How Pearlena Igbokwe broke Entertainment Industry Glass Ceilings-By Drive Africa Writer

Pearlena Igbokwe has landed a new milestone after recently being tapped to lead NBC’s global TV studio. Igbokwe, whose parents immigrated to the U.S, replaced industry veteran Bonnie Hammer to become executive chairman of NBC Universal Group. In 2016 she was appointed as head of Universal Television, the first time a black a woman was given the responsibility to lead the studio. During her tenure she oversaw the production of programs such the ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’, the ‘Superstore’ and ‘The Good Place’. Prior to her appointment she as the Executive Vice President for Drama Programing at NBC, a role in which she oversaw the company’s creation of dramas working on projects such as ‘The Black List’ and ‘This Is Us’. Before joining NBC Igbokwe, had worked with Showtime for 20 years.  During her time at show time she oversaw shows such as ‘Nurse Jackie’, ‘The Big C’, and ‘Soul Food’.  She also developed original movies such as ‘Jasper, Texas’ and ‘Strange Justice among others’. She had her start at Showtime as a Manager of Direct Response, Television Marketing, a role in which she was responsible for media planning and spending and telemarketing.  Igbokwe has managed to break the entertainment industry’s glass ceiling by bringing a combination of creative and business acumen to her roles in addition to bringing a strong people focused managerial style.

Igbokwe, who was born in Lagos state and experienced the horror of Nigeria’s Biafra war, moved to the United States at the age of six.  Igbokwe’s father had immigrated to the United States and was joined later by Igbokwe, her mother and brothers two years later. The young Igbokwe had an early love for TV. She was an avid lover of TV and was fascinated by television shows.  Igbokwe attended Yale University where she earned a BA in English in 1987.  During her undergraduate studies she had the opportunity to intern at NBC where she did research work. She later obtained an MBA from Columbia Business School in 1992.