Occupying spaces that merge corporate and Hollywood is no easy task for a Black man, especially when those spaces weren’t meant for you to enter. Still, Michael Quigley has been able to excel in the industry that helps us keep Black storytelling alive. For the last three years, Quigley has been the Executive Vice President, Content Acquisition and Strategy for WarnerMedia. The Stanford University alum continues to show the power in building a reputation that allows him to be one of the few decision-makers that represent our community, in offices that usually neglects us. The Quintessential Gentleman caught up with Quigley to discuss his early beginnings and rise through the ranks.
How did you come up in the business?
I got my start in the business working in finance and investment banking. The way that came about was through an organization called Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), a New York-based organization that provides opportunities for underrepresented minorities in areas like investment banking, management consulting, and corporate law, among others.
I always start with that when I talk about my career because I am a testament to the importance of internship and mentorship and providing an opportunity for underrepresented groups in our industry and our business.
After starting my career in finance, I moved over to the media side of the business, where I did some strategy work for Time Warner. I then went and moved to the west coast, where I spent two years getting my MBA at Stanford, an incredible and important proving ground for me that gave me exposure to not just the media business, but more importantly, where technology was impacting the video business in many ways. What I learned at Stanford about the impact of technology informed much of what I have done for the last 30 years of my career.
And really, since Stanford, I've looked at my career through that lens and it guides my thinking about business models, consumers, content creators, monetization and distribution.
What are some of the challenges of your role currently?