Desiree Perez, the social justice champion who serves as Roc Nation’s chief executive officer, has once again sought to use her company’s influence and expertise to lift up those in need.
On November 18, entertainment giant Roc Nation hosted a job fair at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. More than 6,000 people attended the event.
The intent was to provide an opportunity for social mobility among New Yorkers who want to work but had not had the connections or opportunities to find the right jobs.
Roc Nation, the global music, entertainment and sports management company, led the event in partnership with the REFORM Alliance, an advocacy organization for criminal justice.
Perez, who founded Roc Nation with longtime collaborator Jay-Z, said the event was an opportunity to help boost the New York economy but also to connect some of the best and brightest employees in the area with leading companies from around the country.
Approximately 10,000 jobs were available at the fair from more than 60 employees. Roc Nation and the REFORM Alliance were among those offering open positions.
Among the notable corporate employers that were interviewing applicants at the job fair were:
- Foot Locker
- The 40/40 Club
- Hot 97
- JP Morgan
- Live Nation
- Madison Square Garden
- The National Football League
- The New York Yankees
- Tiffany & Co.
- Union Square Hospitality Group
- Warner Music Group
Jobs offered were available at every skill level.
In addition to job opportunities, the job fair continued many of the themes that have been a trademark of Desiree Perez’ storied career – social justice, equity and opportunity.
The fair offered services and opportunities to build career skills. The services to boost career development were offered at no cost to attendees. They included interview prep, resume building and ideas for how to dress for success. Access to professional attire was also provided.
Organizers of the event provided haircuts and professional headshots for attendees. In addition, legal services providers were on hand to help formerly incarcerated people to expunge records to ease the job search.
Jadakiss, one of many notable artists Roc Nation represents, was on hand to provide some words of encouragement. He urged attendees to “keep your C.A.P. on” and focus on character, attitude and personality.
Many of the services offered focused on supporting those who had previously been incarcerated. Robert Rooks, CEO of the REFORM Alliance, noted that it is extremely challenging to get a job if you are on parole or probation. A felony conviction can lock you out of many opportunities, he noted.
Commitment to Justice and Philanthropy
Throughout her career, Desiree Perez has been focused on giving back. Prior to becoming Roc Nation’s CEO, she served for many years as the company’s chief operating officer. In that role, she developed and oversaw multiple programs focused on social justice and philanthropy.
She was also instrumental in the development of the REFORM Alliance, which fights for criminal justice reform, with a special emphasis on prisons and probation.
Perez established Team Roc, the company’s racial and social justice arm. The aim was to have a platform to provide support and amplify the voices of those who are traditionally underserved and marginalized by society.
Among the causes that Roc Nation and Team Roc have championed recently include:
- Sean Bell, who was killed in a 2006 police shooting. This was the first case that Roc Nation took on. Jay-Z established a college education fund for Bell’s children
- Montavious Smith, a Black man who was arrested at a Memphis shopping mall. Police claimed that Smith was wearing a hoodie, which was a violation of the mall’s dress code. When Team Roc took up the case, they discovered that the mall had a longstanding practice of discriminating against Black people via its dress code policy. Perez and her team got the mall to drop the policy, which led police to drop the charges
- Perez worked with families in the legal aid system to sue over inhumane living conditions on behalf of 150 incarcerated people at the Mississippi State Penitentiary
Perez has also helped to launch the Roc Nation School of Music, Sports and Entertainment at Long Island University and provided scholarship support to help New York students. Earlier in 2021, she was appointed to the board of The Parent Company, a California cannabis company. She leads the management of a fund to provide support for underrepresented people in the industry.
In 2019, she was named Executive of the Year by Billboard magazine at its Women in Music award ceremony.