Women really do run the world! With the five most powerful people in the UK at the moment being women, we wanted to highlight the admirable role models who are currently high up in the chain in top media organisations in the UK at the moment, who also happen to be women of colour.
Sharon White – Ofcom Chief Executive
Sharon White was born in London with a Jamaican heritage. She grew up in Leyton, and later graduated from Cambridge and UCL with a degree in economics. In 2014, she was appointed chief executive of Ofcom, the government-approved regulatory and competition authority for the broadcasting, telecommunications and postal industries of the UK. According to The Guardian, Sharon is the first woman and person of colour to lead the media regulator.
Vanessa Kingori – GQ Publisher
After studying management and sociology at Royal Holloway University of London, Vanessa Kingori explored many roles in publishing before finding her career path. In 2016, she became the first female publisher of British GQ, responsible for its commercial success, and the first black publisher at Condé Nast UK. Vanessa had previously worked at GQ for seven years, as publisher for GQ Style Magazine. Her previous professional experience also included fashion management for Esquire Magazine and working for the Evening Standard’s ES Magazine. She was bestowed an MBE on the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honors Lists.
Karen Blackett – Chair of MediaCom
Chair of MediaCom, the UK’s largest media agency, Karen Blackett was the first businesswoman to top the Black Powerlist 100 in 2015, when she was its Chief Exec. The ranking celebrates the most influential people of African and African-Caribbean heritage in Britain today. Karen worked at the organisation for 20 years prior to her promotion in 2010, and has since launched an apprenticeship scheme at MediaCom for disadvantaged young people looking to enter the media industry. Her hard work has helped MediaCom become Agency of the Year and in June 2016, Blackett was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Honours list for services to the media industry.
Anne Mensah – Head of Drama at Sky
Born to a Ghanaian father and a Canadian mother, 44-year old Anne Mensah was poached from BBC by Sky in 2011 to become its head of drama. Her professional career spans ITV, to the indie sector as well as a decade spent at the BBC. With Sky’s commitment to spending £600m on original content and four channels to fill, Mensah now presides over one of the biggest drama budgets in British television.
Her passion rests in ensuring that her customers are satisfied with what she is putting out their, rather than worrying whether they are getting enough viewers.
Poorna Bell – Huffington Post Executive Editor and Global Lifestyle lead
Award-winning journalist, Poorna Bell has worked in high profile print and online organisations for 14 years. She was appointed to her current role at Huff Post in 2013, where she is second in command leading a team of 42. Her job is not limited to her writing, but has also given her the opportunity to take part in judging panels for awards including Sony World Photography Awards, the Decibel prize for the UK Book awards and First Women awards. In May 2017, Poorna will launch her first book, Chase the Rainbow.