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Amy DuBois  Barnett

Amy DuBois Barnett

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

Biography

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. She is also EVP, Digital for Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, TheGrio’s parent company. In addition, Barnett is the author of an empowering advice book for women, Get Yours! How To Have Everything You Ever Dreamed Of And More (Doubleday/Broadway Books). Read More >

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

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 also introduced key revenue-generating editorial franchises as well as groundbreaking editorial 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.

In 2011, Ebony’s achieved rate base grew by 11%, and Ad Age listed Ebony as one of the 25 fastest growing magazines in the country based on circulation. Since re-launch, Ebony.com’s unique visitors have grown by over 800%. Ebony won a record-breaking eight Salute to Excellence awards from the National Association of Black Journalists in 2012. Ad Age listed Ebony as a 2012 Magazine Brand to Watch and 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 department. She was also a founding editor of the first comprehensive 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, The Early Show, The Katie Show, Nightline, and on various programs on MSNBC, VH1, MTV and BET.

A Brown University graduate, Barnett also has 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. She is also a professional public speaker and a published fiction author whose work has appeared in various journals and anthologies.

For her pioneering work as a journalist, cultural expert and writer, Barnett 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 was on the board of the American Society of Magazine Editors for three terms, and is a current member of the Communications Coordinating Committee of the American Heart Association and the Brown University Media Relations Advisory Council.

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

Speaker Videos

African Americans and the Media

Saving Our Sons

Lecture at Northwestern University

Speech Topics

How to Embrace Fear, Become Your Greatest Self & Lead with Bravery

Embracing and using fear to drive toward your goals is the ultimate bravery. And such bravery is a core characteristic of the most impactful leaders. Read More >

Fear is the greatest dream killer. We are trained to believe that fear is a sign to step back from an opportunity, a decision, a person. In dangerous situations, obviously this is prudent, but when it comes to the fulfillment of our dreams, it is the exact opposite. 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. It is simply impossible to reach your full potential and not be afraid in the process. Fear is an indication that you are stretching into your best self, the self who is able to motivate to move toward personal and professional goals, and influence others to reach their greatest potential—which is the fundamental principle of leadership.

True leadership is driven by vision. And vision stems from originality and purpose, which is usually defined by a foray into the unknown. Leaders have to be willing to push their business and/or their art into uncharted territory; and they must inspire the people around them with passion, principle and tenacity.

Women are even more indoctrinated with the notion that we should be cautious, that we should never take risks. But women are the strongest and most creative people on the planet. We are natural leaders who only need to become comfortable with the notion that fear is growth and risk is integral to achievement.

In this speech, Amy will talk about her career and how she learned to be a brave leader by taking risks and leading through inspiration. Amy will also offer specific methods to embrace fear and channel it into creativity and motivation. Read Less ^

A Brave Woman’s Guide to Life

To be brave is to be curious, to ask questions, to take pleasure in the novel, to crave adventure. It is a willingness to step into the unknown, to blaze trails—and the ability to do so with creativity, purpose and joy. Bravery is a core characteristic of most successful people. Read More >

For much of her life, Amy was not brave. She was too afraid of displeasing her parents, disappointing her community, failing at her job, loving without reserve. Like many of us, fear drove most of her decisions. It limited her thinking and made her doubt herself when her decisions did not have the desired result. Then Amy's life changed: Her mother died; her first career was a bust; her marriage failed. Amy had to relearn all of her thinking around fear and limitations, and she became brave. How? Because she decided to embrace her fear and use it to become a better person.

Fear is the greatest dream killer. We are trained to believe that fear is a sign to step back from an opportunity, a decision, a person. In dangerous situations, obviously this is prudent, but when it comes to the fulfillment of our dreams, it is the exact opposite. 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. It is simply impossible to reach your full potential and not be afraid in the process. Recognizing that embracing fear and bravery are actually synonymous is the first step toward stretching into your best self, the self who is able to motivate to move toward personal and professional goals, and influence others to reach their greatest potential.

Leaning into 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: career, relationships, recreation, etc. This powerful speech will inspire everyone to leave their comfort zone, with the goal of living their best life. Amy will share funny and poignant stories from her own personal and professional life of times when risk yielded reward. Amy will also offer specific methods to embrace fear and channel it into creativity and motivation. Read Less ^

An Execumom’s Guide to Life

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 As and only eats home-cooked organic meals. She works out and drinks a gallon of water every day. She has standing brunch dates with all of her girlfriends. And she never gets impatient with her romantic partner after even the most grueling work week. Read More >

Not.

Amy would love to meet that woman. The life of every female executive Amy knows is riddled with both successes and failures. It’s a complicated mess of dueling priorities and responsibilities—and, often, a literal mess with a house and car and child that no one has time to properly clean.

In this insightful yet lighthearted speech, Amy will share stories from life where she's had to juggle impossible home life and professional situations—some successfully and others that she has miserably botched. However, women are expert multitaskers; it’s their super power and, Amy believes, the key to their achievements. She will offer tips for multitasking effectively, which include: embrace the mess, forgive yourself, lean on your girlfriends, stock up on frozen meals from Trader Joe’s, prioritize time over money, etc. Read Less ^

Parenting is Special

Parenting is special. Parenting a child with special needs is even more special. Amy's son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was nine years old. T1D is an incurable autoimmune disease in which the pancreas no longer produces insulin, requiring the patient to check their blood sugar and manually administer insulin throughout the day and night. The onset of T1D normally occurs in childhood, so parents and children must be united in vigilant maintenance to avoid dangerous blood sugar lows that can cause a seizure and instant death or dangerous highs that eat away at the functionality of the child’s kidney and heart, resulting in a shortened lifespan. Read More >

Her son is now 12, and the past three years have been a complicated morass of medical specialists, insurance battles and an emotional rollercoaster that has left her family both exhausted and strengthened. In this emotional and powerful speech, Amy will share her journey with her son to deal with his acceptance of the disease, her feelings of frustration and fear, her various challenges navigating the healthcare system, and the strength and tenacity being a T!D mom has given her. Read Less ^

Real Journalism Versus Fake News

Amy Barnett has been a journalist for 20 years. She has covered beats from politics to health. She's written a range of articles, from hard-hitting exposes to light lifestyle pieces. And she's run both venerable and start-up national media brands. So, she can comfortably say that what’s happening now in American media is unlike anything she has ever seen in her lifetime. Media is under siege in this country. And this war on journalism, on intellectual thought, on data and science threatens our freedom and our future. Read More >

In this impassioned speech, Amy will share her stories from the frontlines of journalism: controversial topics, threats from interview subjects, legal battles and more. She’ll talk about the recent shift in tone from investigative research to opinion-based writing, the international shift toward nationalism and how it relates to media, the anti-intellectual movement that has yielded a cross-section of American society uninterested in hard data, the multiple manifestations of fear and distrust in the media, how we may be moving toward the state-run media characteristic of fascist societies (using clear examples), etc. Most importantly, Amy will share her thoughts on the value of real journalism and how we can resist the rising tide of state-run fake news—for the sake of our country. Read Less ^

Controlling our Narrative: Black Bodies in the Media

Developing Strong, Smart & Independent Young Women