Author, speaker, and philanthropist Susan L. Taylor has inspired millions of women around the world. From being fashion and beauty editor at Essence magazine upon its founding in 1970, to becoming editor-in-chief, Taylor was a driving force in the magazine's success for more than two decades. She helped expand the multimillion-dollar brand, executive producing TV shows as well as spearheading its book publishing arm and music festival. Her popular column, "In the Spirit" lead to a New York Times bestseller of the same name.
Taylor now focuses her time heading National CARES Mentoring Movement, the nonprofit she founded to connect black mentors with youth advocacy programs.
(For more information on how you can help build the next generation of women leaders, visit the Girl Scouts' TogetherThere.org.)
Award-winning journalist and author Susan L. Taylor has a legacy that reads class, grace, power, and leadership.
As the former editor-in-chief of Essence from 1981 through 2000, Taylor was responsible for calling the shots at a publication which many consider to be the bible for black women.
Starting her career at Essence in 1970, the year the magazine was founded, Taylor worked her way up to the leading role of editor-in-chief while also earning her Bachelor of Arts from Fordham University.
In 2000, Taylor was promoted from editor-in-chief to publications director, and in 2008 she left Essence to dedicate more time to her philanthropic calling.
Taylor founded Essence CARES in 2006, now one of the largest mentoring organizations in the nation known as the National CARES Mentoring Movement. Using the 2005 devastation of Hurricane Katrina as her vision and reason for starting the program, Taylor called on her celebrity friends and prominent community leaders for support in answering the youth’s cry for mentoring and commitment. She refers to her involvement with the program as a “way of giving back to [a] community that has given [her] so much,” making her a philanthropic leader in the black community.
Still known to many as the face of Essence, Taylor has accumulated several awards for her influence in media, including a 1998 Magazine Publishers of America Henry Johnson Fisher Award, which made her the first African American woman to receive this honor; a 2002 induction into the American Society of Magazine Editors’ Hall of Fame; and a 2006 NAACP President’s award, just to name a few.
With Taylor’s commitment to making a difference in our community and her prominent role in affirming the beauty and presence of black women, it is an honor to have Susan L. Taylor as a Legacy Award recipient at the 2015 Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit.
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