BET’s Head of Social Impact talks about the power of putting women at decision-making tables

BET's Head of Social Impact talks about the power of putting women at decision-making tables

“Impact” is defined as having a strong effect on someone or something.

No one understands this better than Jeanine Liburd. As head of social impact and communications at BET, her job is to ensure the network’s content is aligned with social change initiatives that empower BET Networks’ audiences to make an impact on critical issues facing the community. black community.

He has curated and led initiatives that aim to measurably empower and impact the Black community, working closely with BET’s programming, marketing, digital and international teams to use content as a catalyst to raise awareness and create campaigns. action-oriented impact. Such initiatives include #ReclaimYourVote, a social change campaign in partnership with the National Urban League committed to harnessing collective black power and increasing black participation; the Harlem Business Microgrants Initiative, a program created to support small businesses in Harlem in partnership with the 125th Street Business Improvement District and the Apollo Theater; and BET SOS Saving Ourselves COVID-19 relief efforts, which have raised nearly $20 million for communities in need.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – OCTOBER 20: (L-R) Scott Mills, Jeanine Liburd, Kimberly Paige and Tyler Perry onstage during screenings of Oval and Sistas at Southern Exchange on October 20, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images for BET)

But beyond her phenomenal work with BET, at her core, she says she is a black woman who is passionate about helping black women.

“The media is extremely powerful and it’s up to us to use our superpowers for good,” he said, referencing a phrase his former boss, Judy McGrath, often uses. McGrath was Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks.

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MTV’s parent company Viacom was also a long-term home for Liburd, serving as senior vice president for more than a decade.

But before charting her path in the media, the Brooklyn native said she wanted to be New York City’s first black female mayor.

“I started my career in politics,” he said, sharing that he earned a master’s degree in Urban Policy Analysis from the New School for Social Research (Milano School). She “had a desire to understand cities, their structure,” and she noted that she was particularly interested in exploring the relationship between white flight, gentrification, and the economic status of blacks in large cities.

BET's Head of Social Impact talks about the power of putting women at decision-making tables Register 700x415 2

He then went to work for the Clinton administration in the ’90s, followed by a brief stint in public affairs PR. It was then that she realized the power of the media and the intersectional impact it could have on her mission to affect systemic change. From there, she landed at Viacom and has been there ever since. 22 years have passed.

“Saying that out loud is crazy, because it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long,” he said. “But in the time that I’ve been there, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the evolution of the media landscape and a shift that has occurred where people yearn for self-awareness and general awareness of what’s going on in the world. .”

Although he has worked for many branches of the giant Viacom, it was just before landing at BET, its subsidiary, years later, when he felt a change in his purpose.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 8: (L-R) Sylvia Rhone, Epic Records, Connie Orlando, BET, honoree Jesse Collins, Jeanine Liburd, BET and Debra Lee, BET attend Save the Music #MUSICSAVES Honoring Jesse Collins at NeueHouse Los Angeles on December 8, 2021 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Save The Music)

“I worked at Viacom for a while when my then-boss was there, and then he left,” he said. “It was during that time that she developed a relationship with Debra Lee, CEO of BET, and honestly, it was also the time that she was trying to decide what to do next: she didn’t know what she wanted to do. And one day I had a conversation with her and I left the conversation thinking: ‘I would love to work together’”.

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Liburd said she was honored that Lee took the time to not only listen, but also to be deeply committed to her vision.

“I realized this is where I want to be,” he said, referring to his role on BET. “I want to be where leadership is committed to investing in themselves, in Black people, Black people, investing in not just entertaining us, but empowering us and are committed to bringing people together in a way that ultimately brings about change.”

Since that conversation between the two women, she says the foundation bricks Liburd has tried to build have formed a home she wants black people to always find comfort in.

“It’s truly an honor to wake up every day and ask myself, ‘what can I do right for black people today?’ ‘What could that be today?’ It is my life task and that is exciting.

TOPICS: black women in business