Cheryl Pearson-McNeil says she loves to “wow” people. It’s one of those things that keeps her job of expanding the scope of The Nielsen Company’s government, community and corporate social responsibility programs exciting. “I work with communities, educating them on what Nielsen does and who we are. I jump up out of bed in the morning with great ideas on ways to share information with people and make data fun, interesting and engaging,” says Pearson-McNeil, Neilsen’s SVP of Public Affairs and Government Relations.
Pearson-McNeil starts her work day reading nielsenwire.com, “to stay abreast of online, mobile phone, television, movies and book trends. We measure all of that and people don’t know it. We measure so many things … it’s way beyond television ratings. We are the largest measurement company in the world [and we’re] located in 100 countries. Sixty percent of our business, — the consumer division — is to keep track of what you buy at the grocery store, drug store, etc.”
Pearson-McNeil admits that statistics wasn’t a subject she considered to be of particular “fun” while in school, but when it comes to sharing data with people on how big their slice of the demographic pie is and how important what they watch and buy is, “it’s empowering.”
“When you think about corporate America, you don’t always think that something that you spend a great deal of time doing in a revenue-generating business will have this type of impact. I actually do have the opportunity to empower, educate and inform people about things that really could have a significant impact on their lives or at least on some of their choices. So for me, from a personal perspective, that’s very important to me because I feel good about what I am doing.”
Pearson-McNeil also leads the diversity advertising strategy at The Nielsen Company and co-manages two of its three external advisory councils. She wears many tiaras, so it’s imperative that she stay organized and keep her eye on the objective. “I am very goal oriented. I think it is very important to have a vision of where you want to be. I have post-it notes stuck all over my bathroom mirror, so they are the first things I see in the morning — they [outline] what I need to concentrate on that day or for my six-month goal.”
The successful executive’s energy and zest for life is contagious. Her son, 14-year-old Kenneth Carl, affectionately called KC, used one of her own tactics on her one day when she wasn’t in a good mood. He dropped a line on her, quoting Mahatma Gandhi, “Now mom, you must be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Aside from making her laugh aloud, it was also proof that the affirmations she keeps posted around the house — “Success is a choice.” and “Today you can choose joy” — stick.
Her reading recommensations, “As far as self-help books, I recommend Who Moved My Cheese. It’s an old book and has been on the market for a number of years. It’s also an effective book. I also suggest Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead … But Gutsy Girls Do: Nine Secrets Every Career Woman Must Know, female readers will find it very interesting,” she adds. –yvette caslin