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ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT

ZACH MARKS, CLASS OF 2010
Coordinator, Global Artist Strategy & Audience Development, Artist & Label Services at Spotify

What are you doing now? Spotify is in 65 different countries and has 80 people working directly with the artist, their record labels, and management partners, to help tell the artist's story and keep Spotify culturally relevant and growing. Each country has their own specific strategies and I help make sure our narrative is cohesive and has the same general strategies and goals in mind as the artists and record labels. I have been fortunate to travel to Cuba, Croatia and throughout Europe as part of my job.

How did Weber set you on your path? I have always been interested in music. I am probably somewhat unusual because I was singularly driven on what my end goal was in 9th or 10th grade. Because the odds of succeeding as a musician are incredibly remote, I wanted to go into the business part of music. I started looking at universities with a music program and NYU was perfect. Not only did it have a major in Music Business, but it also offered access to internships and incredible networking opportunities in New York.

What was special to you about Weber? The laid back atmosphere allowed me to listen to and play music whenever I was not in class. There was a student community that was interested in the same stuff. We often discussed a variety of artists and styles of music. Weber created and supported a culture of openness and discord that went beyond music. Whether it was geopolitical views, music, or which artists we should support, Weber allowed us, even encouraged us, to have healthy contrasting opinions and express our differences. We explored and debated these differences in positive ways without shutting down an argument. I am grateful, after the fact, that Weber really fostered this culture of critical thinking that frankly does not exist in a broad spectrum across education at any level.

How did Weber inform your Jewish life today? Because of Weber and my upbringing, there is such a strong tradition to debate. There are no right answers to many questions. Therefore, it forces an individual to challenge what their principles are on a constant basis to avoid dogmatic reactions. Judaism is good at avoiding that dogmatic way of thinking because it encourages a healthy level of scrutiny to any information that exists. That is definitely a big part of who I am and what informs the decisions I make professionally and personally.

What were your favorite Weber moments? Shabbaton was fun particularly in the context of music. It gave me a sense of being part of a larger community.

As an alum, what advice would you give to recent graduates? The world does work in general progressions. Don’t get too discouraged if things are not working out in a single moment of time. Don’t let your ego get in the way of being happy. Never feel you are above doing anything. Never feel you are too good to be at a certain level or take a certain job. Eventually, you will get to where you want to go. Don’t think, “What if I fail?” Build your universe around your passion.