NEW YORK, Oct. 3, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Essence Communications, the leading media, technology and commerce company serving Black women, today announced the expansion of its executive team as the next phase of its post-acquisition transformation and growth strategy. In addition to promotions of its top leadership — President Michelle Ebanks to Chief Executive Officer and General Manager Joy Profet to Chief Operating Officer, Essence has created two new C-suite roles to lead the company's always-on content development and digital operations. Effective immediately, Moana Luu has been named Chief Content & Creative Officer, and Darline Jean has been named Chief Digital Officer.
"When ESSENCE announced our new ownership at the beginning of this year, we declared our independence - free to evolve with the diverse and growing needs of the women we serve and to transform to stay ahead of a rapidly changing marketplace," said Ebanks. "As we've continued to assess the needs of our business and our team, it became clear that a critical part of this transformation was creating a C-suite that allows us to meaningfully invest in the areas most critical to our future across content, creative, digital, commerce and technology, as well as to create a space where Black women can consistently have opportunity and see themselves at the highest levels of business."
Ebanks, who has been president of ESSENCE since 2001, has set a bold agenda for the brand to serve an engaged community of Black women. Most recently, she led the team that helped reestablish ESSENCE as an independent, 100% Black-owned business at the nexus of content, community and commerce. Ebanks has emerged as a foremost authority on women and the multicultural market, as well as a passionate brand steward focused on the cross-platform expansion of ESSENCE from traditional magazine media to an international powerhouse comprising digital, video, television and experiential. Under her leadership, the ESSENCE Festival now has the highest average daily attendance of any annual consumer event in the nation — attracting more than 500,000 attendees each year.
Profet joined ESSENCE in 2008 as General Manager and has responsibilities spanning the brands' strategic, financial, planning and administrative functions and its consumer touch-points across all media platforms. She also has direct management of the ESSENCE Festival and its international branded extensions, as well as the brand's newly formed Live Events and Experiential division.
In the role of Chief Content and Creative Officer, Luu will direct the creation and dissemination of content across all ESSENCE platforms, including the magazine, website, social media, apps, experiential, video and film/television. Luu will also develop the creative vision for ESSENCE and direct its execution across all platforms, partnering with various ESSENCE teams to identify new opportunities for audience and revenue growth. She will be responsible for overseeing the editorial and creative teams and will report to Ebanks.
"It's time to shift the perspective about who we are," said Luu. "We as Black women are one global community. We are from the United States, Africa, the Americas but also the Afro diaspora in Europe and around the world. I'm deeply honored to join Essence. It's an iconic brand with a talented editorial and creative team. Working together, I look forward to capturing the spirit of the global community of multicultural women by sharing their stories through a platform designed to amplify their voices. Women of color are changing the narrative in fashion, beauty, culture, entertainment, and importantly in politics, health and the environment."
As Chief Digital Officer, Jean will lead the company's development of innovative, new capabilities that expand ESSENCE's digital offerings and differentiate the brand as a content and commerce company in the marketplace, including building out an ad tech network and data and insights strategy, as well as reinventing ESSENCE's approach in a mobile-always world. In addition, she will work closely with the sales and marketing divisions to identify new sources of revenue. In this capacity, she will oversee digital revenue operations, audience development strategy, digital syndication/distribution, e-commerce and product development and will also report to Ebanks.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to work with ESSENCE's talented team and contribute to the brand's ongoing digital transformation," said Jean. "My experience in both digital media and advertising technology has given me an invaluable perspective, and I look forward to expanding our global audience at even more scale for what is already an iconic brand."
With unique experience in creative expression across mediums such as media, fashion and art, Luu has created and launched television channels, television programs, web applications, websites and magazines consumed by millions. Prior to joining ESSENCE, she served as Chief Creative & Brand Officer at TRACE Media Group, where she led the rebranding strategy prior to their acquisition by TPG. Previously, she served as a creative director and Chief Executive Officer of MOANA Luu Creative Lab, where she developed products and solutions for media companies, beauty professionals and fashion designers.
Jean has extensive experience in monetization strategy, digital media, advertising technology, data and analytics and finance and operational leadership. Prior to joining ESSENCE, she served as Chief Operating Officer for a programmatic advertising technology platform where she was responsible for driving successful business outcomes, and produced 200% revenue growth in a 3-year period. Darline has also held various C-Level positions including Chief Executive Officer for The About Group, while under the ownership of The New York Times Company. She executed the turnaround of the About.com brand and delivered operating stability and growth while overseeing the sale of the digital content company.
"The entire team at ESSENCE is thrilled to congratulate Joy, whose remarkable commitment and impact for more than 10 years uniquely qualifies her for the role of Chief Operating Officer, and to welcome Moana and Darline as two accomplished executives who represent a powerful duo of creative and digital industry leadership," said Ebanks. "Their combined expertise and experience, coupled with our incredibly talented teams, strategically position ESSENCE to continue to serve our global community of more than 17 million Black women deeply — reaching her where she is with compelling and authentic content that is always on, across every platform. We are continuing to build this team with dynamic talent across each of our verticals, and I look forward to welcoming even more 'powerhouses' in the near future."
About Essence Communications Inc.
Essence Communications is the number one media, technology and commerce company dedicated to Black women and inspires a global audience of more than 17 million through diverse storytelling and immersive original content. With a multi-platform presence in publishing, experiential and online, ESSENCE encompasses its signature magazine; digital, video and social platforms; television specials; books; as well as live events, including Black Women in Music, Black Women in Hollywood, Street Style and the ESSENCE Festival. Essence Communications is owned by Essence Ventures, an independent African-American owned company focused on merging content, community and commerce to meet the evolving cultural and lifestyle needs of people of color.
SOURCE Essence Communications Inc.