Senior Advisor, Societal Impact
Stephen is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning creator of social impact campaigns who partners with CEOs, executive teams, and philanthropists to tackle some of the biggest social challenges we face.
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. He also created MTV’s Social Impact Department, launched mtvU, and led MTV2, MTV.com, and LOGO to record highs.
During his 18 years at the network, Friedman developed “Choose or Lose” in partnership with Rock the Vote, campaigns that addressed genocide in Darfur and stigma around mental health, and the “It’s Your (Sex) Life” campaign, which helped increase STD testing nationally. Friedman also partnered with the National Campaign to End Teen pregnancy to ensure the shows 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom were cautionary tales, which together were credited with driving one-third of the recent steep decline in the teen birth rate by The National Bureau of Economic Research.
Before joining MTV, Friedman served as a Director for the PEN American Center, the international writers’ human rights organization. Friedman is on the advisory boards of Mic (Mic.com), the media company focused on Millennials and journalist Ron Suskind’s AI social impact business, Sidekicks. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Genocide Survivors Foundation and True North Media. Friedman holds a B.A. with Honors from Wesleyan University.
Leading Into the Unknown podcast, Stephen Friedman, Former President of MTV: How businesses can begin to embrace social impact