Ericka M. Pittman is a modern day fixer and expert problem solver. Her creative mind and strategic way of thinking makes her one of the best brand developers in the business.
Pittman is Vice President of Combs Enterprises, owned and operated by Hip Hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, where her and fellow female staff fondly call themselves “Bella Mafia.” Prior to joining Combs’ agency (then known as Blue Flame) in 2009, she received her degree in Corporate Communications from Baruch College in New York City.
Pittman has worked with multiple media companies, including Radio One, Inc, Time Inc, Conde Nast and VIBE Media Group. Currently sitting at the helm of Mr. Combs’ executive team, Pittman is charged with overseeing the growth and direction of Combs portfolios. Top-tier brands under the company’s umbrella include Aquahydrate, Combs Wines & Spirits (CIROC, Deleon Tequila), REVOLT and Sean John. Each of which, Pittman works closely with C-level executives to ensure business objectives and deliverables are being met.
HERSource was able to interview this outstanding woman and find out more about her journey and background in business entertainment.
The Source.com: What exactly inspired you to begin your profession and when did you officially start?
Ericka M. Pittman: I officially started my career journey in 1996, when I took a job at a company named iVillage.com. I’ve always been a marketer for as long as I can remember and I have been blessed to have held positions in my field for quite some time. Just recently I discovered the power of community dialogue and education surrounding Women’s Empowerment, and I am working toward launching initiatives that support these new found passions.
What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far and why?
It’s funny because in a long life cycle of a successful career, I would imagine the answer to this question will continue to evolve as I continue to put new wins on the board. Today, the answer to this question has to be when Sean Combs appointed me to my current role at Combs Enterprises. This role did not exist previously and he felt that I was the best person for the job. It’s truly an honor. I am excited and eager to do my job everyday as a result.
How has your life changed since you began your journey and what are you expecting next?
My life is constantly evolving for me. The journey began from the time I was born; to that end, my life has changed drastically since then. I was born and raised in NYC and I currently reside in LA. That’s drastic, to say the least. I am expecting nothing short of greatness in my next phase of life. I look to continue to break ground and trail blaze the way for women who come after me.
What characteristics do you believe are important to have in order to be successful?
Integrity, perseverance and patience are vital to longevity and success. Integrity comes into play in every aspect of life both personally and professionally. If you do what you know to be right, fair and just for yourself, your employer, employees, partners and relationships, you anchor yourself as a person of worth with everyone around you, including yourself. A person of worth usually has value and will be rewarded accordingly. Perseverance is vital to achieving success. You have to push yourself beyond unreasonable limits to achieve new and groundbreaking things. Unreasonable goals require unreasonable staying power and commitment. Patience is the magic sauce in most things. Time is its own boss—you cannot speed time up or slow it down. It just is what it is and you have to respect that things simply take a certain amount of time to manifest. A child born before 40 weeks is in life danger and a child born after 40 weeks is in an equal amount of danger. You lose your front teeth at 5 or 6, not 7. It simply is what it is and if we can respect time and the order of things, we can plan according get prepared and be patient.
For the young generation inspired by your achievements, what advice could you offer to those pursuing a career in the entertainment industry?
Find yourself some integrity, perseverance and patience. People forget I have been in this business for over 20 years and have held several positions that lead to my current role. I have been with Combs Enterprises for seven years, and it was a six year journey of excellence that created the space for my current role. Be Great. Work Hard. Do Good. And you will get everything you deserve. Are you operating at 200 percent every day? If not, then start there first.
What prominent individuals in entertainment would you compare yourself to?
I have developed a great relationship with Suzanne DePasse over the past few months. It is uncanny the similarities in our professional experience—her with Barry Gordy and building the Motown empire, and me with Sean Combs at Combs Enterprises. We have a ton in common and I am blessed to have access to her wealth of experience knowledge and success.