Depelsha Thomas McGruder
Senior Vice President,
(a division of Viacom)
New York City
Depelsha Thomas McGruder began her media career in front of the camera as a local TV news anchor, reporter and producer at WMAZ-TV and WFXL-TV in Georgia. However, she wanted to be a decision maker behind the scenes. “I wanted an opportunity to influence the images that we see of ourselves in media,” she explains. Now 38, McGruder is the senior vice president of business operations for Centric at BET Networks, giving her responsibility for managing Centric’s day-to-day operations and forging strategic partnerships for the network.
McGruder joined the Viacom family in 2000 as the director of business development for MTV and was instrumental in developing the business plans and launch of MTV Overdrive, MTV Networks’ first broadband website, MTV’s wireless and video-on-demand businesses and Latino youth network MTV Tr3s. She rose to senior vice president of business operations and strategy for MTV, supporting the company’s president in the day-to-day management of properties under the MTV brand in the United States. “My competitive edge is that I listen more than I talk,” she says.
McGruder was a charter member of MTV’s Diversity Team and in 2002 was a recipient of its “Diversity Award.” She was a senior consultant with Accenture’s Media & Entertainment Strategy practice before her move to MTV.
McGruder holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Howard University and a master’s in business administration from Harvard Business School. She serves on the board of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp., where she has helped plan its annual outdoor music festival and conducted workshops for youth programs. “I am committed to helping young people reach their full potential and nurturing the next generation of leaders,” she says. And indeed, most of her various community service activities are focused on uplifting and inspiring youth.
Favorite book: “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell
Favorite singer: Prince
Favorite charity: Bed Stuy Restoration Corp.