Born in New York City, New York, to immigrant parents, Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez has spent her life connected to the city and the entertainment industry. She spent the first 15 years of her professional career as a nightclub manager, learning event planning and management from the inside-out in a city that thrives on significant events. During that time, Perez discovered her gift and her passion and chose to use that time as a training ground, sharpening her financial oversight, organizational, public relations, problem-solving skills, and perhaps most crucial, her artist acquisition and management talents.
At that time, Desiree Perez had the chance to attract, meet, and work with talented DJs like Funk Master Flex. Additionally, hip-hop artists like Cypress Hill, Onyx, Fu-Schnickens, Naughty by Nature, and Brand Nubian would perform live, turning the nightclub where she was working into an epicenter of hip-hop arts and culture. During that time, she met her future partner and husband, rap mogul Juan Perez.
Once Desiree Perez met and booked Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter for an entertainment engagement in 1997 while managing Onyx, the two developed a professional bond and friendship that lasts to this day. Considering Carter a mentor, friend, and business partner, Perez went on to help him realize and sculpt his vision of developing and maintaining a business empire that spreads beyond its origins, touching lives in multiple areas.
Together, Desiree Perez, Carter, and Juan Perez worked at the hip-hop landmark Baseline Recording studios. Later, the trio opened the New York City elite sports lounge called the 40/40 Club, which featured A-list celebrities. The club was a great success, launching locations in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, proudly hailed as the first black-owned business on the famous Las Vegas Strip.
With a shared vision and on the heels of non-stop success in their partnership, Perez and Jay-Z launched a series of enterprises in 2008 under the business entity entitled Roc Nation. The organization’s ventures include music publishing, record label operations, sports and artist management, and the launch of the “Made in America” Music Festival, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2021.
Today, Roc Nation has extended its reach to focus on philanthropic missions, starting by forming the Roc Nation School in Fall 2021. Perez has said of this venture:
“One of the guiding principles at Roc Nation is to pass on knowledge to the younger generation of leadership.”
She hopes to inspire hope and leadership in future generations through education and philanthropy.
Her lifelong passion for social justice has grown over the past years, especially with social media available as a means to connect, inform, and alert the public. According to Perez, social media is a great way to get the word out fast to achieve good outcomes.
Desiree Perez shows no signs of slowing down in her pursuit of entertainment industry innovation. She recently invested in a cutting-edge entertainment technology called SENSO tokens for the not-yet-released Social VR Platform Sensorium Galaxy.
Perez has embraced the remote and virtual path that the entertainment industry is taking, especially in light of the events surrounding COVID-19 and the uncertainty it brought to the world. As a pioneer in event planning and talent management, she is ready to continue taking on challenges, meeting each one with the latest innovations as solutions to ensure the public has the chance to experience the top talent in comfort and safety.
Asked how she stays on track with her many ventures, Perez shares that she has her own system and sticks to it no matter what. When new projects arise, she immediately integrates them into her workflow and carries on with her trademark blend of passion and organization. It probably comes as little surprise that Perez prefers waking up early, often around 4:30 AM, to take advantage of the silence and lack of distractions that whirl around her throughout the day.
She shares that, as she has gotten older, she has come to understand the value of listening to others. Perez believes that no matter where you are in your career, there is always room for learning new ideas and ways of doing things more effectively and successfully.
Some wisdom that Perez would like to share with those interested in following her path includes: writing everything down in lists, accepting feedback from experts and peers, and practicing a combination of patience and perseverance.
Perez loves the Anais Ninn quote, “Life expands in proportion to one’s courage,” and calls on it when she is tackling something new or experiencing a rough time. The quote helps her to keep moving forward. Fortunately, it’s clear that she has no intention of slowing down anytime soon. To learn more about Desiree Perez, find her on LinkedIn.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.