Working Under the Bad Boy Banner Helped Henry 'Hen Roc' Polanco Rise in the Spirits Industry

Working Under the Bad Boy Banner Helped Henry ‘Hen Roc’ Polanco Rise in the Spirits Industry

Working Under the Bad Boy Banner Helped Henry ‘Hen Roc’ Polanco Rise in the Spirits Industry

Being able to work with a man who is known for his hustle and work ethic to become very successful is something no school can teach. Henry Polanco, known in the entertainment and spirits industry as Hen Roc, was able to start his long career working with the man behind the Bad Boy brand. Just like Sean Combs, Hen Roc was able to use the hustle and experience he obtained working with Combs to elevate his work in the music industry and now working within the spirits game.

The Industry Cosign had the chance to speak to Hen Roc about working with a Hip-Hop visionary in “Diddy” and how that experience and his quest to be the best helped him succeed in music and now the spirits industry.

Having transitioned from working music with Bad Boy Records for 15 years working alongside Sean Combs, how were you able to use that experience to do extremely well 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 business. Over the course of 15 years, I not only learned the music business but also the business of music.

I was surrounded by the best of the best and wanted to be among that elite group of music industry professionals who shaped and preserved the culture, so I worked extremely hard and did whatever it took. I worked across as many positions as possible so I could diversify my skillset and establish my name.

Because I wore multiple hats at “Bad Boy University,” as some of us called it, that allowed me to grow personally and professionally. I was laser-focused on winning so when I graduated, I took some of the same principles that allowed me to successfully navigate my career in music and applied them to jumpstart my career in spirits.

What led you to ‘take your talents’ to the Hennessy brand when you made that change?

It was all about timing. Working at Bad Boy was an amazing and unforgettable experience that I would never change, but after 15 years there I felt like I had hit a plateau.

I wasn’t looking for new opportunities at the time but was open to new challenges. I craved 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 the agency of record for Moet Hennessy USA, I followed through and accepted the position as Key Account Manager for New York, and the rest is history.

Working within the entertainment and spirits industry, what attributes do you feel are necessary to successfully navigate within those fields, and how does having an entrepreneurial mindset helpful while performing the duties you have?

In my opinion, in order to win in spirits, you need to have at a very minimum, basic sales and marketing knowledge and skills. You need to learn quickly, embody a teamwork mindset, and be able to communicate effectively with others. It’s also helpful to understand the culture of your target audience, be agile, and know how to adapt so that you can make smart decisions under pressure.

Most importantly, you need to be creative and know how to build and maintain relationships because relationships are critical to gaining access and opening doors as you move up the ladder in your career. Treat every relationship as a business relationship and never deviate from that.

You are in your second year of being the New York State Manager for Camus Cognac, the brand that has been around since 1863, how do you use your experience in the nightlife scene to make a brand with longevity matter, specifically to the “Urban” audience?

I was hired by Camus Cognac because of my spirits experience and because of my relationships that extend beyond spirits, into music, film, fashion, sports, politics, art, and even community development. Because my relationships are endless, I’m able to authentically tap into new audiences for Camus Cognac that will stimulate trial, and keep the brand relevant and top of mind.

As an entrepreneur who has worked with different brands over the course of your career, what advice or suggestion would you give someone who aspires to be successful for many years?

Read, listen, and learn. ALWAYS LISTEN MORE THAN YOU SPEAK! Be open to new ideas and don’t block traditional practices because that is how we got here! Respect the foundation because there is significant value in knowing 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 gaps that exist between generations and cultures.

How does a college computer science major end up a successful executive within the entertainment and spirits industry?

Honestly, my heart wasn’t in computer science, so I decided to follow my true passion and pursue music. Honestly, I didn’t know where I would land or exactly what I would do, but I knew that I needed to do something that I loved and that I had a true passion for music and entertainment.

What’s next for Hen Roc?

My personal goals will always include elevating my family and leaving a legacy for them. I will continue to strive for personal and professional growth as I search for a better version of myself. Professionally, I look forward to refreshing the roadmap that takes Camus Cognac to the next luxury level. I want to continue to open doors for new talent and breed fresh ideas for many years to come.

Working Under the Bad Boy Banner Helped Henry ‘Hen Roc’ Polanco Rise in the Spirits Industry

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