Vanguard Awards: Government & Community Relations: DeDe Lea

DeDe Lea was named executive vice president, global government relations of Viacom in January 2006. She is responsible for setting public-policy strategy for the media firm and leads the company’s worldwide government-relations team. Based in Washington, D.C., Lea reports directly to Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman.

Lea is being honored this year with the Vanguard Award for government and community relations. This award recognizes individuals who have had a significant impact on promoting a positive public image and advocating public policy positions for the cable industry at the national, state and/or local levels.

Lea is responsible for the government-relations activities of MTV Networks (MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Comedy Central, CMT, Spike TV and TV Land). She has held several senior government-relations roles at the company between 1997 and 2004 and again from 2005 to 2006. She served as VP of government relations at Belo Corp. from 2004 to 2005.

Before joining Viacom, Lea held a variety of positions with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), beginning as a legal intern in 1991 and ultimately serving as senior vice president of government relations. Prior to joining the NAB, Lea held sales and account executive positions with television and radio stations in Washington, D.C., including WTTG-TV and WDJY and WRQX radio.

Lea played a pivotal role in pushing for the 1992 Cable Act and the 1996 Telecommunications Act rewrite. She also pursued strong piracy protections for TV programmers and helped block various lawmakers’ efforts to auction digital spectrum and impost content regulation on broadcasters.

She received a law degree from Georgetown University in 1993 and graduated cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in broadcast management from Howard University in 1985.

Lea lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, a physician, and her sons, ages 7 and 9.

Fun Fact:

When the Beatles Rock Band video game, developed by Harmonix and distributed by MTV Games, came out in 2009, Lea got on stage during a launch party in Washington, D.C., with other media players and politicos to celebrate and rock the house with Beatles tunes.