From Magazine Editor to TV Network Founder – Test Drive My Job @ElayneFluker
Today’s profile is one that I’m GIDDY to share. I’ve watched this woman’s byline from afar for over ten years and finally got a chance to work with her during her tenure at Black Enterprise Magazine. Any publication for women of color worth its mettle has had Elayne Fluker somewhere on the masthead. The brilliant, albeit short-lived Suede Magazine, Vibe Vixen and Essence are just a few of her old stomping grounds.
I caught up with Elayne to hear about her latest and chicest venture to date, as well as her constant ability to innovate and stay ahead of the media curve. Enjoy
Elayne Fluker, 39 @elaynefluker
Founder – Chic Rebellion – an internet television network showcasing the stories of women of color
Hometown: West Hempstead, NY
Current City: Brooklyn, NY
Mopwater: Describe your path to media: How did you wind up in this field?
EF: I grew up in Long Island, New York, and received my Bachelor’s degree in English from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. After simultaneous internships with PR guru Terrie Williams of The Terrie Williams Agency and one at Essence Communications (which owned Essence magazine, Latina magazine and a small business magazine called ‘Income Opportunities’ at the time), I begin my career in journalism and never looked back. My passion for writing, telling stories, and ultimately creating content is longstanding, and getting my feet wet at those game-changing, nurturing companies let me know that there was a way for me to bring my passion and the skills I was developing at the time to a career that would ultimately be fulfilling. Those internships led me to my first full-time position in journalism as Communications Coordinator for Susan L. Taylor, then editor-in-chief of Essence magazine. Can’t think of a better place to have started!
Mopwater: Describe a pivotal moment in your career. Did you have a mentor or internship that really solidified your interest in this field or helped you hone in on a specific focus area?
EF: A pivotal moment for me in my career was when I became entertainment editor for Essence magazine. It was a very visible, coveted position, and, as a 28-year-old, I had to prove to my boss (Monique Greenwood, editor-in-chief at the time and a mentor) and to myself that I was up for the challenge. Although I’m not a graphic designer (I now leave that to the professionals!) I put together images to create a re-imagined look and feel for the entertainment section along with an outline for its new direction, and I presented it to Monique, along with a promise that I would do everything in my power to raise the profile of entertainment coverage in the magazine. She entrusted me with the title, and it paid off–the section was redesigned with the new look I presented, and we successfully opened our coverage of entertainers and powerbrokers in Los Angeles and abroad. This proved to me the importance of coming in with a fresh perspective, and always presenting your best.
[Tweet “It’s important to come in with a fresh perspective, and always present your best. – @elaynefluker”]
Mopwater: Describe your workday including your office place and/or work setting and work hours. What do you do all day? What is a typical day like?
EF: As the owner of a new business venture, ChicRebellion.TV–which launched in September, I am constantly thinking about the business–even during “off hours.” So in addition to promoting content on the site through social media and other audience outreach, I work with producers and talent on developing future program ideas, connect with new partners and strategize plans with my team that will continue to move the business forward.
Mopwater: What is your favorite thing about this job/role and do you think you’ll be in this position in 5 years? What aspect of the industry are you most excited about? If you could work on any dream project of your choosing, what would it be?
EF: My favorite thing about my role is having the ability to create content that I believe will resonate with and inspire our viewers. Internet TV is the wave of the future–it’s how more and more people are viewing their programming, and I am excited that ChicRebellion.TV, as the first and only Internet TV network for women of color, is positioned to take advantage of this opportunity in a way that entertains AND honors our audience. I am passionate about creating and presenting quality for women of color, and presenting images that show the range of who we are and our interests–from the fabulous hosts of our shows to the behind-the-scenes talent to our wonderful guests. The goal was to deliver something different than what’s already out there. We’ve done that. In five years, ChicRebellion.TV will be a fully operating network with daily programming.
Mopwater: What are your favorite and least favorite work tasks and why?
EF: My favorite part of social media in particular is the immediate reaction we get from viewers, whether they are commenting on a new episode or topic, or they are giving us feedback on something we can do better. I am not a publicist, so I admittedly am not good at the pitch. What I AM good at is presenting what I believe is our “best.” The viewers let us know if they’re buying into it or not. Although we don’t currently have a blog for the brand, one of the new marketing initiatives we’re doing for 2013 is beginning our email marketing campaign. I’m looking forward to this, as it will be a mix of new episode alerts and topics.
EF: The advice I give to someone trying to break into this field, or to start a business, is BELIEVE. Sounds simple, but there are times when you will be the ONLY one who believes in your idea, project, concept, plan. It’s easy to believe and persevere when everyone else is on-board; but when you look around and see that you’re in it alone (usually until everyone else catches up) that is when you have to realize your faith in your idea, and in your self, is being tested. It is in these moments when the important decisions are made, which usually amount to: Are you going to do this or not? As far as what I would do differently from the past: Nothing. In business and in my career, I have made mistakes, and I will make more. Infallible, I am not. But there are lessons to be learned through those mistakes. You learn them, and you move forward, grateful for the opportunity to know better the next time. It is not a fool who makes mistakes; it is a fool who repeats them.
[Tweet “The advice I give to someone trying to break into this field, or to start a business, is BELIEVE. – @elaynefluker”]