By Sean Grim ’14
Alexandra McDonough ’14 (Madison, N.J.), Melanie Ruderman ’14 (Valley Stream, N.Y.), Aimee Smith ’14 (Washington, N.J.), and Kerri-Ann Sutherland ’16 (Brooklyn, N.Y.) watched the advertisements during Super Bowl XLVIII with a new appreciation.
In January, they went behind the scenes at Fox Sports with Claudine Lilien ’90, senior vice-president of Fox Sports Media Group, Advertising Sales. Lilien, along with her team, is responsible for selling the coveted multi-million dollar advertising spots during the Super Bowl. The students became team members for two days, sitting in on Lilien’s strategy meetings and learning the nuances of corporate sales.
The externs transitioned from the boardroom to the newsroom with a tour of the Fox News offices. Their visit culminated on the set of Fox News, the platform for one of cable’s most-watched programs. Leaving the teleprompters behind, the externs returned to Fox Sports to interview more than a dozen of the network’s executives.
Receiving personal attention from these leaders of industry was an “incredible experience,” says McDonough, a double major in government & law and Spanish. The insights she gleaned from these interviews reaffirmed her desire to enter network television, particularly advertising sales.
Likewise, Ruderman will pursue her passion for television after graduation. After three externships in the industry—at ESPN, USA, and now Fox—she has never been more excited to enter the field. She credits Lilien for cultivating her enthusiasm.
“Claudine has become one of my mentors, continuing to offer her guidance and encouragement,” says Ruderman, a psychology major. “She is always available and happy to help Lafayette students in any way she can.”
Twenty-four years ago, Lilien was in the same position as Ruderman and her fellow externs. As a junior history major, she served an externship with Dana Streep ’75 at a financial services firm on Wall Street that taught her the importance of networking.