers. Some she had anticipated – but many others she didn’t.
She encountered difficulties such as being talked over, excluded from meetings, and passed over for raises and promotions. But all the while, she was perfectly qualified, extremely competent, and she certainly was capable.
It was unacceptable, and something had to change.
So, Bozoma took the differences that had embarrassed her in her youth, and turned them into sources of pride. She slowly started realizing the wisdom her parents had by staying true to their roots rather than changing themselves to blend into the crowd, and being like everyone else.
Bozoma took this lesson from her parents and started applying it to her career. She embraced what made her different. She took what she once thought were weaknesses, and turned them into her greatest strengths. She became loud, she began to assert herself, and demand what she knew she deserved just as much as those who kept getting chosen over her.
In short: she became a badass.
And it worked.
Yell loud enough, and people will hear you – and Bozoma yelled louder than them all. She began to get noticed in corporate spaces. She discovered the importance of allies in the workplace, and of learning from those with similar experiences.
Bozoma set out a list of goals, and began to accomplish them one by one.
She didn’t find success just through a change of attitude — she developed a series of strategies that she stuck to. She wrote emails, she learned how to speak assertively, and she mastered the art of portraying herself to earn the respect and admiration of those around her.
She began to hold herself like a leader, even if she wasn’t one (yet). And she climbed her way to the top, working first for Pepsi, then moving to Apple, then Uber. She kept moving up until she finally achieved her dream of becoming the first Black woman to join Netflix’s group of top executives.
Bozoma’s success is from her dedication to living her life urgently.
She doesn’t wait until tomorrow to get things done. She does what she needs to do right now — because achievement comes by doing.
Bozoma’s legacy hasn’t ended with her corporate success. She’s active in philanthropy, and is dedicated to helping bring others up along with her. Her initiative, #ShareTheMicNow, launched on Instagram in 2020, and saw 52 Black women take the feeds of 52 white women with large platforms, to highlight the work they’re doing to bring about change, and amplify their voices.
Bozoma has also never forgotten her roots, and is acting as Ghana’s Global Ambassador for Pencils of Promise – an NGO which advocates for accessible education. Bozoma is also on the board of directors for Girls Who Code, an initiative to close the gender gap in the technology and computer industries, as well as Vital Voices, which advocates for women and addresses gender-based violence, poverty, and climate change.
Bozoma’s efforts for education and uplifting others to become trailblazers are clear – which is why we’re proud to launch her Badass Business Bootcamp. As a part of her initiative to uplift those like her, she’s using her Academy to share all the lessons she’s learned as a corporate badass.
This course has 7 days of videos packed full of lessons drawn from Bozoma’s 20+ years of experience in the business world. You will learn the same strategies she developed on her journey to badassery through live sessions with classmates, assignments, and a meet and greet with Bozoma herself. This course will give you access to Bozoma’s secret weapons to success so you can finally brand yourself, find allies at work, and build your badass career once and for all.
Bozoma’s already reached the top – and she shows no sign of stopping. Her success is a bright, guiding star to all those who have been othered, those who are different, and those who face barriers simply because of who they are.
Join the Badass Business Bootcamp Today.