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Name: Bianca Jeanty & Netta Dobbins
Age: 26 & 24
Occupation: Account Services at Turner
Broadcasting & Social Strategist at Translation
Where You’re From: Maplewood, NJ &
Jeanty: A Jersey girl
with Haitian blood, Bianca Jeanty is a rising media maven and
social connector with more than five years in advertising,
business development and marketing. Starting her career as an
assistant to a luxury menswear company and transitioning into
the beauty industry, Bianca learned the ropes of how business
really works. Now working in entertainment ad sales for Turner
Broadcasting, she manages multi-million dollar advertising
budgets with the likes of GEICO, Burger King and Weight
Watchers on TBS and TNT.
Netta Dobbins: Prior to founding
Minorities in Media Connect (MiMConnect), Netta spent three
years in the public relations industry. She had the opportunity
to work at the top public relations agency in New York City—Dan
Klores Communications—where she worked with clients like Clive
Davis, Sony Legacy Artists, PBS and more. She transitioned from
the public relations world to pursue advertising in 2016. She
currently serves as a social strategist at Translation where
she’s responsible for identifying trends and behaviors and
developing tactics to engage with the client’s target
demographic through social media and social experiences. At
Translation, she works on accounts like State Farm, Kaiser
Permanente, Reebok, and NBA.
Netta graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2014
with her Bachelor’s in Mass Communications.
Photo Credit: Jarrod
EBONY: What is MiMConnect and what prompted the
start/idea of the brand?
Both: Minorities in Media Connect is an emerging networking
platform that creates access to people of color with job
opportunities, resources and a nationwide network in the media
industry. With over 2,000 subscribers throughout the U.S. and
Canada, we’ve built a tribe of publicists, writers, creatives
and beyond, working to create more impactful and inclusive
MiMConnect was founded after we realized that
professionals of color in the media industry lacked a space to
unpack issues they faced working in predominately White
companies. Starting as a GroupMe of less than 20 people, a
familiar connection was built by sharing challenges of being
overqualified for their current position, being overlooked for
promotions, or even just struggling to find a job with a
sensible cultural fit. Taking a step further, we’ve even
discussed how colleagues have made
unintentional racist remarks and how
those mindsets can translate into the work.
We knew we had to create an outlet that provided a safe space
for these professionals to not only discuss these issues but
develop solutions. Taking that insight, we’ve curated
programming with notable media professionals and companies to
supply our audience with tangible advice and knowledge to level
EBONY: What have you learned so far about managing
a company that is tailored to people of color?
Netta Dobbins: I think what makes this job easier is
that our stories are our communities’ stories as well. Being a
Haitian-American and a Black American raised in the South,
we’ve lived through the issues our community is bringing forth,
and we’re still living through them. Managing MiMConnect really
allows us to come to work as our full selves and we know what’s
going to work for our community and what’s not.
Bianca Jeanty: Yes! Adding to what Netta mentioned, we
also recognized that this isn’t a “race-based” business we’re
in. It’s focused on
perspective. While our core audience
is African-American, there are similar stories you hear from
professionals that identify as Asian or Hispanic and go through
similar challenges. Hearing the complexities of everyone’s
stories actually makes our group more inclined to listen
because it resonates so closely.
Photo Credit: Jarrod
EBONY: Diversity and inclusive are huge buzz words
at the moment, do you think companies are honest and sincere
about their diversity initiatives and hiring?
Netta Dobbins: I believe that some companies
are extremely serious about it, and others are just looking to
check off a box. But that’s why we’re here, we’re
beginning to partner with companies that are willing to really
put an action plan together on how to not only diversify their
company, but retain those
diverse employees. Retention is one thing Bianca and I talk
about a lot. We see a lot of companies that are “diverse.”
However, most of their professionals of color are in entry
level or admin positions and don’t stay long enough to reach
those leadership roles. Having people of color in leadership
roles is the real key. That’s diversity …and those people are
going to make sure your company doesn’t do something completely
offensive and save you from becoming the next Pepsi or Shea
Bianca Jeanty: Netta mentioned something
extremely important about “diversity and inclusion” in larger
companies. There are companies that are sincere about it.
However, it’s hard to believe a company’s efforts if you only
see people of color at lower ranking positions. While it’s
great to get the pipeline going, retaining talent is the hard
part that companies can conveniently forget about it. It’s
literally like pouring water into a strainer. So the next
question is “How are you being inclusive?” There’s a bigger
conversation needed and a great deal of implications present
when I personally see that. It’s not enough to write a
Medium post about “diversity of thought.” Perspectives
in the C-suite need to be challenged
to move the needle.
EBONY: What advice would you give companies
looking to change their status quo and hire more diverse
Bianca Jeanty: Firstly, change your thought process
on what “diversity” actually means. Diversity is
an asset, not just social good or a business imperative.
Companies need to recognize how complex backgrounds can
build the web between niche markets and create smarter
and more inclusive media. Media is so powerful that it
can amplify a change in perception, [both] negative and
positive. That core value alone will streamline efforts that
companies are looking to make.
Netta Dobbins: The first piece of advice would be to look
outside of your normal avenues to find candidates. Look into
alumni from historically Black colleges and into multicultural
groups at predominantly White institutions. Attend
multicultural events where diverse professionals will be
present. Be cognizant of your search efforts in general, and
know that a diverse environment (inclusive not only of Blacks
and minorities but women and men too) will promote better
Creating a space where these diverse candidates feel
comfortable is also key. Once you’ve hired them, you need to
ensure that they feel like their voice matters and there’s
something they can get involved in and contribute to within
Bianca Jeanty: Exactly. Minorities in Media
Connect literally evolved because of these
challenges that companies are having. In addition to sponsoring
events that bring together quality candidates, we’re having
candid conversations with companies on how we can partner on
solutions together. So, please connect with
Photo Credit: Bruce
EBONY: What are five Goals you both would like to reach
by the end of the year?
Netta & Bianca:
Solidify MiMConnect as a primary resource for people of
color in the media industry.
- Execute four nationwide MiMConnect events.
Amplify the work of our MiMConnect family and partners
on the platforms we’ve built. We actually have an interactive
gallery and panel coming up with UrbnFresh and Peerspace.
Empower professionals of color to land the jobs of
their dreams, all while being themselves.
- Keep these natural curls popping.
EBONY: What are five things people don’t know about
- I listen to EDM and Country music.
- I hate working out.
The only candy you’ll catch me eating (and enjoying) is
a blue jolly rancher.
I have a skin condition that keeps me from using most
natural oils and butters, but jojoba oil and tea tree oil
have been lifesavers.
There’s a 90% chance that you’ll always catch me in
heels because I’m only 5-feet-tall.
I’m an avid fan of Soulection Radio as of last year
…Soulection 282 in particular.
I used to roller skate in Jersey at Skate 22 like in
Roll Bounce. I’m rusty.
- I’ve worn glasses since I was in the 1st grade.
- My pipe dream was to be a fashion designer.
I’ve been in performing arts since I was 2 years old
…gospel choir, dance, piano, guitar, all that!
What are these ladies up to next? Check out the flyer below and
the Rising Photo Exhibition and panel.