April 10, 2024

vicky free sistrunk headshotColumbia College is thrilled to announce Vicky Free Sistrunk, Chief Impact Officer of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as the Spring 2024 Commencement Keynote Speaker. Vicky’s dynamic career and life experiences (shared in depth through her professional biography) are sure to inspire and empower the Columbia College Spring Class of 2024 on their day of graduation, April 26, 2024, and beyond.

“Vicky Free Sistrunk is a proven expert in brand strategy, digital media, integrated marketing, branded content, consumer insights, and business analytics across various industries, including media, entertainment, quick service restaurants, consumer products, and professional sports with B2C and B2B experience. For more than 25 years, Vicky has helmed teams responsible for developing purposeful, innovative, and impactful brand and business-centered marketing strategies for blue chip global brands, including McDonald’s, Time Warner Media, VIACOM/BET Networks, The Walt Disney Company, adidas, and the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Vicky has built a reputation as a general management leader with solid business acumen adept at building a culture of innovation and growth through data-driven decision-making and collaborative leadership. With direct oversight for a wide range of budgets, she has successfully led teams to launch new brands and designed brand re-inventions that leverage deep consumer insights and digital-first media solutions that deliver market share gains, competitive advantage, and profitable growth.

A South Carolina native, Free holds an executive MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Carolina. Free has extended her leadership and business acumen through certifications with Harvard, UCLA, and Stanford. Vicky is a member of the executive board of directors for Promax, the biggest global entertainment marketing association, and actively supports many non-profit organizations focused on youth empowerment and exposure.

As a champion for strategic diversity, equity, and inclusion, she has launched and executive-sponsored employee affinity groups, community partnerships, and advisory boards to put these values into action. Vicky has been recognized by various global publications for her executive leadership and marketing expertise, including Forbes, Ad Age, ESPN, Ebony, UpTown, CableFax 50 Most Powerful Women & Minorities in Cable (2008-2016), NAMIC, Multicultural TV Leadership Awards, Promax BDA, Black Enterprise, The Network Journal, Media Play News, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., among others. Throughout her career, Vicky has been a mentor, sponsor, and coach to many young professionals to nurture their career into full potential.”

She and her husband, Christopher Sistrunk, Ph.D., are the proud parents of a precocious fur baby, Symba, and reside in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

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