This story is part of Billboard‘s annual 40 Under 40 list, which spotlights the young executives who are pushing the music industry forward.
VP philanthropy, SB Projects
Musicians always say they want to make a difference in the world, and Shauna Nep literally does just that, pairing pop stars with nonprofits and social justice platforms to achieve meaningful — and measurable — results. The 34-year-old explains a job title unlike any other.
So, what exactly do you do?
With every launch at the company, there’s always a question of, “How can we use this moment to give back?” My role is figuring out the best way to do this. What resources do we have to allocate? Who are the best partners to work with? What do we want that to look like? It’s designing those initiatives.
How do you measure success?
To me, a successful campaign has a good [return on investment] — in terms of funds raised, voters registered or petition signatures — along with the impact of changing hearts and minds. The latter is less measurable, but we’re responsible for a lot of the culture change that we see. I take that seriously.
What have been the highlights?
Demi Lovato auctioned off her own artwork and outfits with Propeller. To enter, fans took action on certain issues — petitioning with [racial-justice organization] Color of Change or taking courses on handling a mental health crisis. Fans took over 270,000 actions. But I’m most proud of our partnership with [voter registration nonprofit] HeadCount on Ariana Grande’s Sweetener World Tour. It was amazing to design it with Ariana and create something so authentic to what she cares about. It had clear metrics, too, so it was a home run in terms of activating a fan base and working directly with a client. By the end of the tour, [we had] more than 33,000 voter registrations.
Do these initiatives bring in money?
Scooter [Braun, SB Projects founder] loves to joke that the rest of the team’s job is to make money while mine is to give it away. Making money isn’t one of my goals. My [return on investment] is really the impact we’ve created.
Should every company have a vice president of philanthropy?
Yes. It has never been more important to be thinking about how we use our resources for good. I know these are tough times, but if giving back is everybody’s job, then it’s nobody’s job. It’s worth investing in having someone do this work and give it its due diligence. Social good can’t be an afterthought. It needs to be front and center. If it’s not, your team will know that.