DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTS, STRATEGY & PARTNERSHIPS
While attending a Technical Awareness Day at AT&T as a high-school sophomore, James Nixon Jr. caught the attention of Lori Sexton, Reggie Maldonado and Robert Logan — young professionals who saw his tremendous potential, enrolled him in a summer computer camp and hired him as an intern. “Their kindness plotted the career course that I have followed for twenty years,” says Nixon, who is now director of product strategy and partnerships at CNN Digital, with responsibility for shaping the company’s global strategic digital media direction and managing its strategic partnerships with media and technology organizations.
Motivated by his experience with AT&T, Nixon pursued a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering at Lehigh University and joined Microsoft as an applications developer upon graduating. At Microsoft, he found another mentor in his department director, Mario Pipkin, who stressed the importance of having a strong foundation.
Determined to build a surer business foundation, Nixon earned an M.B.A. at Cornell University. This post-grad education enabled him to excel in consulting and strategy-focused positions at Deloitte Consulting and at The New York Times Co. prior to joining CNN Digital. “Digital media continues to rapidly evolve and staying at the forefront of the change is very difficult,” says Nixon. “However, this is truly my passion and staying abreast of this change is what I do best.”
Through yet another mentor — Jerry Levy, whom Nixon met while volunteering with the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — Nixon learned the importance of embracing his strengths. He is committed to using his skills to help others, whether mentoring M.B.A. students, providing professional development and networking opportunities, or helping individuals to find in themselves the same passion he holds for his work. “I absolutely love what I do,” he says. “I honestly feel like I do my hobby for a living.”
Favorite song: “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men
Countries visited: Morocco, Portugal
Favorite book: “The Innovator’s Dilemma” by Clayton M. Christensen