FWD Feature | Brett Jeffries FWD | For Women and Diversity | Collective

Brett Jeffries, Director of Marketing at EBONY/JET • Former Oprah Producer • Visual Storyteller -- my imagination leads & my pen follows

  • Brett Jeffries

    Director of Marketing at EBONY/JET • Former Oprah Producer • Visual Storyteller -- my imagination leads & my pen follows 


FWD Collective is excited to announce that Brett Jeffries has joined the speaker roster for our Chicago Summit on September 13th 2018!

We had the pleasure of connecting with Brett to ask a few questions!

What does diversity, equity, and professional inclusion mean to you?
Equal pay for equal work (across gender, racial lines and beyond). Also, the workplace should be a melting pot. I want to walk through the halls and see people who look like me but also sit in the cafeteria with people from all walks of life who can bring varying perspectives from around the world.

How have you experienced and/or dealt with adversity in your professional and personal life?
Never be silent about the things that matter most to you. Closed mouths don't get fed.

What would be one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
Trust your gut. It's always right.

Name three things that you do everyday to help lead you to success.
1) I write down everything. I'm all about lists. I need to be able to visualize all the tasks in front of me, big and small. I want to be able to check off each task as I complete it as well as see what I didn't finish at the end of the day.
2) I reach out to someone -- be it a new friend, a former boss, a mentor -- anyone. I make contact with someone every day.
3) I take at least 30 minutes to myself. I try to workout almost every day -- some days are more intense than others but I get in the gym. I take a bubble bath every single day. I give myself minimally 30 minutes to myself to decompress. I think about the day and what I need to do the next day. I take it in and let it all go so that I can be prepared for the next day.

Who inspires your professional ambition? Why?
For as long as I can remember, I have lived by the motto, “work hard, play hard.” I’d never really met anyone who understood and equally epitomized this idea until I began working for Oprah Winfrey. She, more than anyone I know, myself included, truly lives by this. It’s no surprise that she is the media mogul and mecca that she is. Working for her for six years, I realized just how important it is to work very hard at everything you do but when it’s time to play, you play hard at everything too. Oprah truly reinforced this idea for me. Her team came to work every single day with nothing more on their minds than producing the absolute best show in television. That’s what we did. That’s what we delivered. But off hours and at company parties, we partied like there was no tomorrow. Oprah set the bar for this company standard and sense of camaraderie and I believe this work ethic is what has helped her be so incredibly successful. Furthermore, she has this desire to learn: she never stops reading and talking to people from different walks of life. She is a student of life and she teaches her employees to keep learning – you’re never too old to stop learning. Oprah truly inspires me and has helped shape much of my success.

What is your favorite book? Or the one you'd recommend most?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

What are the top 3 things you'd like us to know about your business or company?
1) EBONY/JET was founded in Chicago and our headquarters are still here (people often forget this)
2) Unlike most print publications, we operate without an Editor-in-Chief
3) The Stony Island Arts Bank has an exhibition representing Johnson Publishing Company that was created by artist Theaster Gates

Anything else you'd like to highlight or think we should know?
This is my second tour of duty at EBONY/JET. I also interned at the company when I was 17 years old. Staying in touch with former colleagues, bosses and Linda Johnson Rice made it possible for me to come back all these years later. It's all about relationships!


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