Gerald Feldman, BA’70
In the late 1960s, Northeastern middler Gerald Feldman walked into the corporate office of Allied Advertising Agency seeking real-life experience in the industry. Some 42 years later, he is the chairman of the Boston-based advertising and marketing firm and an active voting member of the Motion Picture Academy.
A movie aficionado, artist, and self-proclaimed "doer," the young Northeastern University student began commuting over one hour each way for his inaugural co-op, where he assisted with client presentations, sorted letters, delivered papers, and pulled press clippings. "When I started in the mailroom of Allied, it was not for the money," Gerry says. "I simply wanted to be in advertising. I was following my heart, and it was part of the challenge of doing what you love."
Eager to understand the behind-the-scenes of this Mad Men advertising world, he made himself readily available to assist overwhelmed account executives and became an integral part of the company. In total, he spent three of his co-ops at Allied, and even worked part-time while back at Northeastern to maintain his role at the firm.
After graduation in 1970, Allied Integrated Marketing (formerly Allied Advertising) hired Gerry full time as an account executive. During his tenure, he represented more than a dozen large auto and retail accounts, but felt most at home with the entertainment and film clients. "I loved the pace and creativity of the industry. I really enjoyed working with actors, directors, and producers, and loved the challenge of making the movies we worked with successful."
Throughout his career, Gerry has served the company in various executive roles, working his way up from the mailroom to the boardroom. Today, Allied is the largest entertainment advertising, publicity, and promotions company in North America, serving film, television, home entertainment, consumer, and live theater clients, among others. Their portfolio of present and former clients includes Universal, Comcast, Walt Disney, HBO, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Fox, Miramax and Lionsgate. The company has 20 offices and more than 300 employees in North America.
On his decision to attend Northeastern: "I was not a good student; in fact, I was reluctant to even go to college. My father didn’t receive a degree and was adamant about me choosing a different path. I loved to do more than to learn, and I was drawn to the alternative learning model at Northeastern that allowed me to do both: work and study."
On the value of co-op: "Because of Northeastern, I am who I am today. Because of my co-ops, I was able to discover my passion and turn that into a lifetime career. I followed my heart and it has surpassed my wildest expectations."
Advice for students considering Northeastern’s unique co-op education model: "Don’t do something because you think you will make a lot of money. Do what you will enjoy, do what you love…the money follows. The challenge of doing what you love—and succeeding at it—is part of the path."
On why he is inspired to support the university, its students, and faculty: "I can't imagine where I'd be today if Northeastern wasn't there to help guide me in finding my career path. Hopefully, by supporting the university philanthropically, I can help another student fulfill their dreams."