Vanessa Leon is part of the Emerson Class of 2004. Currently, she is the Director of Marketing for Growing Generations!

Hailing from South Florida, Vanessa made her way up to Boston, Massachusetts to attend Emerson College, graduating in 2004. While at Emerson, Vanessa DJ’ed for 3 years at the Coffee House on WERS.

Vanessa obtained her degree in Audio/Radio with a minor in Journalism. With her experience and education in hand, Vanessa trekked to the West Coast, arriving in the great state of Nevada. She then joined Growing Generations, an organization passionately dedicated to the vision of creating life and, in the process, changing the world through surrogacy & egg donation. Vanessa started her time with Growing Generations in 2008 as a Case Management Coordinator, climbing the ranks to become a Client Development Specialist (later to the managerial level), and now she is the Director of Marketing.

Now, Vanessa is working on getting her executive MBA at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is accompanied by her partner Megan, a fellow Emerson Alum, and their two rescue dogs (more likely up-and-coming Emerson alumni too😉🐶).

Vanessa Leon04 with her partner Meghan McManus, a fellow Emerson alum, Class of 2009
Dogs! Dogs! Dogs! Vanessa is out with her two rescue dogs! 💜
Vanessa with two fellow Emerson alumni from the Class of 2004, Mark Daniel Snyder (Left, dark shorts) and John Forier (Right, light shorts)

The following is a transcript of the video.

Hi. My name is Vanessa Leon. Emerson College, class of 2004, where I majored in audio radio with a minor in journalism. My pronouns are she, her, and hers, and I am currently the director of Marketing for Growing Generations, which is a surrogacy and egg donation agency. I’m also actively pursuing my executive MBA at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where I currently reside with my partner Megan, and our two rescue dogs. Coincidentally, my partner is also an Emerson alumni, but we met playing in an adult recreational kickball league in Los Angeles.

What drew you to Emerson College?

So what initially drew me to Emerson was that in high school I was part of a radio, film and television production technology magnet. I thought I always wanted to go work in radio. So the idea of working at WERS really appealed to me, and I was fortunate enough for three years to be a morning DJ on the coffee house in WERS and it was by far the best experience I had in my entire time at Emerson. I also like the idea of going to school in cute little brownstones. I know the campus is rather different from when I attended, but I was able to walk across the Boston Common to either go to class or go to work in the costume shop on Brimmer Street. And those are things that I’ll never forget. And lastly, the inclusivity that Emerson has to offer for students who are LGBTQIA. That was really important to me growing up in South Florida. I didn’t really have that, and it was something that I was looking for when I was researching colleges

In what ways has your degree helped you in your career?

My degree itself has helped me immensely. Having a communications degree really made me feel as though I was equipped to talk to anyone about anything, anywhere. And that’s been really an asset for me working in third-party reproduction because I get to talk to people from all walks of life on different paths to parenthood. Some that have experienced trauma, some that haven’t, some that have children already, some that don’t. So it’s really allowed me to be able to connect with different people from all over the world because we’re able to work with clients who reside domestically and internationally.

Are there any words of advice or encouragement to LGBTQIA+ Emersonians about to embark on a new journey? (Job, internship, college, post-college, etc)

For any words of encouragement to any LGBTQIA students, whether you’re pursuing your education, internships, jobs, just know that you belong in every room you step into. There going to be a lot of times that you walk into a room and nobody looks like you. That’s okay. Diversity of thought is an amazing thing. Just know that you belong there and you deserve to be there and never lose sight of that.

What has been your proudest/fulfilling professional highlight?

As for one of my proudest, most fulfilling moments of my career, I am on the National Board for an organization called Family Equality, whose mission is to advance the legal and lived equality for LGBTQIA families and advocating for them. And it’s something I’m really proud of, an organization that’s out there doing amazing things, especially given the current political climate of things in the United States and the world.

What advice will you give your younger self, personal & professionally?

As for any advice to my younger self, a couple of things. One, be of service. Be of service whatever you can. It’s going to be one of the most fulfilling things that you can do, helping others. And the second one, now that I am getting my MBA, is don’t forget that you’re actually good at math. Learn about financial investing, even though it can seem really tedious and boring. The role is always changing, but make sure to try and learn about those things as much as possible. So you can continue to set yourself up for success in the future.