Meridian International Center Welcomes Janet Blanchard and Michael Pickrum to the Board of Trustees

January 6, 2015
For Immediate Release

Contact: Monique McSween | (202) 939-5882 |


Washington DC: Meridian International Center is pleased to welcome Janet Blanchard, Founding Member, The Council on Women’s Leadership at Meridian, and Michael Pickrum, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of BET Networks to its Board of Trustees.

Janet Blanchard is a Founding Member of Meridian’s Council on Women’s Leadership. She spent over 20 years in public service in Michigan, Washington, D.C., and Canada. In Michigan, she worked in various management and administrative positions for the Departments of Education, Commerce, Civil Service, Labor, Management and Budget and the executive office of the Governor. Her career highlights include serving as Michigan’s deputy director of the Cabinet Council on Human Investment and co-chair of the Governor’s Telecommunications Task Force. She remains active in Michigan politics and community affairs. In Washington, D.C., in 1993, she served as associate director of presidential personnel in the White House for President Clinton. Ms. Blanchard oversaw appointments to part-time boards and commissions, making recommendations for appointments to the president.

In Canada in 2004, while her husband served as ambassador, she served on the board of the Centre for Studies of Children at Risk at McMaster University in Ontario and was active in community affairs in Ottawa. She was also directly involved in the planning and implementation of the president and vice president’s official visits to Ottawa.

In 2004, Ms. Blanchard served as protocol director for the dedication of the World War II Memorial on the Mall. She has served on the board of the Michigan 4-H Foundation and was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in 2009. Ms. Blanchard holds a B.A. from Western Michigan University.

Michael Pickrum is the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of BET Networks, a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), and the pre-eminent entertainment brand serving African Americans and consumers of Black culture globally. As Chief Financial Officer, he is responsible for managing the financial operations for BET Networks and plays a strategic role in the overall management of the company.

Prior to becoming Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Pickrum was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of BET Interactive, LLC. He was responsible for the development and refinement of’s successful business model, driving the site’s growth and accelerating revenue. He also facilitated the 2006 purchase of from the site’s original non-BET investment group. Under his leadership, has become a leading online destination for African American content.

Mr. Pickrum first joined BET Interactive in September 1999 as Vice President of Business Development for, where he expanded the site’s business plan and developed news concepts for market analysis and competitive analysis. Prior to that, he served as a telecommunications and Internet consultant with Mercer Management Consulting.

A native of Cincinnati, he holds an MBA in finance and entrepreneurial management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He also has a master’s of science degree in engineering-economic systems and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

Mr. Pickrum is the Treasurer for the US Chapter of YPO, Board Member of Charter Board Partner, and a member of the Federal City Council of Washington, D.C.

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About Meridian International Center
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Meridian International Center is a premier international leadership organization that provides valuable insight and experiences across borders, cultures, and sectors. Meridian works with U.S. Department of State, partners in the government, private, NGO, and educational sectors globally, to create lasting international partnerships through leadership programs and cultural exchanges. Meridian also connects U.S. and foreign governments with the private sector to respond to global challenges and sustain impact.

Meridian’s mission is to create innovative exchange, educational, cultural, and policy programs that advance three goals:

  • Strengthen U.S. engagement with the world through the power of exchange
  • Prepare public and private sector leaders for a complex global future
  • Provide a neutral forum for international collaboration across sectors


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