Katonah’s Samantha Durante Banerjee is a true go-getter. For two years, while studying at the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, she and a friend ran LiquidBooks.net, a full-service, Penn-wide consignment service for used college textbooks. “We were so inundated with books the second semester that we didn’t have to advertise,” the 27-year-old says.
At age 24, Durante Banerjee joined Microsoft as a software program manager for Microsoft Zune (now known as Xbox Music), the computer giant’s music platform, on Xbox LIVE. “I worked with a team of about 30 engineers to design the entire program from the bottom up,” says Durante Banerjee. “We decided what features would be in the application, what users could do to stream music. I was responsible for keeping a team of developers and testers on track, unblocking them from any obstacles they ran into, and communicating with management.”
Her achievements didn’t go unnoticed. Her performance reviews were always top-rated, and she and her team were given a Gold Star Award for one project.
In 2010, itching to be her own boss and wanting to be closer to her family, Durante Banerjee headed back to the Hudson Valley—she’s originally from Brewster, New York—from Seattle to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and life-long love of writing. She created the one-woman Medley Media Associates communications consultancy, with a client base comprising mainly small-business owners in Westchester. She runs the enterprise from her Katonah home office and whips up marketing materials such as blog content, press releases, email blasts, website copy, PowerPoint presentations, newsletters, and brochures.
“In working with Samantha,” says Ted Miller, president of DataKey Consulting, “we knew we now had the team to confidently tell a Fortune 100 company that we could take on their assignments, resulting in several six-figure contracts.”
As she was running Medley Media, Durante Banerjee also became one of The Business Council of Westchester’s “40 Under 40”—and wrote and self-published Stitch, a 75,000-word novel for young adults intended to be the first of a trilogy. It’s available on Amazon, where the reviews are averaging 4.4 stars out of 5. In mid-June, it will also be on iTunes and Nook. She’s already working on the second book, Shudder.
“I’m holding out hope that one day they get turned into movies” she says. Durante Banerjee, as usual, is aiming high.