Each time audiences noticed Debra Lee as chairman and CEO of Black Leisure Tv (BET), she was an instance of a robust, assured girl head of a world media empire. Because it seems, she by no means loved making these tv appearances on BET’s awards reveals. Lee was a “let’s get it carried out” chief who didn’t require on-camera visibility, as she shares in her new memoir “I Am Debra Lee,” revealed by Legacy Lit.
With this e-book, Lee’s objective was to share insights that would information ladies, particularly Black ladies, on learn how to attain C-suite standing in company America. Lee felt her method could be obtained higher if her recommendation have been backed by her real-life experiences, peppered with humor.
“Enjoying small and staying quiet not solely stole my energy, however it additionally took away my goal, stated Lee about one factor she realized climbing the ladder to success.
Bringing Her Memoir to Life
Lee was lately in a dialog on the Smithsonian Museum of African American Historical past and Tradition with Michel Martin, newly named co-host of NPR’s “Morning Version.” The vibe within the Oprah Winfrey Auditorium was set as Lee walked on stage to applause and the sounds of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” After studying her memoir, it felt like Lee at all times needed to be revered, however she first had to determine just a few issues about herself, then personal her worth.
Lee credit the late lawyer and activist Vernon Jordan, who satisfied her to put in writing an autobiography. When she stepped down from BET 4 years in the past, Lee started the writing undertaking.
“As I obtained extra into my profession, I considered writing a e-book, however was undecided what it will be about,” Lee stated when Martin requested Lee if she hesitated about writing the e-book.
Ranging from humble beginnings in Greensboro, NC., Lee’s mom was a ward clerk on the Black hospital. Her father was a profession army man raised in D.C. and graduated from Dunbar Excessive Faculty. It was instilled in Lee to at all times be good, with the concept was the way you get forward.
Life Led by Male Drivers
Within the interview with Martin, Lee stated her father had mapped out her Ivy League schooling and profession. Readers study Lee’s experiences at BET, there are parallels between her father’s method to her life and the way Bob Johnson, former BET chairman and CEO, deliberate her profession trajectory on the firm. She went from being BET’s common counsel to COO, then succeeded her boss on the firm.
Lee did discuss to Martin about her affair with Johnson, which began after she had been with BET for a decade. However the Me Too and Instances Up actions clarified for Lee what she had knowingly been doing. Sure, she was having an affair, however the many instances she tried to finish it, she was threatened that her profession could be over. That’s sexual harassment.
Like with different challenges in her profession, Lee solid forward, gaining management of her enterprise life to retire with an impactful legacy. Underneath her management, Lee moved BET ahead following the merger with media large Viacom. The community produced motion pictures and awards applications that elevated “the tradition.”
Along with now being an writer, Lee is founder and chairman of the Main Girls Outlined Basis, a company dedicated to uplifting and supporting black feminine thought leaders. She additionally launched the Monarch Collective, a enterprise to place extra folks of coloration on company boards and govt management positions. That is Debra Lee, and she or he feels good about it.
Take heed to the Smithsonian Establishment recording of Debra Lee and NPR’s Michel Martin at https://bit.ly/DebraLeeSmithsonianVideo