Inside Audible

St. Jules Desir is Opening Doors for Others to Thrive at Audible

Audible employee St Jules Desir appears against a gray background wearing a blue suit, white button down shirt and pink and silver patterned tie. He is looking directly at the camera and smiling.

St. Jules Desir is the happiest he’s ever been in his career. A big part of that, he says, is having a sense of ownership in the work he does. “Across other organizations, finance is considered a support role for marketing teams,” he specifies. “At Audible, I’m considered a finance partner, making decisions with marketing.”

Desir wants others to know what it’s like to feel this valued and empowered at work, so he’s been paving the way for talented, passionate people who may not have traditional advantages by connecting Audible recruiters with nonprofit organization The Consortium. “Part of The Consortium’s mission is to get underrepresented minorities into executive boardrooms,” explains Desir, through reducing financial barriers to business education, providing a supportive network, and creating opportunities for internships with top companies.

Desir discovered the organization while he was working in finance at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and looking to pursue his MBA. The Consortium is open to any MBA applicants with a record of promoting inclusivity at school, in their jobs, or in their personal lives, and it helped Desir to apply to several top-tier MBA programs simultaneously with a common application. Once he was accepted to USC, via The Consortium, he received a full scholarship. “It changed everything for me,” says Desir.

Each year, The Consortium holds an orientation fair before the school term begins, in order to get students in front of companies early on. Desir secured a post-graduation internship with Google’s finance team before his MBA program even started. Following that, he stayed in Los Angeles for another three years, working in consumer goods, advising on products tied to films and TV shows. Desir loved working in entertainment, but he and his wife had two young children and wanted to be closer to their families, who are in the Northeast, so he shifted that passion to Audible, joining the financial insight team in October 2019.

Using budgets and revenue forecasting, Desir’s team helps the marketing team understand the best return on investment for spending, for instance on campaigns around releases. The team also works across the business to create strategic collaborations with other entities to build broader awareness of Audible. But what Desir enjoys most is the highly supportive culture and opportunities for growth.

“I was given ownership so early on, it was surprising,” says Desir. “What’s special about Audible is how much access I have to senior leadership and high-visibility projects.” He credits Audible’s Senior Director of Finance Frank Aburto, “probably the best manager I’ve ever had,” for encouraging Desir to feel more empowered in marketing decisions. As it happens, Aburto is a fellow alum of The Consortium, having obtained his MBA at Cornell with the organization’s help after serving in the Army. Now he’s supporting other veterans and first-generation college students through leadership coaching and mentorship.

Like his manager, Desir is committed to opening doors for others. Shortly after he came onboard, Desir recognized that The Consortium’s mission and Audible’s workplace culture of Spectrum and Belonging were a perfect fit. Also, he points out, “The finance team needs more MBAs, and The Consortium is an amazing way to get that pipeline.” Once he connected our talent and recruiting teams with The Consortium, Desir says, “our organization moved extremely fast” and now actively sources Consortium MBAs for open roles and internships.

Desir is bringing his experience to an additional role, as co-lead of the Black Employee Network (BEN), one of Audible’s employee-led impact groups. “BEN has done an amazing job creating a strong culture and community within Audible and I just want to expand on that,” he says. Desir plans to focus on careers: “I look forward to helping members think about what they want to do next and what that progression could look like.” Early in his career, Desir heard leaders talk about how they got to be where they are, and he wants to inspire others in the same way, through panels where people share their journeys and what they’ve learned.

Although Desir has loved some things about working remotely, especially getting to see his three young children as they grow, he also enjoys being in person with his colleagues as part of Audible’s Hub + Home hybrid model of working. “Just being in the office, the camaraderie we had; we worked hard but it was a lot of fun as well.” Either way, he still gets to make the most of “the best perk ever,” which is access to Audible’s content. “I listen to so much stuff now,” he laughs.

Between offering career guidance and inspiration to BEN members and connecting Consortium grads with roles at Audible, Desir is ensuring others have the help that was given to him and knows that they, in turn, will do the same. “If you bring people like me to the organization, we’ll put more back into it.”

St. Jules Desir’s current listen:

I’m currently listening to The Sandman: Act II. I was used to one-person productions before, but with this, all the different actors and voices and sounds, it brought me into a different world. I felt like I was listening to a movie. It’s so vivid and visual.

The Sandman: Act II cover art
The Sandman: Act IIBy: Neil Gaiman, Dirk Maggs / Narrated by: Neil Gaiman, James McAvoy, Emma Corrin, Brian Cox, Kat Dennings, John Lithgow, Bill Nighy