Remember back in the day when we had to chronicle our “How I Spent My Summer” adventures at the start of every fresh new school year? Well, this week’s column is kind of a version of that as I share with you how I’m spending my summer with Nielsen. It’s pretty much how I’ve spent the last seven summers: traveling with my Nielsen colleagues across the country spreading the word about why you should care about research and the impact it can have on your lives.

Long before this column first appeared in your paper we were in your cities talking with many of you face to face. Sharing how Nielsen measures and analyzes consumer purchases and online, mobile and media use in this country and around the world. We are here because, here’s the thing—if it weren’t for people like you participating in Nielsen’s measurements, surveys and panels to provide that data—there would be no data. So, my summer work schedule is two-fold: First, I get to meet as many of you as I can (which is always fun), always trying to empower “us” with the knowledge that we are so powerful as consumers. With our $967 billion of annual spending power, how and where we choose to spend our hard-earned dollars counts big time. That number is projected to be $1.2 trillion by 2012.

Second, I am proud that Nielsen is a very active part of the communities in which we do business. A few weeks ago, Nielsen was a proud sponsor of the NNPA meeting in Chicago. I had the pleasure of speaking to the group and announcing Nielsen’s alliance with the NNPA, which makes it possible for me to “speak” with you right now. This week, I am In Los Angeles, as part of Nielsen’s sponsorship of the annual NAACP convention. We are hosting the Roy Wilkins youth luncheon because nothing is more important than educating and empowering our young people! (As the mother of a teenaged son, I know this firsthand.) Right on the heels of the NAACP is the annual National Urban League convention in Boston, where again, I, along with some of my colleagues, will have direct interaction with other African-Americans to help us understand and appreciate our power and influence.

Now, if any of you listen to the “Steve Harvey Morning Show” or the “Tom Joyner Morning Show” (I’m a huge fan of both), then you know that Nielsen works with both to help in their respective community outreach efforts. This is our second year sponsoring Steve Harvey’s Hoodie Awards in Las Vegas, Nev., in August. I love the whole concept of the Hoodies, which is to celebrate those “unsung heroes” in our neighborhoods; the “real stars of the community.” Nielsen’s role as a sponsor is to host an Interactive Expo. SHMS listeners also had the opportunity to win one of Nielsen’s 10 all-expense-paid trips to the weekend-long event, which culminates in the highly-anticipated awards show.

Then, we partner with the “Tom Joyner Morning Show” as a sponsor of the annual Tom Joyner Black Family Reunion in Orlando, Fla., in September. Listeners of the TJMS have the opportunity to enter to win an all-expense paid trip for four. Nielsen will be featured at the reunion with a booth, which is another fun opportunity to again engage us—the African-American consumer.

Also in September, Nielsen is again a sponsor of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. In addition to a booth where we can meet all of you, Nielsen has sponsored workshops and braintrusts addressing issues critical to the African-American community. Other national sponsorships include 100 Black Men of America and the American Black Film Festival.

I am proud of what Nielsen does and it is my honor to share with you in these columns all of the various Nielsen insights into our consumer behavior that I am privy to. Embrace your power, family! Hope I get to meet you this summer.

(Cheryl Pearson-McNeil is senior vice president of public affairs and government relations for Nielsen. For more information and studies go to

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