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Cheryl Pearson-McNeil


BA 1984, Communication

Senior Vice President Public Affairs and Government Relations, Nielsen (Chicago, IL)

Cheryl Pearson-McNeil has a proven track record of building brand awareness and managing the reputation of major businesses through public speaking and community outreach. Pearson-McNeil is the Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations for Nielsen, a global leader in measurement and information that measures what consumers watch and buy in more than 100 countries around the world. She holds responsibility for widening the scope of the company’s government, community, and corporate social responsibility programs as well as the company’s philanthropic commitment to multicultural communities.

Pearson-McNeil writes a humorous and informational, bi-weekly consumer oriented column that showcases the $967 billion buying power of the African-American consumer and includes empowering insights on how they can use it. It appears in more than 200 African-American newspapers across the country. And she is responsible for the development of The State of the African-American Consumer Report, Nielsen’s first comprehensive compilation of trends and insights of a multicultural demographic group and done in collaboration with The National Newspaper Publishers Association. She leads the company’s multi-million dollar diversity advertising strategy and its external African-American Advisory Council.

In 2011 the Chicago Tribune profiled her as a Remarkable Person, the Chicago Defender named her one of its 2011 Newsmakers of The Year, Diversity MBA Magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential Corporate Leaders, while Uptown Professional Magazine named her 100 Most Diverse Leaders and Chicago United honored her as one of their distinguished Business Leaders of Color. Pearson-McNeil has won numerous other awards and honors and is a much sought after lecturer and panelist on multicultural and diversity topics, as well as business and women-related issues.

Pearson-McNeil is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana.