Networking Is Vital to Television
Success, Says Alumna
After Annette Lellis-DeFonzo ’92SVC arrived at St. John’s
University, she followed an entirely different career path from the
one she had envisioned. Currently a Field Production Manager at Bloomberg Television,
Annette originally was interested in pharmacy. After two semesters,
however, she decided it was not the right fit.
For a time, Annette’s major went undeclared, and she took a number
of liberal arts courses for the next few semesters. By chance, she
was enrolled in a class on the fourth floor of Marillac Hall, where
Television Center is located. Intrigued, she peered inside one
day and never looked back. “I was instantly smitten.”
Annette switched her major to
Communication Arts. She joined the Television Club and landed a
part-time job at the Television Center, assisting professors with
their classes. “I jumped in with both feet. I wanted to learn as
much as possible,” she said.
As a senior, Annette was elected Production Coordinator of the
Television Club, a job that, in many ways, echoed what she does
today. In that role, Annette was responsible for staffing crews for
remote and studio projects done by club members.
Annette also served as a Board Member at the Television Club, which
helped her develop a strong sense of how an organization operates.
“I enjoyed being a part of the decision-making process.” This
insight has served her well throughout her career.
At Bloomberg, Annette is responsible for coordinating live
satellite trucks, crews and “live-shot” studios all across the
country. She does the same for Bloomberg’s New York City satellite
trucks, crew and in-house personnel.
Networking, Annette said, is an essential element of her industry.
“It’s really who you know that gets you in the door so you can use
what you know.” Many of the jobs she’s held came through
professional contacts, she added.
At the outset of her career, Annette considered becoming an editor.
“I loved the creative process. I liked taking a pile of tapes and
creating a short story.” However, she soon learned that her talents
Prior to her position at Bloomberg, she worked full-time at the Ad Council, Metrovision Production Group
and Magno Sound and
Video. She also has freelanced as a producer.
Annette has worked hard to help fellow St. John’s alumni. “It’s a
tough industry to break into,” she observed. “We all know somebody
somewhere. We’ve all worked in many different places. It’s a finite
industry in New York City. It takes perseverance.” She added that
it isn’t enough to have connections: Professionals also need to
develop a solid reputation among their peers.
While her job can be stressful, especially on a day when important
news is breaking, Annette said she thrives on the pressure. Most of
the requests she handles are to locate live-shot studios for guest
interviews on that same day or the next. Large-scale, multi-camera
live shows and interviews are also quite common, and require lots
of time and logistical planning — and create more pressure.
Annette maintains a strong connection with the University,
regularly attending Television Club reunions and alumni events. A
glance at her desk reveals a St. John’s mouse pad. She proudly
wears her class ring, and the lanyard holding her Bloomberg ID
prominently features the St. John’s logo. “St. John’s,” she says
with a smile, “was the best time of my life.”