This Condé Nast Producer Literally Turned An Elevator Pitch Into A Thriving Career
Tiffany Bender actually turned an elevator pitch into a job while just a student at Syracuse University — a student who was also already interning for a top media personality at the time. Curious how she did it? Here’s the scoop.
“One of the producers at the ‘Wendy Williams Show’ went to Syracuse and I landed an internship at the show as her personal intern…around that time, I visited my brother at his apartment on Fifth Avenue and I ran into MTV personality Sway Calloway on the elevator,” she recently told The Everygirl. “I gave him my best elevator pitch and he gave me his manager’s contact information. The next day I interviewed for his radio show, was hired on the spot and was put to work immediately. All of a sudden I had two internships and a full-time job. I was working seven days a week on top of running my non-profit.”
Today, Harlem-based Bender, who received her BS in Communication and Rhetorical Studies and an MA in Television, Radio and Film from Syracuse, is a senior producer at Condé Nast Entertainment where she produces content for the publisher’s magazines. But even before she graduated from Syracuse, Bender was not only making career moves but also making a difference in the community. In college, Bender founded a non-profit called Y.U.N.G. Harlem.
“In the summer of 2008, my best friend, Alize, and I were back in Harlem after our first year of college. We were driving to a cookout off of 125th Street, which is like the Times Square of Harlem, and we heard gunshots. The traffic was at a standstill, there were cops everywhere and literally hundreds of teenagers were running up and down the streets. When we pulled over in front of the New York State Building, we saw a 15-year-old boy who had been shot lean over one of the benches and die. We went back to my house and cried. I remember thinking, ‘Why does this have to happen in our community?’ That was the start of our non-profit, Y.U.N.G. Harlem, which stands for Youth Under New Guidance. By providing hands-on, positive leadership, Y.U.N.G. Harlem encourages young Black students in and around Harlem to consider higher education and to pursue solid careers,” Bender explained.
Now at Condé Nast Bender is making her mark with her popular online reports, seen mainly on Facebook Live. “When I first got to Condé I started working for The Scene, a hub for the best digital series, shorts and documentaries for brands across the Condé Nast portfolio. At The Scene, I was asked to help create 25 live videos per week. At the time, people were shooting videos on their phones and the production quality wasn’t ‘all that.’ Condé Nast has quality brands — you can’t ask Vogue to shoot a video on a cell phone,” explained Bender.
Outside of her 9-to-5, Bender is still working on other various projects, including a new show she’s producing called #AskAuntie, which she recently sold to CentricTV. “Whenever my mom, Auntie Landa, and Auntie Fran get together they are always a hoot–and a hot mess. At family functions, the three of them used to bully me into a corner and say, ‘You’re a producer! When are we going to get our reality show?’ Over the past year as a side project, I’ve been filming episodes of #AskAuntie, a series with my mom and two aunts sharing their ridiculous and hilarious perspectives over glasses of wine. Word of mouth and shares on Facebook gave the show some traction,” explained Bender.
“My family was on vacation in Paris and I brought my mom and aunt out for drinks with one of my friends who happened to be in Paris. My friend showed up at the restaurant with the Executive Producer of Centric TV. My mom and aunts’ antics had the man leaning over his chair and belly laughing. He said, ‘You need a show.’ A week after we got home from Paris, the Executive Producer emailed me and said, ‘Let’s meet and get this show on air.’ Two weeks after that we were shooting. I got very lucky working with a network that believes in my vision.”
Not long ago, Bender ago released a video in which she and a friend discussed body shaming. Not surprisingly, the video, “Best Friends Get Brutally Honest About Their Bodies,” has gone viral.
“Alyssa and I met at Condé and we instantly connected because we are Yin and Yang…One day Alyssa approached me about making a video where we would say the negative things that we said to ourselves out loud to each other. I was expecting to do a comedy bit that day since The Scene is known for its comedic videos, but when she pitched me the idea I instantly loved it. It ended up being the first serious video we ever shot for The Scene. We filmed it with the head of Digital Video at Condé Nast, who is this big, burly, serious director. Once we finished shooting he came up to us with tears in his eyes and said, ‘Never do that to me again.’ That’s when we knew we had something.”
Judging from her achievements already, rest assured we will be reading about Bender from some time to come. Check out her full interview on THE Every Girl here.