Folio:'s annual Top Women in Media Awards were created to celebrate, inspire and bring together the women who make magazine media such a dynamic industry. Each of our honorees have made a lasting impact on their brands, organizations and markets, carving out leadership roles that keep our industry moving forward.
Corporate Visionaries are the individuals who are charting a new course for their organizations. Women who bring the strategy and put it into action. The honorees are…
Michelle Ebanks serves as president of Essence Communications Inc., a leading media and communications company dedicated to African-American women. It is comprised of diverse media and entertainment properties with a total brand reach of 14.2 million, including Essence magazine, the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women; Essence.com, the award-winning, daily online destination for African-American women; and the internationally renowned Essence Festival, one of the largest consumer live events in the nation, attracting more than 550,000 attendees to New Orleans during July 4th weekend.
To say that the brand has thrived under Ebanks' leadership is an understatement. Ebanks joined Essence in March 2001 as group publisher. She is at the helm of all sales efforts and leads the way in business transformation; positioning the brand for new audiences and diversifying revenue streams within an evolving media landscape. Her efforts have successfully redefined the multicultural market with Essence-branded insight studies—including partnering with Nielsen to jointly release The African-American Consumer 2014 Report. The two brands surveyed 10,000 people for this custom study to find out what matters most to African-American consumers.
Under Ebanks’ tenure, Essence ranked #3 on Advertising Age's 2015 prestigious Magazine A-List, which annually highlights brands that are pushing publishing forward.