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Young Alum Digs Into Marketing at Food Network

Leah Lesko

Recently, Leah Lesko, BSBA '10, had, in her opinion, the world's best banana pudding. She didn’t know she could love banana pudding that much.

Eating at some of New York City's best restaurants is just one of the perks Lesko enjoys working at Food Network as a marketing coordinator. The other? Trying foods that she might not otherwise have encountered.

Lesko works on the media planning and execution of campaigns for Food Network's biggest shows—Next Iron Chef, Great Food Truck Race, Food Network Star, Chopped, Worst Cooks in America, and Restaurant: Impossible to name a few—and coordinates marketing strategy for network-sponsored food and wine festivals. Her day-to-day involves working with a lot of different agencies.

"It's great when you see a billboard of TV spot you've worked on, or hear people talk about the show my team is working on," said Lesko. "It's hard work, but a lot of fun."

Bringing Food and Marketing Together

Even though her appreciation for great food has grown since she started at Food Network in June 2010, a culinary appetite isn't the sole reason Lesko wanted to work there.

"Food Network has built a great brand over the years and has become a top 10 network," she said. "Working for such a well-known and respected network offers a number of benefits."

Lesko was always drawn to advertising, making a degree in marketing a natural fit. When she got involved with the marketing club as a freshman, she knew it was the only thing she wanted to do.

A summer marketing internship at the Travel Channel solidified her interest.

While she enjoyed everything about her time at Kogod, Lesko didn't particularly like some of the finance classes she took.

"Looking back, those classes weren't the easiest, but I'm able to manage budgets for all of the projects I work on now," she said.

She spent her junior year studying marketing at the SKEMA Business School in Nice, France—one of her favorite college experiences.

Her advice for current students: "Don't be afraid to take time to figure out what you love to do. The current economy has discouraged a lot of students from doing this, as they tend to take the first job they can find.

There is long term value in taking time in finding what you love, as it will help you be successful (and happy) in both your personal and professional life."