Beyond Vassar

Feeding Hollywood’s Newsfeeds

By Debbie Swartz

Sibyl Goldman ’92 says her love of Hollywood was ignited by childhood trips to the movies with her mother. That passion continued to grow at Vassar, where she connected with fellow movie-buffs. In her newest role, as head of entertainment partnerships at Facebook, she aims to build strong ties between fans and celebrities in television, movies, and music.

When friends use Facebook to commiserate about the death of a beloved The Walking Dead character, to get previews of the new season of Game of Thrones, or to hear the latest release from Beyoncé, Sibyl Goldman ’92 considers it a job well done.

In her newest role, as head of entertainment partnerships at Facebook, she is partnering with those who work in and with Hollywood—celebrities, athletes, film and television studios, entertainers—and helping them connect to their fans through Facebook. Goldman’s aim is to make sure clients are able to maximize their presence on Facebook—making it their go-to social media outlet. Do they have the tools they need, access to analytics, and the ability to share their content easily with fans? If the answer is yes, then Goldman’s division is doing its job.

“We can make sure the experience is great for them, and therefore great for regular people, like you and me, who love television, movies, and all of that stuff,” she says.

If you’re familiar with Facebook, you know that users actively “like” certain people, pages, and content, and this action in turn influences the appearance of their personal pages and “newsfeeds.” By the very nature of Facebook, people are able to connect more closely to the things they love, Goldman notes.

In order to do her job well, Goldman says, it is important to respect the programming she’s helping to support, whether
it’s a reality television show or an engaging documentary. “You have to truly love the content that you’re working on and respect it and the fans,” she says. “If you do, you’ll always have a really strong connection, across the board, with everyone you’re working with—studios, networks, and fans.”

Goldman’s own love of Hollywood was ignited by her first experiences with films.

“My mom took us to classic movies when my brother and I were kids. She even inadvertently took us to an R-rated movie when we were young—Animal House, which remains one of my favorite movies,” Goldman says.

Her love of film continued to grow at Vassar, where she was an American culture major. She recalls trips to see movies like Goodfellas—one of many memorable films she saw with fellow Vassar movie-buffs during college.

Goldman and friends Clare Bundy Haygood ’92, Lise Carrigg ’91, and Andrea Pyros ’92 were so enamored with film that they created a website in the mid-’90s called Girls on Film. They were motivated to put a female perspective on movie reviews, something that had typically been under the purview of men, she says. The site even inspired a book, Girls on Film (Harper Perennial, 1999).

Since then, Goldman says, she’s enjoyed her career, which has included roles as vice president of entertainment at Yahoo! Entertainment and, most recently, executive vice president of new media at Ryan Seacrest Productions. She thinks those experiences will bode well for the Facebook team she’s now leading.

“I love entertainment. I love connecting people to the stuff that delights them. I’ve been very lucky that I can share that passion and that delight with people,” Goldman says.

—Debbie Swartz