An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Going for Bold: Citizen Airman opens doors for vets at NBC Universal

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Javier Lewis

Vince Tsang wants to hire veterans … and a lot of them.

From her office inside 30 Rockefeller Plaza, home to NBC Universal and iconic TV shows such as Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show and overlooking New York City’s most iconic real estate, the former advertising sales maven and now NBC Universal’s manager of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) is a driving force moving the decade-old organization from vet friendly to vet ready.

Tsang, a Reserve Citizen Airman technical sergeant and load planner assigned to the 88th Aerial Port Squadron at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, began her civilian career at Viacom Corporation’s pop culture factory, MTV Network, after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in advertising from Penn State University.

The excitement of a new job and the challenge of climbing the corporate ladder still left her with a desire to do more, a calling to service she vividly remembers experiencing on 9/11 as the plume of smoke and ash from Lower Manhattan was visible from her fifth-grade schoolyard.

“I wasn’t fulfilled,” Tsang recalled. “I dragged my feet and I wanted more.”

The Staten Island, New York native is no stranger to hard work. She cut her teeth in the hyper-competitive world of New York City advertising sales, a multibillion-dollar industry matching companies and brands to the millions of eyeballs across NBC Universal’s television brands, and digital advertising. She was born for this ... but she knew there was something more.

Her call to service would follow yet another significant historical moment, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 2011, which had previously prevented service members from being openly queer and serving without the threat of being discharged.

“I was in Air Force JROTC in high school and became the first female group commander and drill team commander,” she said. “I loved the discipline and working with others as a team. When the Air Force Reserve popped up, I was already two years into my corporate career. I did not know the Reserve was an option. I told the recruiter to ship me ASAP to the next training in San Antonio. I returned as a new person – refreshed, passionate and not afraid to fail.”

Tsang joined NBC Universal’s Global Advertising and Partnerships Division as a digital campaign specialist in 2015, and in six years has had three different roles in advertising, planning and operations. But as fate would have it, she almost turned down the opportunity of working at NBC Universal to pursue her dream of join ing the Air Force.  

“I was offered the job in my final interview, and I said I couldn’t take it because I would be gone for three months for military seasoning training. The recruiters at NBC Universal said, ‘that’s OK. When you come back, we will remember you.’ And I’ve been here ever since.”

She thrived in the fast-paced environment, finding ways to blend her passion for service and duty with the work that she was already doing as a Citizen Airman. Her service in the Reserve and the confidence to balance the rigors of training, deployments and time away from her civilian commitments gave Tsang the confidence to take a leap of faith to become a diversity leader and the first veteran in NBC Universal’s BOLD Vets initiative.

The NBC Universal Advertising & Partnerships’ BOLD Vets initiative (Building Opportunities for Leadership and Diversity) was born from a vision to influence, inspire and develop the next generation of leaders by anchoring diverse, high-performing talent at all levels through volunteerism and mentorship.

In 2019, in partnership with NBC Universal Advertising executives, Tsang helped launch BOLD Vets to complement the existing mentorship network and partner with other veteran affinity groups across the business. 

“Our leadership looked around in 2019 and thought, ‘we are missing something here … we need more veterans in the door and in this division,’ and from then, I came onboard,” Tsang said. “When BOLD Vets started, I was just another employee, and I didn’t know I was capable of doing much more outside of my day-to-day work. The Reserve already gave me a different hat to wear, and being in corporate and the Reserve gave me the confidence to live that second life.”

Tsang found a calling in serving a community she knew well and opening the doors to other veterans and Reservists. She would soon make her most significant career pivot yet.

“Somebody was listening to a BOLD Vets panel I was moderating about transitioning and mental health, and they approached me after and said, ‘you would be great as a manager of DE&I. You don’t have the credentials, but you have the compassion for people, so we’ll take a shot.’”

In her new role as DE&I manager, Tsang has sought out ways to pay it forward and open the door to more diverse candidates, including veterans. She credits her career and ability to adapt to change and get the mission done to build the credibility and trust of her leadership to create a pipeline for veteran hiring.

With a staff of around 35,000 across the company and more than 2,000 within her division, making meaningful change at such a large organization was no easy feat. While NBC Universal already provided opportunities for veterans, for Tsang, more was needed. She set her sights on ensuring veterans would find opportunities outside of traditional operational roles.  

“I think one of the challenges was getting our employees to understand that vets have core skills for jobs outside of operational roles and can integrate into any area of our business with the right support and training” Tsang said.

BOLD Vets’ largely civilian and non-prior service employee volunteers are equally committed to welcoming more veterans into the Advertising and Partnerships division. Since its launch three years ago, the initiative grew to include more than 40 employees who work to support, mentor and coach the growing number of vets coming through the door.

“BOLD Vets volunteers see this as a way of serving those who served us,” Tsang said. “It’s a way of paying their respects, investing in veteran talent and recognizing the potential, the leadership, the accountability and that that person will accelerate the organization forward in any capacity.”

That investment materialized in several new opportunities, including the inaugural BOLD Vets residency program, a one-year rotational program for veterans interested in a career in sales, marketing, strategy, planning and ad operations.

“My dream job would be to focus solely on veteran hiring and recruitment,” Tsang said. “It’s my specialty, my passion project, and I’m fortunate that my company allows me to do that now from this seat. I would love to expand that to onboarding, training, hiring and recruitment initiatives – everything that encompasses and integrates veterans into the corporate workplace is where I want to be.”

Tsang went from the first-ever BOLD Vet at NBC Universal Advertising and Partnerships to one of many veterans, many of whom she hires for roles in digital ad sales and planning. For Tsang, the transition from being an ad sales professional to being a manager hiring diverse talent wasn’t just another job or additional duty. This was the calling she had answered years prior.

“I used to sell ads, and I was good at it. But I wanted to do something more fulfilling,” she said. “My business is people now. I want to hire more veterans.”

To learn more about NBC Universal’s BOLD Vets initiative, visit  For Tsang’s video story, check out

(Lewis is assigned to the 88th Aerial Port Squadron at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.)