Stephen Friedman is a Peabody and Emmy award-winning creator of social impact campaigns and an advisor to SYPartners and Chris McCarthy, President of the Entertainment and Youth Brands at Viacom, which include MTV, Comedy Central, the Paramount Channel, VH1, CMT and the Smithsonian Channel. He teaches the “Art of Creating Social Impact Campaigns” at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs.
Previously, Stephen was the President of MTV for seven years. He spearheaded MTV’s transformation into the cultural home of the millennial generation with more top-rated series for young viewers than any other network – including “Catfish,” “Teen Mom,” “Jersey Shore” and “Awkward.” During his 18 years at MTV, he created the social impact department, launched mtvU and led MTV2, MTV.com and LOGO to record highs.
Friedman developed “Choose or Lose” in partnership with Rock The Vote, and campaigns that addressed genocide in Darfur, stigma around mental health, bias and sexual health, including the “It’s Your (Sex) Life” campaign - which increased STD testing nationally. Friedman partnered with the National Campaign to End Teen Pregnancy to ensure the shows “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” were cautionary tales. The National Bureau of Economic Research credited both series with driving one-third of the recent steep decline in the teen birth rate, which now stands at a record low.
He serves on the Board of Directors for the Genocide Survivors Foundation, All Out and True North Media. Friedman is on the advisory boards of Public Allies and Sidekicks, an AI social impact business. He holds a B.A. with Honors from Wesleyan University.