Liza Burnett Fefferman, Hall of Femme 2020

EVP, communications, ViacomCBS Entertainment and Youth Group Brands

Liza Burnett Fefferman, Hall of Femme 2020

What word would you use to describe your childhood and why?
Driven. I was a competitive gymnast growing up. Focus and precision were instilled in me at a young age — they inform everything I do.

Tell us about your most embarrassing fail. How did you recover?
There are too many to mention! As I always tell my kids, I live by the old adage: Just pick yourself up and get back on the horse.

What fictional female character (in a book or movie) has always inspired you?
I love Holly Hunter’s character in Broadcast News. She’s a badass, just like Susan Zirinsky, the president of CBS News, whom I recently got to meet.

Any real-life women or men you look up to?
My mom — she’s always been my mentor and her perseverance and drive are second to none. And Sheila Nevins, with whom I’m lucky to work alongside and who is showing the industry that women can thrive at any age.

What’s something about you no one knows?
I’m in a fantasy football league with my dad and I’m uber-competitive.

Favorite song and why?
I’ve always gravitated toward girl power anthems — Beyoncé’s "Run the World (Girls)," Kelly Clarkson’s "Stronger" and everything Lizzo stands for.

Tell us about your hobby.
Running is my meditation.

Finish the sentence: To ensure career advancement and pay parity for women, I will...
Lift as I climb. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to work with so many talented women both in my department and on our senior leadership team.

What is it about this industry that frustrates the hell out of you?
Having our value underestimated.

When have you seen this industry or your organization really shine?
I’ve seen our organization shine through groundbreaking social impact campaigns when we amplify issues people care most about such as MTV going dark for 17 minutes to honor the students killed at Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, FL, and when CMT instituted equal radio play for female artists across all of its platforms, a monumental statement to the country music community. And finally, I am proud to be part of an organization that is starting a youth voting revolution in one of the most important elections of our time.

What is your golden rule at work?
Leave no stone unturned, and never take no for an answer.

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