Blog / September 19, 2017

The ELC Hosts Its First Regional Women’s Leadership Forum In New York

On September 14th, more than 60 women members of The Executive Leadership Council (ELC) and their guests gathered at the Time Warner Center in New York, NY for a day of networking, learning and reflection at The Executive Leadership Council’s first-ever Regional Women’s Leadership Forum (Regional WLF). The Regional WLF event brought the benefits of our annual Women’s Leadership Forum closer to our ELC members. The ELC partnered with Turner for this half-day event, themed “Increasing the Visibility of Black Women Executives in Broadcast and Digital Media.” The event convened top business and media-industry experts who offered their insights on ways to navigate today’s complex media landscape to promote to your personal and professional brands.

Turner Chairman & CEO John Martin delivers remarks on behalf of Turner as the Regional WLF Presenting Sponsor.

Donna M. Wilson, Head of D&I Multicultural Marketing at Johnson & Johnson and Vice Chair of The ELC, delivered welcome remarks to kick off the event. She then introduced Turner Chairman & CEO John Martin who delivered remarks on behalf of Turner as the Regional WLF Presenting Sponsor. John acknowledged the importance of representation in the media and noted Turner’s role in increasing diversity on television. “We’ve set goals for diversity and inclusion throughout 2020. By 2020 we intend to increase diversity among our writers producers and creators,” said Martin.

The ELC’s EVP/COO Brickson Diamond delivered greetings to the group and provided an overview of the day’s agenda. The first session, “Expanding Opportunities for Women of Color as Subject Matter Experts in Front of the Camera,” was moderated by Diahann Billings-Burford, Executive Director, Cultural Investments at Time Warner, Inc. and featured Nima Ahmed, Director of Programming at CNN, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, former Mayor of The City of Baltimore, and Dr. Janet Taylor who is a frequent media contributor and television personality. The conversation focused on ways black executive women can advance their commercial, social and geo-political power and influence through the media. Each panelist shared personal stories on their first experiences with the media and stressed the importance of hiring a professional media coach to prepare you for media interviews. “If you want to be effective in the media, you need to present your message in a way that communicates exactly what you desire,” said Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Regional WLF Panel Discussion: Expanding Opportunities for Women of Color as Subject Matter Experts in Front of the Camera

The ELC’s Brickson Diamond later moderated an interactive session titled, “The Business of Television, Dollars & Representation,” which featured Molly Battin, Chief Brand Strategy Officer at Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Molly discussed her career journey, the many challenges and opportunities facing the television industry in today’s digital age and the business of media. Molly and Brickson challenged participants with a hands-on exercise in which attendees were separated into groups and asked to implement a business strategy and allocate marketing dollars to promote the new TNT series “Claws.”

Regional WLF Talk Back: The Business of Television, Dollars & Representation

ELC member Leilani Brown, Chief Marketing Officer at Starr Companies, moderated the final session of the day, “Expanding Opportunities for Women of Color Behind the Camera & Among the Executive Ranks at Media Companies.” The panel featured D’Angela Proctor, TV One’s Head of Original Programming and Valerie Meraz, Turner’s SVP of Content Acquisitions & Strategy. Both media executives gave insights on where ideas for content originate and what decisions are being made behind-the-scenes that shape the narrative of black women in the media. Proctor spoke about the importance staying true to her audience by providing relevant programming and content. Meraz acknowledged the influential power of social media and encouraged others to leverage that power to help shape the images of black women in media. “You don’t have to get someone’s permission to gain millions of Twitter followers. You can be the engine of your own digital enterprise,” she said.

Regional WLF Panel Discussion: Expanding Opportunities for Women of Color Behind the Camera & Among the Executive Ranks at Media Companies

The conversation throughout the day was intended to introduce and expose women ELC members who are not in the media industry to opportunities that will enable them to position themselves as subject-matter experts across broadcast, digital, print and social media. A special thanks to our 2017 Regional WLF sponsor Turner for their generous contributions in support of our inaugural event.

Click here to visit The ELC’s Twitter page featuring top tweets and photos from the Regional WLF event.

You can also click here to visit our photo gallery on Flickr and view additional photos from the event.