Parkes has been leading marketing for the Viacom entertainment group for the past four years, and was promoted to oversee marketing for additional cable nets following the ViacomCBS merger in 2019. She also works with the company’s digital studios to develop original digital series, franchises and other content. Throughout the pandemic, she’s been busy leading campaigns to support every program the company designs, including voter turnout campaigns and ViacomCBS’ #AloneTogether global PSA during COVID-19. Under her leadership, digital watch time rose to more than 1.4 billion minutes a month, and MTV experienced four straight years of prime ratings growth. Though she’ll be stepping down at the end of the year, Parkes has prioritized her team throughout the pandemic. “I’m so proud of the team and our many accomplishments, especially the work we’ve done to leverage our platforms for the greater purpose of getting out important messages and supporting important causes,” she says.
What is one of your proudest moments during the pandemic? How our team mobilized so quickly to create the #AloneTogether campaign, recognizing the power we have to reach young people with important messages—and empower them with facts and resources during such a critical time.
How has your leadership style changed during the pandemic? It’s always important to empower your staff, but I’ve tried to prioritize that even more during the pandemic. It’s important for us to recognize how hard this situation has been on everyone, make sure people are taking care of themselves and provide them with resources for themselves and their teams. My role as a leader is to surround myself with amazing people who are experts in all the things I’m not, and then try to set them up for success. I’m so proud of the team and our many accomplishments, especially the work we’ve done to leverage our platforms for the greater purpose of getting out important messages and supporting important causes.
Some research has suggested COVID-19 may set women in the workplace back half a decade. How can we ensure the progress made isn’t erased? It starts with recognizing the issue and keeping it front and center. I think we should all recognize that we’ve learned some things this year about the effectiveness of remote work, but also the stress it has put on working parents. Research is showing this stress is disproportionately affecting working moms. I/we will do all we can to support working moms and offer more flexibility in terms of hours and more resources, which should hopefully help working mothers during these most challenging of times.