Alumna Julissa Marenco serves the needs of the Hispanic communityJanuary 13, 2011
Julissa Marenco '97 is shaping the future of Spanish language broadcasting in her role as President of ZGS Communications Station Group. In this capacity, she oversees the management of--and provides strategic direction for--13 Telemundo stations and three radio stations across the country.
A first generation Hispanic American born in Brooklyn, NY, Marenco grew up in Hudson County, where she dreamed of working in Spanish-language media. While a student at Rowan University, she followed her passion, earning a B.A. in Communication, with a concentration in Radio/Television/Film (RTF), in 1997.
Some of her fondest memories of Rowan involve the campus radio station, WGLS-FM. In addition to hosting various radio programs throughout her time at the University, during her junior year, she took part in producing a five-part series about Generation X entitled "Generation X, Exceptional or Experimental" that highlighted pressing issues facing her generation.
In her senior year, she was selected to attend the National Association of Television Program Executives conference as an intern. She describes the experience as "the opportunity of a lifetime" as it gave her insight into the industry outside of the classroom and in the "real world."
Passionate about public service, communications and media, Marenco believes that being in media is both a privilege and a responsibility and that a company is first and foremost accountable to the viewer. Because the industry is changing every day and viewers are using different mediums to access their entertainment, she would like to "maximize the web platforms [of ZGS] and help viewers enhance their experience as well as make TV viewing a more interactive experience."
Prior to her current position, her dedication to public service and professional achievement led to her selection as a 2007-2008 White House Fellow. Appointed by the President of the United States, White House Fellows participate in a non-partisan program renowned as America's most prestigious program for leadership and public service. Subsequently, she was selected to serve as a special assistant to the administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Before becoming a White House Fellow, Marenco was the general manager of WZDC-25 Telemundo in Washington, D.C., a ZGS owned station. In this role, she directed the day-to-day operation of the station encompassing advertising and business development, community and public relations, marketing and promotions, and news and programming. She worked to deliver media that fed information to viewers, honored cultural traditions and also embraced life in the United States.
Throughout her tenure, she built and developed key grassroots initiatives, including signature campaigns such as La Buena Vida (The Good Life), a health and wellness campaign that has helped thousands of viewers across the country. She brokered partnerships with other media outlets, sports franchises and key local organizations to create unique platforms and position Telemundo as the premiere Spanish language broadcaster in the nation's capital. She received several management awards for her vision, leadership and commitment to service.
Marenco began her communications career with Blair Television in New York. She later joined Telemundo Network in 1998. In 2001 she moved to ZGS, Telemundo's largest independent station group, where she started as the group's national sales manager in New York. In 2002 she was promoted to general sales manager for Telemundo's Washington, D.C. affiliate, where she later rose to the post of general manager of the station.
Julissa's hard work has paid off and her advice to current students is to "be open and to start at the bottom." While her first job was as an industry assistant, what she learned about the industry, ethics and priorities was invaluable.
"When you do small things well, little by little people start putting you in charge of bigger and bigger things. Next thing you know, you're running a team, a department, a station or a company," she says.
Using her first job at Telemundo as an example, Marenco notes that it's important for recent graduates be open. She recalls thinking that the research position was "boring" and not "exciting enough," although in hindsight she admits it was one of her best decisions.
"When you're in research you're constantly learning about the trends of the marketplace, what viewers are watching, what their interests are, where they come from and what's really working. I can't think of a better background to have if you want to excel in an industry. You need to know what works, how it works and why it works," she says.
Marenco joined the Rowan University Alumni Board of Directors in 2009 and also currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation and the Children's National Medical Center Advocacy and Public Policy Board of Directors. Since 2001, she has taught at Howard University's Media Sales Institute.
She previously served on boards including the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences-National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter, YWCA-National Capital Area Chapter, The Advertising Club of the Washington Metropolitan area and the George Mason University Diversity Advisory Board. She is a graduate of Leadership Greater Washington.