Sheila Robinson: Dedicated to Serving Women in Business
Necessity, it is said, is the mother of invention—and in the case of Diversity Woman, the North Carolina-based business-to-business media company, that certainly seems to hold true. Before becoming a media entrepreneur, founder and publisher Sheila Robinson worked hard and rose—slowly—through the ranks of industry, wondering all along why she couldn't find the kind of resources she needed to meet her specific challenges as a working woman. Knowing what she wanted, she eventually decided to produce it herself, launching a regional magazine, Career Network, in 2004, and expanding nationally in 2007 with the launch of Diversity Woman.
Diversity Woman is now truly national, with editorial based out of San Francisco and sales in North Carolina, and a current staff of five people. While the company dealt with the same economic challenges all publishers have faced in the last two years, finances are "coming back around," Robinson says, and based on the impact of its annual Diversity Women's Business Leadership Conference (now in its 5th year) and Mosaic Woman Awards, the company is poised with a strong brand and influential reach to expand its mission of empowering women.
Robinson shares with Publishing Executive Inbox: Executive Insights her understanding of how to establish and maintain connections with audiences and advertisers, build relevancy and increase revenue opportunities going forward.
Executive Insights: Why do you believe there was a need in the publishing industry for a magazine like Diversity Woman?
Sheila Robinson: I worked for a global chemical company in corporate marketing for 14 years and had major challenges trying to climb the corporate ladder. I used to constantly work on improving myself—I read books, took classes and workshops, attended conferences—and there was nothing in a magazine that addressed my issues and needs. I would read my favorite magazines such as Fortune, Black Enterprise, Essence and others, but often wished it was something that addressed me directly. I guess I felt that I had to read five magazines to get what I could get in one, which is Diversity Woman.