CBS's Radha Subramanyam: Fearless, Creative, Curious (Video)

By Legends & Leadership Archives
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I especially enjoy my Legends & Leaders Conversations when they uncover both career achievements and personal qualities. Radha Subramanyam, President and Chief Research and Analytics Officer for CBS Corporation, describes herself as "all in when there's something new that's complicated and hard to figure out. If I look across my career, I've not necessarily looked for a bigger title or a bigger team, but I have looked for each role to grow and stretch me and take me beyond my comfort zone. You can hire for very specific skills; but you can't [measure] fearlessness and creativity and curiosity. "

Radha's fearlessness led her to leave her native South India and travel to Northwestern University in Chicago where she received her Ph.D. in Radio-TV-Film and then to progressively advance in roles at NBC-TV, Viacom, Yahoo!, The Nielsen Company and iHeartMedia before joining CBS Corp. in 2017. Her qualities have served her and CBS well during a period of radical transformation and have positioned her to also lead CBS' "futures" division, CBS Vision.

"Whether you're in the energy sector, or the media sector, or cyber security, you have to be really creative and really adaptable," she points out, "because what is coming at you changes every single day. There is so much opportunity, there is so much responsibility and there is so much challenge that I do believe people who are creative, adaptable and fearless will do the best. We just have to get comfortable with fluidity and change and make the right decisions, [knowing that] today's decision may not be tomorrow's decision and certainly wasn't yesterday's decision. So I don't believe in absolutes. I believe in really taking things one day at a time and making the rules for today, knowing that you may have to throw them out tomorrow."

One of the many issues Radha and I discuss is diversity and how gratifying it is to "see more people who look like me." She credits CBS for its leadership in advancing diversity across a programming schedule that has been "No. 1 in viewing in America for 51 of the last 70 years, which is something to be incredibly proud of." Her parting advice in our Legends & Leaders Conversation is to watch CBS' hit series Ghosts. "The lesson we can take away from Ghosts is how we can live with the traumas of the past, the potential of the future, the experiences of the present, and put it all together." Excellent counsel from a leader from whom we can all learn. Discover more of Radha's insights and advice for careers and life here.

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