Debra Lee, former CEO of BET Networks, Shares Her Story & Lots of Advice in New Memoir
11 Mar 2023
Debra Lee, former CEO of BET Networks and an APB speaker, has just released her new memoir, I Am Debra Lee. One of the few Black women to achieve the position of a chief executive in corporate America, Lee shares her remarkable journey from a girl raised in the segregated South to leading the first Black company traded on the New York Stock Exchange and how she juggled social responsibility while managing a company targeted toward the Black community. And as she has done for the majority of her life, Lee also offers lots of advice along the way.
“I wanted young people to know if I can do it, they can too … and they should dream big,” she told Robin Roberts in an interview on Good Morning America.
In her autobiography, she answers all of our questions about building an unapologetically Black enterprise as a Black woman. What to do when you’re forced to attend a board meeting eight weeks after a C-section. How to manage a team of men when you’re the first female CEO at the company. How she learned the hard way to say no to those in power when their vision didn’t align with her purpose, plus much more.
During her 30-plus-year career, Lee was regarded as one of America’s most respected business executives. Her many honors and recognitions include being named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment, Billboard’s Power 100 and Adweek’s Disruptors list. She is the first and only woman to receive the Grammy’s Salute to Industry Icons Award on behalf of her contributions to American music and culture. She is a recipient of the EBONY Power 100’s Chairman’s Award and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s Leadership Vanguard Award. Lee has also been inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame and the American Advertising Hall of Fame.