Black women are leading the charge in creating space for diverse voices and ideas to be heard and implemented in the media. Over the last few decades, we’ve witnessed them take on leadership roles at global companies and forge their own paths to spearhead the changes they’ve yearned to see in the industry. Black women are taking the much needed initiative to develop and showcase more inclusive content across the board. These seven women are transforming the media, marketing, and advertising world by showcasing the power of multicultural media and investing in multicultural creators and consumers.
Award-winning marketer, businesswoman, and DEI strategist, Lauren Wesley Wilson, is a communications and media trailblazer on a mission to help women of color secure senior positions in the industry. Lauren primarily focused on political communications over the course of her career in PR. She served as the Communications Director for Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Communications Strategist at international media relations and crisis communications firm, Qorvis, and a Media Strategist for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign. Lauren founded ColorComm Inc. in 2011, a platform dedicated to women of color in communications and committed to addressing diversity and inclusion across the industry. Originating as a luncheon of 34 women, ColorComm Inc., has expanded into multiple subsidiaries that now serve over 100,000 professionals of color.
Taylor Rooks is an Emmy-nominated sports broadcaster, reporter, and anchor for leading sports media outlets, Bleacher Report and Turner Sports. At the age of 29, Taylor is now recognized as one of the best in the business of sports broadcasting. She’s well known for her illuminating interviews with superstar athletes and entertainers. With nearly 1,500 interviews and sports reports under her belt, Taylor has interviewed a slew of legendary athletes including Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant. She was one of only a handful of journalists invited to cover the NBA bubble in 2020 and her insightful coverage landed her a feature in GQ’s “Men of the Year” issue. Taylor’s ability to compel her guests to speak honestly about real life has propelled her career forward over the last decade and she’s only getting started.
Creative, travel influencer, and self-proclaimed maven of culture, Shannon Washington, is a creative visionary with over 10 years of experience developing brand and consumer experiences for a variety of industries, from wine and spirits to technology. Throughout her career in advertising and marketing, Shannon served as an Executive Creative Director at Deustch, Senior Creative Director & Strategist at Time Inc., Digital Creative Director at Grey NY, and Digital Creative & Strategy Director at Gotham Inc. She is now the SVP Executive Creative Director at R/GA New York and Head of Creative for founders of the largest Black-owned wine company in the U.S., the McBride Sisters. Beyond her professional success, Shannon is a Co-Founder of Toni, a social community for Black women in advertising and marketing, and Founder of Parlour Travel, a lifestyle travel platform for Black women.
Donye Taylor is a digital strategist who has leveraged her brilliant insights into millennial and Gen Z culture to establish herself in the advertising and marketing industry. As Co-Founder and CEO of creative media agency The Digital Footprint, she assisted an array of brands in developing unique and refreshing voices from her cultural perspective. Donye recognized that she had a niche and heavily sought after skill, which led her to head her own social media consulting business, Tailored Consulting. As an advocate and amplifier for Black creators, Donye sat on the Fohr advisory board working with the company to level the playing field for creators of color. She was recently named Director of Creator Initiatives at Fohr, making her the first ever to occupy this role for the company.
SVP of MSLGroup, Veronica Marshall, is a communications and marketing pro with 16 years of experience under her belt. Credited with the unique ability of crafting compelling stories that “inspire people to listen, learn and take action,” she has managed award-winning campaigns for world-renowned brands including M&M’s, Audi, P&G, Walmart, Invisalign and many more. In addition to making strides in her professional career, Veronica serves as an activist and change-maker in the world of communications. In 2020, she founded The Humanity Lab (THL), a global collective of industry professionals with a shared passion for amplifying and impacting the anti-racism, pro-humanity agenda. Committed to mentoring the next generation of marketing professionals, Veronica shares her knowledge as a guest lecturer and adjunct professor at Howard University, American University, and Johns Hopkins.
Ukonwa Ojo is an award-winning marketing vet with a two-decades of experience building top global brands. Over the course of her career, she served as CMO of Consumer Beauty at Coty and M.A.C Cosmetics, and held several general management roles at renowned companies including Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser PLC, and General Mills Corporation. Her notable performance in delivering creative, action-driven campaigns have been recognized through over 50 awards and honors including AdAge 50 and A List, Adweek 50, Business Insider’s Most Innovative CMOs, and several more. Ukanwa now serves as CMO of Amazon’s Prime Video and Studios, where she leads innovative global brand and original marketing for the e-commerce giant.
Imani Ellis is the Founder and CEO of The Creative Collective NYC, a community and platform dedicated to facilitating brave spaces for multicultural creatives. Since its founding in 2016, The CCNYC has become the fastest-growing community for creatives of color in NYC looking to foster lasting connections. Imani’s desire to bring together creatives and entrepreneurs of color inspired one of the now most highly anticipated multicultural media conferences, CultureCon. With roughly 10 years of experience in media and PR, she has a proven track record of innovation and execution. Imani currently serves as the Director of Communications for Unscripted Entertainment Publicity at NBCUniversal, spearheading press strategy for shows including Emmy-Nominated Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, The Real Housewives franchise, and E! News.
Kayla Johnson is a Brooklyn-based writer, content creator, and marketing professional with a passion for diverse representation in media and entertainment. Connect with her on socials @kaylabriana_ on Twitter and @__kaylabriana on Instagram.