Denise L. Bennett has 20 years of experience in the media and entertainment industry and she wants to bring others along. She currently serves as vice president of Brand Strategy at iHeartMedia where she specializes in multicultural marketing partnerships.
In an interview, Bennett said she developed solutions for brands that want to reach multicultural consumers across iHeartMedia’s platforms.
This week, she was honored with the Trailblazer Award from Black Women in Media at the group’s 6th annual Conference and Awards.
“I work to identify the right solutions and outlets for the company to effectively engage with our audience in an authentic way that deepens the relationship between our fans and our platform as well as brands that want to be integrated with us,” she said.
Along with her positions at iHearMedia, Bennett just completed her first year as a professor at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business, where she teaches Advanced Business Communications at the graduate level. As an alum of the school herself, she helps students better understand the people they will be working with and how they can learn to lead inclusively.
“I use components of diversity, equity and inclusion, and inclusive leadership and leveraging difference as their normal part of management and communication so that I am normalizing that that’s how you should be communicating as a leader versus separating it as some sort of special class,” she said.
A native of Dallas, Texas, Bennett grew up in Washington, D.C. A classically trained pianist, she graduated from Indiana State University where she earned her BS in Music Business. Bennett went on to earn her MBA with a dual concentration in Marketing, and Media and Communications.
She entered the media business as an intern at Viacom’s VH1 Save The Music and spent almost nine years in various consumer and integrated marketing roles throughout the company including Noggin/The N, Comedy Central, and MTV/MTV2.
Prior to joining iHeartMedia, she was a senior member of the WarnerMedia Entertainment Content Partnerships team and served as the NYC chair of the Black Professionals at WarnerMedia Business Resource Group.
Bennett held marketing roles at NBCUniversal’s “Women at NBCU” portfolio team, the NBA’s Global Marketing Partnerships team and TV One’s “One Solution” portfolio team, serving as primary liaison to premier client, Walmart, developing marketing solutions across TV One, Radio One, Reach Media, and Interactive One.
Black women in her industry are not common and Bennet wants to change that. She said she strives to bring diversity and that it’s her responsibility.
“What those of us who are in these spaces can do, and what we have to do, is ensure that when we are able to get our way into these spaces, let’s make sure that we are never content with being the only one,” Bennett said. “If we get in here, we’re making sure that we are opening doors, extending ourselves to ensure that others can come in behind us. Even if we can’t directly affect those things, we have to make sure that we are also supporting each other.”
Bennett is also a public speaker where she discusses diversity and inclusion, navigating career trajectory, networking, being successful in business school and building a media career.
“I talk about my own career progression and lessons learned to those coming behind me,” she said. “It’s always been really important to me to ensure that I am reaching my hand back and bringing up those of us behind me to further allow them to see what they would like to be.”
Bennett goes beyond the call to help others reach their goals. Along with her work in the corporate world and academia, she is a member of Manhattan’s Pi Kappa Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Bennett said everything she does, inside and outside the corporate world, is what she’s supposed to do.
“If I look back I want to hope that I’ve made things better and I went forward,” she said. “That I was not shutting doors behind me so that no one could get in. I don’t want to be at the table by myself. There’s room for us all.”