Henry Polancoknown in the entertainment and spirits industry as « Chicken Rock“, began his long career working with the man behind the Bad Boy brand. Sean CombsHen Roc was able to use the hustle and experience he gained to elevate his work in the music industry and now in the spirit game.
BLACK CORPORATE spoke to Hen Roc about his work with a hip-hop visionary”Didiand how that experience impacted his quest to be the best and helped him succeed in music and keeping minds alive.
How does a college computer science student become a successful executive in the entertainment and liquor industry?
Honestly, my heart wasn’t in IT, so I decided to follow my true passion and pursue music. I didn’t know where I was going to land or exactly what I would do, but I knew I had to do something I loved and had a real passion for music and entertainment.
How did you use your experience working at Bad Boy Records for 15 years alongside Sean Combs to succeed in the spirits industry?
I started working at Bad Boy Worldwide at a very young age. I worked hard, listened, watched and wanted to learn everything there was to know about the music industry. In 15 years, I not only learned music but also the profession of music.
I was surrounded by the best of the best and wanted to be part of that elite group of music industry professionals who shaped and preserved the culture, so I worked extremely hard and did everything what was needed. I held as many positions as possible, which allowed me to diversify my skills and establish my name.
Because I wore many hats at “Bad Boy University,” as some of us called it, it allowed me to grow personally and professionally. I was focused on winning, so when I graduated, I took some of the same principles that helped me successfully navigate my music career and applied them to jump-start my spirits career. .
What led you to bring your talents to the Hennessy brand?
It was all a matter of timing. Working at Bad Boy was an incredible and unforgettable experience that I would never change, but after 15 years there, I felt like I had reached a plateau.
I wasn’t looking for new opportunities at the time but I was open to new challenges. I was hungry for growth opportunities and wanted to learn new skills, so when I got the call from my dear friend Aria Wright, who was associate vice president of referral agency for Moet Hennessy USA, I followed and accepted the position of key account manager for New York. The rest is history.
What Attributes Are Needed to Successfully Navigate the Entertainment and Spirits Industriesand how much does an entrepreneurial spirit help?
In my opinion, to gain wit, you need to have, at a minimum, basic sales and marketing knowledge and skills. You must learn quickly, be a team player and be able to communicate effectively with others. It also helps to understand the culture of your target audience, be nimble and know how to adapt so you can make informed decisions under pressure.
Most importantly, you need to be creative and know how to build and maintain relationships, because relationships are key to accessing and opening doors as you move up the career ladder.
Treat every relationship as a business relationship and never stray from it.
You are in your second year as New York State Manager for Camus Cognac. How do you use the experience of the night scene to make a lasting brand matter, especially for urban audiences?
I was hired by Camus Cognac because of my experience in spirits and my connections that go beyond spirits in music, film, fashion, sports, politics, art and even community development . Because my connections are endless, I am able to authentically tap into new audiences for Camus Cognac who will drive trials and keep the brand relevant and at the top of their minds.
As an entrepreneur who has worked with different brands throughout your career, what advice would you give to someone who aspires to succeed?
Read, listen and learn. ALWAYS LISTEN MORE THAN YOU TALK! Be open to new ideas and don’t block traditional practices because that’s how we got here! Respect the foundation, because it’s important to know how things were done before technology revolutionized the world.
Develop your own style and challenge yourself every step of the way. Be disciplined, believe in yourself, lead with integrity, establish and practice good habits, and find ways to bridge the gaps that exist between generations and cultures.
What’s next for Hen Roc?
My personal goals will always include raising my family and leaving them a legacy. I will continue to strive for personal and professional growth while seeking a better version of myself. Professionally, I look forward to refreshing the roadmap that will take Camus Cognac to the next level of luxury. I want to continue to open doors to new talent and spark new ideas for many years to come.