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Amy DuBois  Barnett

Amy DuBois Barnett

Chief Content Officer, theGrio.com & EVP Digital, Entertainment Studios


An award-winning content and branding expert, Amy DuBois Barnett has held senior leadership roles at ESPN, Ebony, Harper's Bazaar, Teen People, Essence and Honey magazine. She is currently the Chief Content Officer for theGrio, a leading digital media brand that serves the African-American audience, and EVP, Digital for Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, theGrio’s parent company.  Read More >

Prior to Entertainment Studios, Barnett was recruited by ESPN to lead the development and launch of The Undefeated, a new digital brand focusing on multimedia content for a millennial audience of color.

Before ESPN, Barnett was the Editor-in-Chief of Ebony, (audience of over 10 million). At Ebony, Barnett executed the publication’s first top-to-bottom redesign in its 68-year history to critical acclaim. She introduced key revenue-generating editorial franchises as well as groundbreaking content packages, including “Saving Our Sons,” which led to a partnership with the White House on a series of public town hall events. In addition, Barnett re-conceived and re-launched Ebony.com and developed a cross-platform marketing strategy for the brand.

Under Barnett’s leadership, Ebony’s achieved rate base grew by 11% in 2011 and Ebony.com’s unique visitors grew by over 800%. During Barnett’s tenure, Ebony also won a record-breaking 28 Salute to Excellence awards from the National Association of Black Journalists. In 2011, Ad Age listed Ebony as one of the 25 fastest growing magazines in the country and subsequently featured Ebony as a 2012 Magazine Brand to Watch. minOnline listed Ebony as one of the top five advertising gainers in the industry for the June 2012 issue.  Barnett was named the 2012 Media Executive of the Year by Target Market News. In 2013, she was included on the Folio 100, a list that honors the most innovative and influential professionals in the media industry.

Prior to Ebony, Barnett was the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar where she managed both the print and digital editorial teams, and helped re-launch the brand’s digital platform. Barnett was also the Editor of Teen People, the teen version of People Magazine. With Barnett’s editorial redesign, Teen People grew to lead the teen category in audience (14 million) and reader satisfaction scores increased to their highest levels since the publication’s launch. Her groundbreaking redesign of TeenPeople.com made it the first media website to incorporate video into its regular content.          

Before Teen People, Barnett served as Editor-in-Chief of Honey magazine (targeting urban millennial women) where she oversaw a major redesign of the magazine that doubled its rate base and generated national buzz for the previously unknown brand.  She also launched Honeymag.com and integrated the brand’s online and print content. Prior to Honey, Barnett was with Essence magazine, heading up the publication’s style content and lifestyle departments. She was also a founding editor of the luxury style website, FashionPlanet.com, and its sister magazine, Fashion Almanac.

Barnett has appeared weekly as an on-air correspondent for CNN’s American Morning and has been featured on many national television shows including The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, The Early Show, The Katie Show, Nightline, and on various programs on MSNBC, VH1, MTV and BET.

Barnett has a B.A. from Brown University, an M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing from Columbia University and a certificate in Fashion Merchandising from Parson’s School of Design. In 2014, she served as an Adjunct Professor of Management & Organizations at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management where she taught a class on digital media and marketing. Barnett is also the author of an NAACP Image Award-nominated advice book for women, Get Yours! How to Have Everything You Ever Dreamed of and More (Doubleday/Broadway Books). In addition, she is a published fiction author whose work has appeared in various journals and anthologies, and a professional public speaker. Barnett was on the board of the American Society of Magazine Editors for three terms, was a member of the Communications Coordinating Committee of the American Heart Association, and currently sits on the Brown University Media Relations Advisory Council.

For her work as a journalist and creative writer, Barnett has received the Trailblazer Award from the New York Association of Black Journalists, an Aldo award for fashion journalism from the Fashion Association, and a Hurston/Wright award for creative writing.

Barnett has lived in 12 cities on three continents and is fluent in French. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her twelve-year-old son, Max. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

At 2019 Billboard Culture Creators Awards with Byron Allen

African Americans and the Media

Saving Our Sons

Lecture at Northwestern University

Speech Topics

Get Yours! How to Have Everything You Ever Dreamed of & More

Do you want more from your job, your loved ones, your life? In this powerful keynote, Amy DuBois Barnett draws from her empowering advice book for women, Get Yours! How to Have Everything You Ever Dreamed of and More to give you the insight and encouragement to: Read More >

  • Identify and pursue your true passions
  • Achieve your professional goals
  • Accumulate real wealth.
  • Form unbreakable bonds with your family, friends and mate.
  • Let go of any negativity that may be holding you back.

Amy will share her seven “rules” to “get yours”: Read Less ^

  • Embrace fear as growth
  • Be true to yourself
  • Realize your value and demand the best
  • Put into the universe what you want to get back
  • Have integrity
  • Stay independent
  • Do something meaningful everyday

How to Develop or Redesign a Successful Brand

As a Chief Content Officer, Amy DuBois Barnett’s overarching role is steward of the media brand with the goal of growing audience and streams of revenue. Amy has spent the last 20 years creating and/or reformulating major national media brands. She has both served on launch teams for key brands as well as executed top-to-bottom redesigns of existing brands, including her critically-acclaimed redesign of Ebony Magazine. In this informative speech, Amy will draw from her personal experience and share valuable advice and tools to: start a new brand, rejuvenate an existing stagnant brand, figure out a target demographic, develop brand pillars, devise multiple revenue streams, effectively market your brand, serve as personal ambassador of your brand, use social media to your advantage, and more.

Leading with Bravery: How to Embrace Fear to Achieve Your Best Self

Embracing and using fear to drive toward your goals is the ultimate bravery. It is also a core ability of the most impactful leaders.  According to Amy Dubois Barnett, be a leader, you must be willing to take your business and/or art into uncharted territory. You must also inspire the people around you with passion, principle and tenacity. True leadership is driven by a vision that stems from originality and purpose—usually defined by a foray into the unknown. In this game-changing presentation, Amy explains that fear is the exact opposite of what we have been trained to believe. Fear is the sign that we are growing, becoming the person we are meant to be, stepping out of our comfort zone to reach toward the unknowable. Providing specific methods to embrace fear and channel it into creativity and motivation, Amy shares how anyone can learn to be a brave leader by taking risks and leading through inspiration.

A Brave Woman’s Guide to Life, Career & Relationships

In the business world and in every aspect of life, women are indoctrinated with the notion that they should be cautious and never take risks. Amy Dubois Barnett stands up to this thinking, with actionable ways women can leave their comfort zone and follow their dreams to live their best life. To Amy, women are natural leaders who only need to become comfortable with the idea that fear is growth and risk is integral to achievement. In this empowering presentation for women, Amy shares that leaning in to fear and opening your arms to bravery will inspire you to take the risks that can yield the biggest rewards—in almost every area of your life. Sharing funny and poignant stories from her own personal and professional life, she offers specific methods to embrace fear and channel it into creativity, motivation, achieving your personal and professional goals and influencing others to reach their greatest potential.

Stand Up & Don’t Stand in Your Own Way: What Women in Business Need To Know

Women in corporate environments often have the same complaints: Our ideas are ignored; we are passed over for promotions; we do not get significant raises; our input is not valued; we do not feel that they are on a path toward senior management, etc. While we can blame institutional sexism on much of the above, I believe that we are sometimes guilty of standing in our own way. In this inspiring speech, Amy DuBois Barnett shares her personal experiences, and offers women insightful tips and tools to achieve their professional goals.

You Can Have the Career You’ve Always Dreamed Of

Amy DuBois Barnett spent the first several years of her professional life allowing other people to dictate her career goals. She spent many unhappy years attempting to climb the ladder in industries that she did not enjoy. However, after learning to follow her passion and working more strategically on her goals, Amy achieved her dream to be an Editor-in-Chief of a major national magazine. Now she’s Chief Content Officer of a leading digital media brand. Read More >

In this illuminating speech, Amy elaborates on seven principles that will make all the difference in your career: Read Less ^

  • Stop listening to others and design your own professional life
  • Make connections before you need them
  • Do an attitude check
  • Don’t wait to be noticed
  • Ask questions
  • Understand that perception is reality
  • Don’t put work ahead of your personal life 

An Execumom’s Guide to Life: How Working Moms Can Achieve Their Goals & Remain Sane

Yup, Amy DuBois Barnett has it all figured out. She's a successful media executive with a career that has gone nowhere but up. Her house is spotless. Her kid gets straight A’s and only eats home-cooked organic meals. She works out and drinks a gallon of water every day. NOT. Trying to juggle a career, manage a home and raise a healthy happy child is a daunting task for the most motivated superheroine. Most of us feel as if we are giving short shrift to at least one area of our lives; and the thing that usually suffers the most is the attention we pay to ourselves. In this fun yet insightful speech, Amy DuBois Barnett shares her own humorous stories of trying to find balance furthering her career and raising her son as a single mother. Read More >

She also offers advice on how to: Read Less ^

  • Embrace the mess
  • Forgive yourself
  • Lean on your girlfriends
  • Prioritize time over money
  • Foster an environment of fun and forgiveness in your house
  • Find the organizational tools that work for you
  • And most of all, take care of yourself as much as you take care of others.

Live Your Passion: Be Happy By Being Yourself

Happiness is hard to achieve, especially because most of us have the voices of family, friends and society in our ears telling us what our lives should look like, what our goals should be and even who to love. Even when we do achieve our goals, the most highly capable people can be the quickest to let their happiness go. In this powerful keynote, Amy DuBois Barnett shares insightful advice from her personal journey toward an authentic and passionate existence. Read More >

She also shares her time-tested advice on how to be lead a “glass-half-full” life. Amy includes simple, yet enlightening tips such as: Read Less ^

  • Be grateful
  • Expect the best 
  • Be kind/give compliments; smile at everyone
  • Do something for yourself every day (Exercise, buy yourself a flower, get a manicure, research a future vacation)
  • Get some sleep
  • Kill Clutter
  • Fake it (until you make it)

How to Develop & Control Your Image

Perception is reality, and we have all the power in the world to dictate how others see us. This is crucial because the way we are perceived has everything to do with our ability to achieve both personal and professional goals. The essence of perception lies in the energy that others feels from us as well as our ability to communicate: ideas, emotions, desires, etc. In this illuminating speech, Amy DuBois Barnett shares valuable advice on how to project confidence and contentedness, as well as how to communicate effectively with everyone from co-workers to family to romantic partners.

Developing Strong, Smart & Independent Young Women

As Editor-in-Chief of both Honey and Teen People magazines, Amy DuBois Barnett spoke to millions of young women every month. Her personal philosophy of living for your passion, remaining independent and having a full life resonated throughout the magazines and contributed to their exponential growth. In this revealing and inspiring speech, Amy shares her own rocky path to personal growth and offers both young women and educators the valuable lessons she learned along the way. Amy counsels women on: financial responsibility, self-esteem and confidence, pushing past fear, having adventures, setting and achieving goals, healthy living, etc.