Samantha Fennell worked 15 years in magazine advertising to become Elle’s associate publisher, but in summer 2008, fashion took a back seat to a new mission — fundraising for then-Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Fennell’s bold career jump from high-powered magazine manager to independent political fundraiser marked her as an impassioned influencer on the move, who has since segued back into publishing with a stint at the Huffington Post and, now, as executive director of Time Inc. Branded Solutions.
Samantha Fennell is making history … by publishing a new future of hope for our country’s diverse populations.Fennell considers herself a “participating member of a growing number of African Americans who believe that the opportunity for success is a birthright.” She says this point of view “represents a cultural shift in the mindset of African-Americans, giving us the opportunity to give our children a new legacy.”
Her own legacy is long in the making. Before Fennell left her post as associate publisher of Elle, an international fashion publication with a monthly reach of more than a million, she got her start in the industry as an ad-sales rep at Paper, a New York culture mag with a 150,000 circulation.
When she left Elle in 2008, she contributed to a regular blog, Obamaphile, on Elle.com where she spoke of her leap from fashion to politics. At that time she told Women’s Wear Daily, “I’ve been raising money for magazines for 15 years, so I figure I can do this.” With a February 29 birthday, perhaps Fennell was just born to take leaps; says Fennell, “let your passion guide you and just go for it.”
What’s next for Samantha?
Fennell is taking to the media landscape to ensure a legacy of hope is transmitted and recorded for prosperity. “The media landscape is changing and evolving at warp speed,” Fennell told theGrio. “My goal is to not just keep up with it, but get in front of it and help innovate new ways to share, communicate and market using this huge toolbox we now have.”
A favorite quote …
“The means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
A little-known fact …
Time magazine named Martin Luther King, Jr., Man of the Year in 1963. He was the first African-American to earn this honor.
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