By Rachel Schlow

A frequent speaker to the Media Management Association (MMA), Brian Norris kindly stopped by the School of Communication during his short stay in Miami to share his career experiences in advertising and sales over the last 20 years. Norris is currently senior vice president, SMB Growth Division, Advertising & Partnerships at NBCUniversal, as well as adjunct professor at Fordham University Gabelli School of Business. He previously led the first direct-to-consumer team within the Advertising & Partnerships division at NBCU, with a focus on creating an environment for brands to scale through emerging, growth, and mature stages of their company’s life cycles.

In March 1999, Norris graduated from Towson University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications. “Life is a series of pivotal moments,” he told the audience, describing his reaction when he accepted an offer left on his answering machine to become a sales assistant for Lifetime. During the seven years he was with the company, Norris held many different roles. He also noted that there are two main reasons for leaving a position: money or opportunity.

Next, he worked at DISH Network for 10 years and departed as their head of sales in 2018. There, he played a key role in the creation of the ad-sales department. During his time there, the company was able to grow sales significantly as they were able to innovate and introduce national television addressability, as well as introduce Sling TV to consumers.

At age 35, Norris went back to school while also maintaining an executive role at DISH to acquire his dual M.B.A. from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and IE Business School in Madrid, Spain.

In 2018, Norris continued his industry career as he moved on to NBCUniversal’s Advertising & Partnerships division. There, as a senior vice president, he developed and managed the company’s direct-to-scale business to help small- and medium-sized companies achieve their business objectives nationally, regionally, and locally.

When it comes to job opportunities, Norris always keeps three lists: companies that he is interested in; types of jobs he wants to do (whether they exist or not); and types of people he would like to work with and for. As a leader in his division, he emphasized the importance of integrity. For students aspiring to work in sales, he recommended trying different internships as well as having an active presence on LinkedIn.