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Diversity Media Manager General Motors Company
DRIVEN TO SUCCEED
By Kellie Walker
In an automotive industry with a reputation for being dominated by middle-aged white males, Brooke Ellis, a young African-American woman is leaving a meaningful impression with her work as the diversity media & multicultural manager for General Motors (GM) Company. Ellis is responsible for delivering consistent messaging for GM's brands including Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, and GMC, by connecting with diverse populations. Her most critical role is to ensure that the organization builds strong relationships with the right media partners, and external organization in an effort to effectively communicate GM's message.
Dan Akerson, General Motor's chief executive officer states that, "In today's multicultural, interconnected marketplace, we believe a diverse workforce helps us design, build and sell vehicles that best meet the needs of unique customers around the globe." Ellis has been able to bring a confident and fresh perspective to create media strategies, and along with the team, identify opportunities that specifically target multicultural consumers from the African-American, Hispanic and LGBT communities. "The real key to success in this field is having an understanding of our consumers," Ellis says.
In order to juggle overseeing multi-platform consumer media plans for the multicultural market while managing minority-owned media-vendor relationships, Ellis has to view concepts through a creative lens. She realizes that at 30, she will face some challenges establishing credibility and having her voice be heard; however, Ellis is committed to finding balance and impacting change. She is fortunate to have leadership that believes in her abilities and allows her to present ideas and follow through. Ellis had a part in implementing the Minority Media Summit, where she brought in vendors and VPs from all across the U.S. to look at GM's brands which generated business opportunities and increased spending with several key minority groups. She says, "the biggest thing is defining my purpose..., I think I've had an opportunity to be creative and I have an understanding of what my ultimate goal is."
Ellis, who was born and raised in Detroit, feels a special connection to the community and the automotive industry. She identifies her role in the community, where she is active in a variety of community organizations, and her work with GM as being a significant part of who she is. She studied marketing at Hampton University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree and also completed two graduate fellowship studies at UCLA and University of Pennsylvania and subsequently moved back to her hometown.
By executing her plan to gain understanding of the markets she serves, identifying individuals that would be instrumental in helping meet her goals and being prepared to communicate her purpose, Ellis has been able to bring her ideas to fruition and haveinfluenceoverthestrategiesthatGMapplies to meet organizational goals and objectives as it applies to diversity.
They say, "age ain't nothin' but a number," and Ellis is a definitely a young woman who, despite her age, has demonstrated her leadership abilities and is gaining reverence for her work in an evolving automotive industry.
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