From intern to C-suite: How Roc Nation’s co-presidents worked their way up the corporate ladder

BY Preta Peace Namasaba February 1, 2024 10:16 AM EDT
Shari Bryant and Omar Grant. Photo credit: Variety

Shari Bryant and Omar Grant, the co-presidents Roc Nation have worked their way up from interning for Jay-Z and Beyoncé to leading the multimillion-dollar entertainment company. The executive duo personifies the qualities that are needed to climb the corporate ladder. Through hard work and sheer grit, they have leveraged the available opportunities to achieve their dreams.

An early star, Bryant began her professional career as a teenager. She was invited to intern at Roc-A-fella Records by its cofounder Damon Dash who lived in the same building. He knew her passion for music videos and introduced the 16-year-old to the business of music. The work was far from glamorous and included tasks such as getting coffee and ordering lunch, but Bryant learned a lot.

“When I walked into that company in 1999, I never looked back because I was able to see women that look like me and it made me feel a sense of belonging. I saw my mother, I saw my aunt. Not literally, but that’s what the representations stood for me at that time,” Bryant told Fortune of her internship experience.

The internship developed Bryant’s confidence as she saw herself represented among the company’s employees. She learned how to multitask and built on her confidence. Her outstanding intelligence, talent, and work ethic were noticed by the people in top management. When Roc-A-Fella dissolved, Bryant briefly joined Def Jam, where Jay-Z was President.

Grant interned for Beyoncé’s longtime publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure while still a freshman at Adelphi University. He took the job very seriously and was consequently introduced to the singer’s father, Matthew Knowles. Grant worked as a road manager for Destiny’s Child and managed on Beyonce’s “Dangerously in Love” tour. He served as creative director of urban A&R for EMI Music Publishing, senior director of A&R at Epic Records and eventually joined Roc Nation.

“I treated that internship like it was a real job because I fell in love with just everything about it. I fell in love with the artists coming through, the way people move, the way they wrote. When they started Roc Nation, probably like the first year in, they were looking for A&Rs and building their team. They remembered me because I always kept in contact, I always saw them around, and it just kind of came full circle,” Grant said about how he fully maximized opportunities from his internship.

In 2019, Bryant and Grant were named co-presidents of multimillion-dollar entertainment Roc Nation Label. The duo have climbed up the corporate ladder, earning a reputation as industry veterans. Bryant has held a series of senior executive positions at Warner Bros., Atlantic Records, MMG, and most recently Alamo Records where she held the role of general manager and partner.

While Bryant is highly experienced at marketing, Grant’s strength lies in A&R. The pair are collectively utilizing their skills to support artists and develop the next generation of legacy artists. They are carrying out the momentous task of revamping the label through not only boosting the talent roster but also developing strategies for currently signed artists. This multifaceted approach is propelling the label forward with acts such as Willow, Maeta, and Rapsody and executive talent behind the scenes.