Orlena Blanchard leading the charge for black media

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Meet Orlena Blanchard, executive director of Black Media Matters Consortium. Blanchard shared vital information about her organization’s mission with rolling out. Read on for what else she had to say.

Please describe your role as CEO.

As the executive director of the Black Media Matters Consortium, I represent an alliance of the nation’s leading African American media and marketing companies. On behalf of our members, I lead the charge of educating and engaging the advertising community on the economic value of African American marketing.

What is the mission of your organization?

Our mission is to increase advertiser consideration for, and investment in, African American marketing and media.

How do you approach business challenges?

I was an engineer before I was a marketer so I approach most business problems from a very analytical, and sometimes academic, point of view. I become a student of the situation and environment. I study the circumstances and all variables as much as is possible. I seek to understand all the players and their motivations before considering the options for resolution. I remain focused on the “big-picture” so I am usually looking for the long-term win versus a short-term quick hit.

How do you evaluate talent you are hiring and what are the skills that you are looking for in this market?

I look for problem solvers — individuals who demonstrate the smarts, creativity, and finesse to drive results in spite of obstacles. I am always seeking a balance of a strategic mind and strong operational mechanics. I want those people who can think big but get the job done effectively and efficiently at the end of the day.

What are the top three benefits to being a member of your organization?

Inclusion: Members get a seat at the table and a voice in how to address the most pressing issues affecting our industry and respective businesses.

Access: Members of the Consortium are exposed to prospective clients and business opportunities they may not otherwise have access to.

Advocacy: There is strength in numbers and being a part of the Consortium means a collective force is consistently advocating for your business.

How do you utilize technology to give yourself business advantages?

I use technology for cost-efficiency, convenience, and productivity. I find nowadays, something as simple as the right APP on my mobile device can mean a significant difference in my ability to navigate my work day. The right digital tools help me communicate with key stakeholders and influencers in real-time my work in a sales and marketing role.

What technological advances have you used to communicate with your membership?

Our membership is so dispersed across the country that file sharing services [in the cloud] and sophisticated webinar technology have been fundamental in ensuring we all stay connected. I’m a big fan of web-based project management APPS like Basecamp and file sharing tools like Dropbox. I use online meeting tools like GoToMeeting or Join.me regularly.

What are three most important business organizational processes and documents used to become a member?

There is one requirement for members, which is “serving African-American consumers must be a strategic focus and integral part of your business.”

What are the two key factors for business successes?



Name your three favorite business books for insight and inspiration.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … And Others Don’t by Jim Collins

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Coleman

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Describe your leadership style.

I believe my job as a leader to harvest an environment that allows individuals to maximize their potential and thus, contributions. I look for every opportunity to help people discover their brilliance and professional confidence. I also believe in leading by example and earning respect as a leader. I’m not one to mince words so when I’m happy you’ll know it and when I’m not, you’ll know that too.

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