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McMahon Proves Invincible for WWE


TITLE: Chief Brand Officer, WWE

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: McMahon worked her way up the WWE ranks from an account executive position and was most recently executive VP of creative.

QUOTE: “One of the company values that’s been instilled in us by my father [Vince McMahon] is to treat each day like it’s the first day on the job. What that really means is to challenge the status quo.”

— Stephanie McMahon

Stephanie McMahon isn’t a villain. But she plays one on WWE Monday Night Raw, one of the highest-rated — and longest-running — cable shows.

McMahon’s evil persona on the USA Network series is a telltale sign that she is vastly different than your standard entertainment executive. She holds the title chief brand officer at World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which was founded by her parents.

Bonnie Hammer, chairman of NBCUniversal Cable Enter tainment and one of McMahon’s mentors, describes her this way: “She is first and foremost the daughter of one of the most physically big and professionally big guys in the world.” She refers to Vince McMahon, the chairman and CEO of WWE.


She also has a very big mandate. McMahon works with WWE’s business units to support key growth initiatives and, as global brand ambassador, represents the company among vital entities including government, advertisers, media, business partners and investors. She’s the primary spokesperson for WWE’s social-responsibility initiatives. And she’s a member of the company’s board.

McMahon works with her husband, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, a WWE wrestling star who also plays a villainous on-air character. He serves as WWE’s executive vice president of talent, live events and creative and is also a member of the company’s board.

The duo are jointly known as “The Authority” on Raw, but off -air, they’ve created a charitable fund called Connor’s Cure, which focuses on pediatric brain and spinal cancer research. It was named after a young WWE fan, Connor Michalek, who passed away from brain cancer. So far, the fund has raised close to $1 million.


As a result of her humanitarian efforts, McMahon was asked to join the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation’s board of trustees. Greg Barrett, president of the foundation, said that McMahon is not only a giver; she’s a doer.

Despite her heavy workload and travel schedule, “she can still find time to figure out how to publicize things for us — whether it’s fundraising or research findings. She’s able to fly at 30,000 feet and also be boots on the ground,” Barrett said.

“She’s an incredibly savvy, smart woman in a very, very male world, dealing with some of the nicest people in the world, but also some big, physical people. And she holds her own,” added Hammer in speaking of McMahon’s work at WWE.


The nickname that her brother, Shane McMahon, gave her — the Vincess — hints at which parent she most resembles. But she is proud to be following in the footsteps of another Wonder Woman, her mother, Linda McMahon. In fact, they are the first mother-daughter Wonder Woman combo in the history of the honors.

Linda, the one-time CEO of WWE, helped build the company into the powerhouse that it is today, with 11 offices around the world and annual revenue of over $540 million. She left WWE in 2009 to turn her attention to politics.

Stephanie McMahon said that she always wanted to have a role at WWE. “My parents were working round the clock. And one of the ways that I could relate to them, or even just spend time with them, was by being a part of what they did,” she said.

“I also happen to love the [wrestling] genre. It is storytelling. It is no different than a movie. It just also happens to incorporate incredible action, with conflicts that are settled inside a ring,” McMahon added.

She’s set some big goals moving forward. “I help support every line of business in our company. And our goals for 2016 are mainly focused on growing our [over-the-top] network,” she said. That effort includes transmissions of WWE’s live special events on the Web and via traditional PPV.

“Growing that subscriber base is game-changing for our company. We are already generating more revenue from our subscription service than we ever did, even in the greatest years of our pay-per-view business.”


She’s also focused on expanding the international business, with a special focus on India, China and South America. WWE reaches 650 million homes around the world in 25 different languages. However, “we’re looking to be more strategic in our approach and capitalize on all the different lines of business of WWE.”

While McMahon tackles all those goals, she and Levesque also are raising three daughters, currently aged 9, 7 and 5. Having a great team helps them to keep the home/work responsibilities manageable. She’s come to understand that “it’s never going to be an equal balance. There’s going to be sacrifices made, either on the business end or the personal end.”

She said her favorite times of day are when she’s taking the kids to school and putting them to bed. Around 10:30 p.m., she and her husband work out — sometimes until after midnight. That’s the way she relieves stress.

McMahon doesn’t take her own children’s future involvement in WWE as a given.

“They’re going to have to really, really want it,” she said. “I encourage them to pursue their dream no matter what it is. They just need to be willing to work hard for it.”