#WomenOfWonder: You Are Stronger Than You Believe

Meet Ebony Moore: Vice President, Linear & Digital Account Service, WarnerMedia
Written by Myrna L. Datilus
Spotlight Blogger, SIS

Ebony Moore is the VP of Linear & Digital Account Service at WarnerMedia Group and has been with the company for the past 26 years. Throughout her time at WMG, Ebony has witnessed the company transition from Turner Media to WarnerMedia Group and is currently going through a reorganization within the company now.

“We’ve been going through this transformation and this reorganization as of November last year, so my role has changed a little bit in the last seven to eight months. I now oversee Linear only, Planning and what we call Advanced Audience Solutions, which is basically targeting linear television by trying to reach very specific advertisers so there’s no waste in the impressions that we deliver.” Along the way, Ebony has learned a lot about herself and the business, and during our great conversation, I learned how what she has experienced over the years has shaped her into the wonderful woman she is today.

Ebony was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA by parents that instilled in her core values by taking her to church every Sunday, and ensured that she knew the value of education. She graduated with her Bachelors in Communications Media from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a school that she initially didn’t want to attend, but since she was admitted under a full scholarship, her dad convinced her to give it a try. Her Philly pride continued to permeate off the screen as she speaks highly of where she is from and what drives her to keep succeeding at WMG, but like any story of success, it comes with its challenges, so I became more intrigued about her story the more she shared some of the trials she has faced as a black woman in the media/ad sales world.

Since we are remaining with the Wonder Woman theme for this blog series, I chose to ask Ebony similar questions as asked to her colleague and friend, Andrea Bibbs. The love interest of Wonder Woman, Steve, made a strong statement, “It’s not about what you think you deserve, it’s about what you believe,” and it made me also ask Ebony about her own life’s values and beliefs. Ebony shared, “…it’s gotta be faith over fear. Fear is just the unknown, but fear and doubt can kill.” This question allowed Ebony to recall a time or two in her career when her faith was challenged, and she had to be reminded of her values and beliefs. She shared a time when she was being overlooked for a job position because her boss did not want to lose her as an admin and was intentionally blocking her from getting promoted. Ebony states, “I went to the hiring manager and I said, I know you’re interviewing other people, so you’re not going to choose me? What could I have done differently so that I know for the next time?..and he told me you didn’t do anything wrong. He said, your boss wants to keep you. And so that’s why I’m still interviewing. I was like, okay, well, that’s a different conversation.” Ebony took that moment as an opportunity to talk to her boss and told her how much she really wanted this new role as she didn’t want to be a career admin.  She asked her boss something I would’ve never thought to ask, “so how can I help you make this transition work for you as well as work for me?” Ebony ended up performing dual jobs for three months while her boss was interviewing replacements, and although Ebony does not agree that it was fair for her to jump through hoops to secure her next role, she thinks that it “builds a fortitude in my need to speak up or just sit back and let things happen to you.” Due to this situation, Ebony found her voice, and she emphasizes, “You have to have the courage over your convictions…it’s just faith over fear, reminding myself that God’s got it, even when I stumble, even when I fall, and even when I veer off the path that He has set for me…, He’s still walking beside me. He’s still got me.” WOW.

You wouldn’t know it if you saw her, but Ebony turned 50 this year.  She recalls saying to herself what most of us say as we approach a milestone age, “I’m going to have it all together. I’m going to have it all figured out,” but Ebony quickly realized that what is constant in life is change and opportunity for growth, and she has come to terms with that. She also posed a question that I am still pondering on, “Imagine if you just got to a place in life where you’ve just arrived?” My question after that is, ‘then what?’ Exactly.

I segued into referencing when Diana“Wonder Woman,” found her strength; I needed to know when that moment happened for Ebony.  She shared that she found that moment at a low point in her career. “One of my employees had doctored an invoice that went to an agency. She literally sat with paper, scissors, tape, and cut out units to put them on an invoice to show an agency that units had aired that had not aired. I got blamed for it. Somehow it came out at the end of the story that I knew that she was doing this, that I sanctioned her doing this, that I gave her the green light to do this, which of course is not true and completely made up.” I had to ask if the woman who fabricated everything was a white woman, and as you may have guessed, she was. Due to this incident, Ebony, her business practice, and her expenses got audited, people around her were being interviewed, and the whole premise of this was really to dig up dirt on her and to figure out a way to terminate her. “I just remember the intense scrutiny that I was being audited and that I just didn’t want to be at Turner anymore.” Ebony says she remembers clearly one night, “around two o’clock in the morning, I was just on my knees and praying and crying. I just felt a peace come over me confirming this is all going to work out. You’re going to face this problem, head on, and they’re not going to run you out of here. You have put in the time and the work and the effort and it was done.” God was able to give Ebony the assurance that she needed at that time, and that assurance combined with her unshakeable, honest demeanor, motivated her colleagues and friends to advocate for her, making it clear that they knew that she would never approve doctoring an invoice.

The employee was immediately fired and left quietly. Ebony shared that she overheard someone say they wanted to make an example out of her, but she states that if she chose to leave the company, it was going to be on her terms and it would not be because someone is trying to force her out by creating a narrative around her that portrays her as a thief or a liar. Although Ebony never received the apology she deserved, she did receive a big bonus eight months after the whole incident. Although she accepted the bonus, Ebony still felt jaded because just a few months ago they were trying to fire her, but now they were all singing her praises.  “I’ve grown up and I’ve moved on, but I haven’t forgotten that it happened…God spoke to me and said, to just be still, because He was going to work this out for me,” and clearly, He did.

In reference to diversity and inclusion, Ebony shared that because they are headquartered in Atlanta, they employ a large number of African-Americans, but in the sales organization, which is the money-making organization, there aren’t many that look like her, even after 25 years. “As a VP, I consider myself to be a lower level executive, and I employ entry level and junior level people. So there’s a woman of color in a high position, so I ensure that my staff is diverse, with Black, White, Asian, and people in the LGBTQ community.” Over the years, Ebony has seen whole departments of people that look the same. So the question is, how do we challenge ourselves to get out of this pattern of hiring people that we’re comfortable with and not hiring people that challenge us, have different perspectives, worldviews and experiences? Some 20 odd years later, they’re still trying to figure this out. Wow.

Ebony shared these strong statements to keep me reflecting even after our conversation was through. “If you don’t teach people, they’re never going to know, so I have to take time to recharge and step away sometimes. That’s when I find myself on a beach somewhere taking my time to recharge…the people before me fought with no vision of seeing their descendants doing what you and I are doing right now. They lived in poverty and died in slavery, so I owe it to the generations of people that have come before me to do my part, whatever that means.” It is all going to work out eventually, at least that’s what we’re hoping.

Ebony currently resides in New York with her daughter, Mikhayla.

On behalf of the Sistas in Sales (SIS) Family, Happy Belated Birthday! Keep on being the amazing Wonder Woman that you are!

Sistas in Sales, LLC (SIS) is a community for women of color sales professionals to network, advance their careers and most importantly, find sisterhood – offering events, thriving Slack community with companies hiring now, and career coaching services. Learn more about Sistas In Sales membership here, connect with us on LinkedInInstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

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