Brooke Ellis of General Motors Connects Cars and Company to Black Consumers
Manager of Diversity Media. General Motors created the position, and Brooke Ellis filled it with her signature style of branding. What does that mean? It means the young woman with the winning smile and her finger on the pulse of the consumer culture directs diversity media operations for all GM brands, including Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, GMC and OnStar. Even better, when rolling out talked with Ellis, just hours before press time, she’d learned that her role with the corporate giant had been expanded to marketing as well as media. The Hampton Institute grad, who has handled media initiatives for PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ford Motor Company, MasterCard, Chrysler and other corporations, talked with rolling out recently about her new position and what she hopes to accomplish. –roz edward
What are your chief responsibilities?
Each of our brands has pillars, and those pillars determine how to target a [particular market]. My role is to make sure that some of those pillars are specifically geared to the multicultural market. For example, the Cadillac brand is entrepreneurially focused. So, I make sure that, within that pillar of entrepreneurship, we target diverse publications and identify opportunities to help Cadillac connect with African American consumers.
How do you impact diversity within General Motors?
I work with minority-owned publications, TV networks, radio stations and digital portals, and I hire them to facilitate our media campaigns.
What have been your career highlights?
It’s being in this position and being able to provide opportunities for minority and dedicated publications so that I can have a voice with African American and Hispanic consumers. Another is partnering with Think Detroit PAL to help them develop educationally focused programs for disadvantaged children. But, in terms of career highlights ,it’s something I’m really still looking forward to.
Did you have a moment when you knew you were in the right position?
I think it was when, after being with GM for a couple of months, a lot of the executive leadership began coming to me to get insight on how to really help better our position and how we are perceived in the multicultural market. Before that, you don’t really know if your leadership has the passion for diversity.
What’s next for you and GM?
I plan to really help develop our multicultural focus at GM. After bankruptcy, it almost completely fell off. My future highlights will be to work with minority vendors to help position GM on the forefront of diversity. I don’t think we’re there yet, but I think we are definitely making strides to get there.