Tuning into a corporate counsel career with Claudia Teran of Fox Networks Group

“When I was in kindergarten and got the usual question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ the response was always the same: ‘I want to be a judge,’" says Claudia Teran. Photo: Michael Becker

Claudia Teran—recognized in 2008, and again in 2011, by The Imagen Foundation as one of the most influential Latinos in entertainment—is the executive vice president, business and legal affairs, and deputy general counsel for Fox Networks Group. Today, she oversees a team of 28 professionals tasked with handling the business and legal affairs needs for many of Fox’s domestic and international cable and broadcast networks and properties. Her parents are Bolivian nationals who lived all over the world prior to moving to the United States—something that sparked an early interest in languages: she speaks English, Spanish, and French. She hasn’t traveled to Bolivia in many years, but adds, “It’s one of the locations on the holiday travel list that I’m really hoping to get back to soon.”

Did your parents ever have trouble getting you to do your homework?
Homework wasn’t the problem. From a young age, I was a voracious reader. If you ask my parents, they are likely to say the problem was getting me to put the book down, or better yet, to turn off the flashlight that I was using to read after bedtime.

What drew you to the law?
When I was in kindergarten and got the usual question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” the response was always the same: “I want to be a judge.” I had no idea what it was to study the law or, worse yet, that you needed to be a lawyer to be a judge. I was really lucky, because even without that knowledge, that initial interest steered me in the right direction. Of course, I ended up nowhere near a courtroom life. As a young lawyer, I quickly realized that working on deals in a business setting was far more appealing to me.

Did you ever consider doing anything else?
In all honesty, no. I’ve been very lucky. My role at Fox has included both business and legal functions. My job is constantly evolving as we are always looking at new business models and expanding into new arenas. As a team, we are always moving at high speed and strategizing with our business executives about what we want to do next. My role continues to morph over time and that’s what keeps me enthused about it.

Are you a sports fan?
I am now! I started at a division called Fox Sports International, where a lot of the initial work that I did was focused on the acquisition and distribution of international-sports rights in the US and abroad, and it included a lot of day-to-day interaction with our Spanish-language sports businesses in the US and Latin America. Through that introduction to the business, I was immersed in world-class sports around the globe—and it made me into a fan. I’ve come to really enjoy it.

How did it feel to be recognized as one of the most influential Latinos by the Imagen Foundation and what has been the impact following this award?

It is a huge honor. Imagen is an incredible organization—and to be acknowledged by one’s own community, well, it is even more special.
The biggest impact has been an unexpected one: the opportunity that I’ve been given to advise and mentor others. The recognition really comes with [the] responsibility to give back and “pay it forward” by sharing the knowledge we’ve attained thus far.

How are you exercising this responsibility?
My primary focus is education and opportunity. Anything I can do to help young people in this regard—especially to motivate kids to stay in school and help them understand the importance of what they’re doing and how it’s going to impact their future—is important to me. If we can mentor people at the formative times in their development (and in their careers provide them with positive role models and help guide where they put their focus) it goes a long way to help counteract a lot of the negative stereotypes and pressure from society telling them they won’t achieve their hopes and dreams.

What are your future goals?
Personally, I’m negotiating with my mom to motivate her to train for a marathon together! We’ll see … Professionally, I’ve been very lucky to be in a position that presents me with a constant brainteaser. It feels like every morning there’s a new device, a new delivery system, something changing in the way people are consuming media, or another change to the existing business model. I love those continual challenges—they create amazing opportunities.

Get to know all of Hispanic Executive‘s “Best Of 2012” Recipients here.