CBS Television Exec Speaks to Students at CSU, Northridge

Last Week, Angelica Rosas McDaniel, Senior Vice President Daytime, CBS Entertainment, took time out of her busy schedule to speak to a full auditorium of Cal State Northridge faculty and students. McDaniel, a 35-year-old Minneapolis native whose father was born and raised in Mexico, has been at the helm of CBS daytime television since February of 2012. Beginning her career in entertainment as an intellectually precocious teen, McDaniel first worked in radio and eventually moved on to producing television programs, such as the Tyra Banks show, before entering into her current executive level position at CBS.

As she spoke about her career trajectory, the CSU Northridge community learned interesting facts about daytime television, one of which is that more Americans watch CBS daytime television programs than they do popular shows which air on cable. McDaniel asserts “that nearly five million people watch the Young and the Restless each day while Mad Men averages about half that number —  two-and-a-half million viewers each week.” So daytime dramas are not, in effect, the dying breed of television programing as has been widely reported in the media.

But the students got a lot more out of her presentation than a lesson on the ins and outs of daytime television. They discovered that women can and do find jobs in the upper echelons of the entertainment world. Speaking on her insights into what it takes to build a successful career, McDaniel outlined some of the steps people can take to get the ball rolling. She urged the students to network, and once a job has been attained, to raise one’s hand and volunteer for new assignments. “You also want to speak in terms of solutions rather than problems” she added “because you always want to make yourself valuable.” In the end, McDaniel advised the young people to be flexible about their career goals and to refrain from “getting stuck in a singular vision.”

At a time when women still make only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, and the chances of securing a well paying position shortly after graduation continue to be low, McDaniel’s success story was nothing less than inspirational. Her presentation was amazing!” gushed journalism major Susana Guzman. “She took advantage of every opportunity given to her and believed that she could get the job done.”

Apart from her rise to the upper reaches of Hollywood studio execudom, the fact that McDaniel is a young woman of Mexican American descent was not lost on the students, many of who are also women of color. And in this regard, McDaniel had even more positive news to share. It turns out that her immediate supervisor, Nina Tassler — President of CBS Entertainment, was born to a Puerto Rican mother.  Points such as these served to infuse the students with hope. “It was inspiring to hear her speak on her path to becoming a high level Latina executive” said Central American Studies major, Elvira Padilla. Gender and Women’s Studies minor, Mialisha McCalipp, shared a similar sentiment. “Seeing a women of color achieve so much by the age of 35 motivates me to continue school and prove to people that I am highly capable of being successful.”

After the presentation commenced, dozens of students rushed to the front of the room to speak to  Ms. McDaniel in person. She gladly accommodated them and stuck around for an additional half-hour to answer questions and offer advice. When I met up with McDaniel a little while later, she had only positive things to say about the Cal State Northridge students. “Their questions and enthusiasm speak well to their chances of making it in this competitive industry” she said.

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