Work Friends

Anjali Sud


From an early age, Anjali Sud had an understanding that good business was more than a title, paycheck, or prestige. It was about impact. Growing up in Flint, Michigan, she saw firsthand how businesses impact the economic opportunities and livelihoods of their communities—the effects of which can be felt for generations. This led her on a path of ambition, seeking roles where she could learn the most, eventually to the CEO position at Vimeo at 33 years old. And just last year, Sud left the company, where she’d been for nine years prior, to take on a new role brimming with potential: CEO of Tubi.

Sud is now leading the largest free TV and movie streaming service in the country. As with her previous experience, her approach starts with understanding the customer first and foremost. Where streaming is concerned, that means envisioning what the future of entertainment looks like, especially for those who are more likely to find it on TikTok. As for impact? Sud’s not just leading a team to success, but finding purpose in this chapter of her career by leading from a place of authenticity and setting an example for those who look to follow.

"I am unapologetic about being ambitious and impatient because I don't think it's at odds with what helps make a business great."


My parents are immigrants from India, and I was raised very much with that American dream mentality. My parents left their families and their communities to come and give their kids an opportunity to achieve their dreams. And so I was quite ambitious at a young age to do something with that opportunity. 

I grew up in Flint, Michigan, which shaped me quite a bit. At one time Flint was the epicenter of the auto industry, and then ultimately as that industry left, there was a real and lasting economic impact on the local community. Growing up in that environment I saw the impact business could have on jobs and livelihood, schools, education, healthcare, everything. I developed a desire to do something in the realm of business as a way to ultimately have a positive impact on my community. And my father is, among many things, an entrepreneur who runs a plastics recycling plant in Flint. My earliest memories as a kid are being on the plant floor, watching my dad take so much pride in being able to create blue-collar jobs in our town at a time when that was really needed. So that was the first part of forming my desire for what I wanted to do.


The thing I've learned is that you can create your own opportunities, and we can all reinvent ourselves at any stage in our careers. The only intentionality I had early on was that I wanted to learn, I wanted to grow, I wanted to be ambitious. And I would say from the time I was 21—my first job—through the day I became the CEO of Vimeo at 33, I was that way. I thought, “No one's going to create a career path for me. I need to create my own.” I went from being a toy buyer to being a marketer to selling diapers online to running a global video platform.


I think, especially as a woman, there's something uncomfortable about saying that you're ambitious or you're impatient. It sounds almost selfish. But I've always thought of my own learning and development as inextricably aligned with my ability to add value to a business. The more I am learning and growing as an individual, the more I can give to make the business successful. So I am unapologetic about being ambitious and impatient because I don't think it's at odds with what helps make a business great. If you—and I say this now as CEO and as somebody who hires and promotes people—see somebody who wants to learn and take on more and is willing to be accountable and bet on themselves, it's your job to channel that in service of the business. I'll take that kind of person any day.


People often ask me about what I did to become the CEO of Vimeo. The truth is, until the minute that the job was offered to me, it never even occurred to me that it was a possibility. If I look back at the series of events, it's some serendipity, but it’s also me putting myself in a position where Icouldbecome a CEO. When I got to Vimeo, I was in a VP of marketing role—very middle management—so my first task was to understand our customers. I spent a lot of time talking to the humans that we served and listening. Every year at Vimeo, I knew job number one was to keep talking to customers and to have a pulse on what mattered to them. In my role, that's so important.


It was an incredibly hard decision. My time at Vimeo was an incredible gift. It was never work for me. It was always a labor of love and I still feel so much love for the team and the platform. 

One day I woke up and realized that I was no longer the only person who could lead Vimeo. And I'm really proud that we got to that place where we had built a strong foundation that would endure. We were six years plus into a new strategy that had found its footing. I'd given 80 to 90% of what I could give and felt that Vimeo deserved a fresh perspective at the top. It's healthy for the business and me personally. I like keeping my learning curve steep. I like being out of my comfort zone, and I felt like it was the time to just take on something totally unfamiliar and new and unlock another level of energy from me. I felt that would also enable Vimeo to unlock another level of energy.

I also feel very strongly that, as leaders, we have to recognize that when you do your job, the company is much bigger than the CEO. You want people coming in, you want fresh perspectives, you want to pass the baton. So it just felt like the right time and, of course, some of it was serendipity with another opportunity coming my way that I just got really excited about.


When I joined Vimeo, video was going through quite a lot of potential disruption and change. And where there's disruption, there's opportunity. I got excited about that and I spent almost a decade thinking about how to empower video creators, the people behind the camera, to be able to tell their stories and reach their audience. What attracted me to Tubi was a similar opportunity to empower audiences. You've got cable and traditional television facing considerable headwinds. You have the traditional Hollywood ecosystem that is clearly being challenged, from strikes to layoffs. This is an industry that's going to go through real evolution and structural change.

The next generation of audiences, they're on TikTok and YouTube, they’ve probably never had a TV to begin with. And the types of stories and storytellers that resonate with this audience are different. [Streaming] felt like a very rich environment to be able to develop a strategy that could help shape that future in a way that will ultimately, I hope, have a positive impact. Tubi, specifically, has a lot of characteristics that make me super energized. Many people may not know, but it's the most watched free TV and movie streaming service in the U.S. and it's growing organically. It serves a lot of the audiences that aren't well served by expensive premium subscription services, and it has a more diverse, more multicultural, and younger audience.

I'm betting that Tubi can become a real destination for the next generation of audiences. In order to do that, you have to be willing to do things differently. It feels like an opportunity to create, to invent, and to disrupt, which is my kind of thing. That's why I'm doing it. I considered taking time off. I considered starting my own thing. Again, this isn't just a job for me. This is more of a mission and a desire to shape an industry for the better.


I've evolved so much here! In my twenties, I honestly felt like my style and appearance was a major impediment. I once applied for a job in investment banking and the feedback was, “You don't seem like you have the personality of an investment banker.” And I went through a really tough period where I felt like I couldn't be myself at work. I cut my hair short and I dressed like a man. I tried to look like what I thought people wanted to see, for them to see me as a credible leader. After having the opportunity and the privilege to be a CEO, my view has completely changed. Today I find being 100% authentic incredibly empowering. Leadership doesn't look one way and I embrace my differences. When I show up differently that's, frankly, an advantage.

It's not just appearance and style, it’s the way I talk, it's the things I talk about. I had two children while I was the CEO of Vimeo, and I talked about how I was feeling throughout that journey. The more I feel like I can be myself, the more I find it's empowering for me, and it's empowering for my team. It enables us all to be less filtered and more open and honest, which enables better decision-making.

For anybody who's ever felt intimidated or scared for being seen as different, know that I was, too. I sincerely hope that we are entering a phase in the world where fewer people are feeling that way. When you are yourself—whatever version that is—that is power. And if you're in a position to set an example, then set it for the people who work with you, around you, or are just following your work.

Knit Maxi Dress in Mercerized Cotton | Black
Knit Maxi Dress in Mercerized Cotton | Black
$450 View Product

"When you are yourself—whatever version that is—that is power."

She’s Worth a Follow

Find Anjali on Instagram.