Michelle Ebanks serves as chief executive officer of Essence Communications, the leading omnichannel media, technology and commerce company dedicated to Black women, with a global brand reach of over 17 million. Through the development of creative media and entertainment properties, Ms. Ebanks is setting a bold agenda for Essence to serve an engaged community of Black women who are joyful, independent, socially conscious and culturally aware. Most recently, she led the team that helped reestablish Essence as an independent, 100% African-American-owned business. At the helm of Essence since 2001, Michelle 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 is now the country’s largest annual consumer event, attracting over 450,000 attendees, with support from the world’s top enterprise partners. Through diverse storytelling, empowering images and transformative original content across all platforms, Essence is set to encompass Ms. Ebanks’ vision for the triumph of everyday women. Before taking the reins at Essence, Michelle began a 15-year career at Time Inc. as the general manager and financial director for Money Magazine.