Kerry Taylor, Viacom, Shares her Story of how Confidence is Essential

20 March 2017

Kerry Taylor, Senior Vice President, Youth and Music, Viacom International Media (MTV) gave students at the Harris Academy, Purley an insight into her own career path and encouraged them to have the confidence to contact organisations they want to work for and ask for opportunities.

Speaking to 180 Year 11 students, Kerry grasped the students’ attention from the start by showing them clips from MTV youth programmes they all knew that she helped create. She then continued to inspire them by being very relatable, sharing her own story and showing them a photograph of herself in Year 11 with extracts from her school report. Kerry had an ambition to work in broadcasting (or ‘working in television’ as she put it) and despite facing some obstacles during her time in school, Kerry’s determination and perseverance helped her overcome those obstacles and pursue a minor role for a start-up television company in Hong Kong. Kerry is now responsible for MTV International and has introduced highly successful shows to the channel showing the students that with effort and a lot of determination, you really can achieve your ambitions.

Kerry re-iterated that effort and confidence are the keys that will open the door to their futures. She encouraged the students to take control and create their own chances. She explained that you don’t have to have links with organisations to get in touch, you just need to do your research on the company you want to work for, find out who to contact and be passionate and innovative about why you want to work for them and what you have to offer.

She then went on to highlight inspirational quotes from the stars of MTV and gave the students key messages for their future. They were eager to hear Kerry’s advice and suggestions and there were several key messages that Kerry gave them to take away from the talk:

Find something you love and get paid doing it!

“It’s all about having the confidence to get in touch, just write in to get an internship and make sure your CV stands out.’

“Skills are just as important as qualifications”

Kerry also explained that everyone constantly faces challenges throughout their career and you must be able to handle adversity and rise to the challenge. She was happy to share examples from her own career where things had not gone to plan explaining that when this happens you have to improvise and have the confidence to make decisions about how to resolve it.

“Don’t expect everything to go well. Things can go wrong, just dust yourself off and start again.”

After the session the students were very keen to chat to Kerry about routes into media and she stayed behind to offer them individual advice and support.

Kerry was also keen to offer the students the opportunity to get in touch with her about work experience and internships at Viacom and the school says many of them have already enquired into possible internships in the future!

Thanks to Kerry Taylor for being such an inspirational speaker on behalf of Speakers for Schools and thanks to the staff and students at the Harris Academy for hosting such a great event.