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Xavier Magazine | November 18, 2017

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Alumni Profile: Jonathan Herman

By Michael Shaw

Jonathan Herman
BSBA in Marketing, 1993
Executive Director, Allan Houston Foundation
New York, N.Y.

hermanWhat’s in a Name? | “I’ve been fortunate to develop a variety of philanthropic programs for pro athletes and entertainers including [New York Knicks assistant GM and former NBA All-Star] Allan Houston, [NBA Hall-of-Famer] David Robinson, [actress] Eva Longoria, [NFL cornerback] Eric Wright, [NBA All-Star] Chris Paul, [music industry pioneer] Russell Simmons and others.”

Major Decisions | “I was recruited to Xavier on a soccer scholarship, but ended up not playing. I was attracted to the business school and became a marketing major.”

Playing the Player | “I learned sports marketing with the athletic department, which was producing the ‘T Time’ ads promoting Tyrone Hill. The department became concerned about potential NCAA violations using real players, so I played the role of an XU player in a television commercial. They sprayed me down to look like I had been sweating and used so much water that for years afterward people would ask me if that was real sweat.”

A Real Class Act | “While at Xavier, I founded a club called UNITE, which brought together students of various ethnicities to break down racial and social barriers. I also led the student effort to establish E Pluribus Unum [a mandatory cultural diversity class], so I guess I’m partially responsible for anyone who had to take that class.”

The Law and the Bubble | “After graduation, I was offered a scholarship to go to law school at Northeastern University. I never planned on being a lawyer, but I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity. By my last year, I knew I wasn’t going into practice, so I started a dot-com that provided music and entertainment online. After the dot-com crash, we morphed into a marketing firm. One of our first clients was Houston, who eventually asked me to oversee his non-profit and for-profit activities.

Charitable Credentials | “I managed his foundation for about 10 years and was then asked to work with an organization called Living Cities, which is a collaboration of some of the largest philanthropic organizations in the country, including Bill and Melinda Gates and the Ford Foundations, to provide guidance for celebrities and entertainers who want to do philanthropy the right way.”

App the Expert | I’m also involved with iChannel Media, a mobile technology company working with celebrity experts, major brands like Johnson & Johnson and non-profit organizations to create mobile networks and channels distributed through apps. It’s always exciting to be part of a start-up on the cutting edge.”

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