Lynda Clarizio ’82 is President of US Media at Nielsen, a Fortune 500 company that leads the world in consumer measurement. We met with Clarizio to hear about her diverse career experience, and how she can help aspiring entrepreneurs as an OfficeHours in the City mentor.
Clarizio graduated from Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1982 and specialized in international finance and international relations.
Clarizio’s career has been long and varied. After Princeton, Clarizio attended Harvard Law School and was an attorney for many years, first at the U.S. State Department and then at a large D.C. law firm, where she specialized in international law. “In the mid-90s, I became chief outside counsel for a then small, unheard of company called America Online (AOL). This was the beginning of the internet.” Clarizio eventually joined AOL internally, where she held a variety of roles. She ran business development, was deputy CFO, and president of the company’s ad business. After AOL, Clarizio went on to become CEO of a New York-based tech startup and then ran operations at another startup called AppNexus, founded by Brian O’Kelley ’99.
For the last four years, Clarizio has been at Nielsen, where she runs the company’s $2.5 billion dollar US media business.
“If there is anything to be learned from my career, it’s to take opportunities as they come,” Clarizio said. “Don’t be afraid to take on new responsibilities in areas that you might not be entirely trained for or experienced in; I brought on the experience as my career developed.”
Clarizio is the first to admit that she is not an entrepreneur in the narrow sense of the word. “I’ve never launched a business on my own from the get-go, but I do consider myself an entrepreneur in a broader sense,” Clarizio remarked. “At large organizations like Nielsen and AOL, I have always been a change agent internally.” Clarizio expanded on her definition of entrepreneurship, which closely aligns with Entrepreneurship the Princeton Way: “To me, entrepreneurship is not just starting a startup, it’s really about driving innovation, whether that’s in a startup, a small company, or a really big company like Nielsen.”
What types of things can Clarizio help OfficeHours mentees with? “First, I can review your business plans, particularly the financial side. I can also discuss your marketing and advertising plans with you, since those are areas where I’ve had a lot of experience,” Clarizio said. “I may not be a lawyer anymore, but I still know quite a bit about what you need to do on the legal side.” Clarizio is available to give general advice and provide connections, “any way I can help with what you’re trying to do as an entrepreneur,” Clarizio said.
To make an appointment with Clarizio, or to find another OfficeHours mentor who better suits your business’s needs, visit entrepreneurs.princeton.edu/officehours. Train tickets for Princeton students looking to make the trip to New York City will be reimbursed.