#WomenOfWonder: You Can’t See What You’re Learning Until You Come Out The Other Side

Meet Andrea Bibbs: Vice President, Ad Sales Marketing & Studio Operations, WarnerMedia Group
Written by Myrna L. Datilus
Spotlight Blogger, SIS

Andrea Bibbs is the VP of Ad Sales Marketing & Studio Operations at WarnerMedia Group and has an impressive resume that details exactly how she has worked so diligently over the past two decades to get where she is today. During our conversation I was able to learn how many things we had in common, including our West Indian cultural backgrounds, and how driven Andrea is about getting to the next level in her life both professionally and personally.

As teenagers from Guyana, Andrea’s parents moved to London separately, and when they met one another for the first time in the early-’70s, they decided to migrate to Canada together a few years later in the mid’70s. That is where the story of Andrea Harry Bibbs begins. Andrea is a Guyanese- Canadian woman who prides herself on her cultural identity and embraces the values that have been instilled in her from her parents. Andrea is also “a wife and a mother to two amazing young children; my oldest is my 8 yr old daughter Bailey, and my youngest is my 5 yr old son, Braeden.” Since the children were born in the USA, and surrounded by American culture, Andrea and her husband, Trey, find that it’s important that they learn about their Canadian and Guyanese roots and history. “So it’s just, I think, similar to sort of what my parents did. They didn’t want us to lose that piece. And I feel really, it’s funny how life works. It’s like such a circle because I feel like the same thing. I don’t want them to lose that piece of who they are.” Based on all I have learned about Andrea in such a short amount of time, I am sure the children will never lose but only gain more of who they are in this world, just like their mother did. 

In the first Wonder Woman movie, the love interest of Wonder WomanSteve, made a strong statement, 

“It’s not about what you think you deserve, it’s about what you believe,” and it made me ask Andrea about her own life’s values and beliefs. I want to know how exactly they help her to reach the level of success she has in both her personal and professional life, and she simply responds, “One of my core values is leading with kindness. That’s something that my parents would always talk about.” Kindness and an added core value of relationship building is what has helped Andrea remain and thrive at WarnerMedia for about 21 years now. In 1998, Andrea started off as an Intern at CNN at the age of 21, right before graduating from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. A year after she graduated, she was offered an opportunity to come back to work for them. “I think that’s something that has never really changed about me. In this business of media and sales, it can be a really cut throat, competitive type business. I just never changed who I was in terms of being kind first of all, being empathetic, but really focusing on relationships and making sure that I was respecting folks just as what I wanted in return.” Andrea prides herself on forging genuine relationships, and not ones based only on ‘what can you do for me? How can you get me ahead?’ Andrea always kept a ‘how can I help you?’ approach with most if not all the relationships she has built throughout this business. Nonetheless, Andrea learned that being a kind, empathetic person doesn’t always go hand in hand with being a leader and moving up the corporate ladder. “I feel like I’ve just always led from a place of trying to be helpful while focusing on the right type of relationships.” This approach may have had her go up the corporate ladder at a slower pace, but by getting to where she is now by remaining true to herself and not stepping on any necks to get there, has helped her to be a true advocate of authenticity & integrity within the sales industry.

That one trip to Atlanta right before graduating college, led Andrea in 2000 (2yrs after graduating), to work at CNN/Sports Illustrated as a liaison between their website and on-air shows. She then went on to CNN.com in 2002 as an Associate Producer where she also served as a liaison between the site and shows, as well as working on interactive content for the site. “Working closely with the TV network and the site, again, was through relationships. I’d only been there for like a year and a half, but I think I had forged really great relationships where we kind of knew that something might happen with the network and the person who was then the lead of CNN digital whom, I’ve worked with before, said if anything happens to come find him….as soon as we found out that the network was shutting down, I reached out to him and I got a job there within a couple of weeks.” To prove Andrea’s consistent message of relationship building, a fun fact about her is that almost every single job she has had at Warner Media has been through the relationships she has built these 20 + years that she can hopefully expand a bit more of. Being a people person and genuinely helping people will always keep Andrea at a place of success, because she has proven herself to be time after time again, a very selfless person; and from my own experience, those types of people make it very far in life.

Another part of the first Wonder Woman movie which I loved so much, is when Diana realized her own strength while catching her own fall off the side of a building; she recognized one of her superpowers while in that moment and then she became unstoppable. That scene made me wonder, when did Andrea realize her own strength and that she too, was unstoppable? Andrea responded surprisingly by saying, “I’m still trying to find that strength. It goes through ebbs and flows. Thinking professionally, when I moved to Atlanta, I was working at this huge company where I didn’t necessarily know office politics or how to work in a big corporation, all while learning my job. I felt like after a year I did it without ever living by myself before and I overcame so many things. About seven years later, I actually had to move to London for a year for my job.” I truly believe that if Andrea didn’t already have the values instilled in her by her parents, she would have never been able to tap into her strengths to pick up her life and accept the challenge of moving to London (where her parents met; see everything full circle!) at the age of 30. This is a time when she thought she would be getting married, but instead, she was being told that this was an amazing opportunity, however she didn’t see it as such at first. She went from living in her own apartment to living with family and working U.S hours in London at a different office. If Andrea was not an unstoppable woman, she would not have been faced with those obstacles; obstacles that she didn’t think that she would have been able to overcome. When faced with challenges, Andrea reminds herself, “we got to do it.. It’s kind of like closing your eyes and doing it anyway. Just jump in.” This has been and remains to be Andrea’s mantra. 

While working in the Diversity and Inclusion space, Andrea was the D&I consultant for CNN in addition to her job at HLN from January 2019 until June 2019. Soon after, Andrea held the title as Sr. Director of Diversity & Inclusion Strategy for WarnerMedia News and Sports (which includes CNN Worldwide, Turner Sports, Bleacher Report and WarnerMedia Studios). She was in that role from June 2019 until Feb 2021. Andrea had to handle a number of things, such as partnering with different organizations and making their leaders aware of the importance of D&I, while working with the recruiters. “I think the biggest thing is just getting people in front of hiring managers. That’s something that I really did a lot of and made sure our recruiters knew the organizations that may not have been on their radar.” While working as and naturally being a true advocate and educator of D&I, it was and still is important for Andrea to let her colleagues and peers know that there are other avenues to learn and where to find other people that they can find resources in as well. She confessed that after a while, it becomes so overwhelming to be that ‘woman of color’ hub. She is just one person, and there are many others willing to assist in the same capacity as she is.

Before concluding our conversation, I wanted to ensure that I got to know a bit more about the side of Andrea that some people may not know about, such as learning about her lifelong dreams. When I asked Andrea what she has always dreamt of being, she said, “I definitely would have liked to work in fashion. I would obsess over fashion television, over magazines, specifically beauty magazines, and I think in a sense, I didn’t know that I could have a career in it. It’s funny because the magazines were the Seventeen magazines. I would get Essence a little bit as I got older, but it was a lot of those magazines. We didn’t really see a lot of reflections of ourselves. So I would obsess over any female of color model. Any writer whose picture I saw, especially a black woman, I would follow those magazine writers, cause you know, they were so few and far between, like Joan Morgan.” Andrea got a taste of her dreams when she interned for a fashion television show when she was in college. She says that the experience was lackluster and not really the best, so soon after she knew that a career in fashion was not for her. Nonetheless, as a working sales professional, Andrea has kept her love of fashion alive by supporting local and Black-owned designers and not being afraid to dress up her work from home gear. Check out her page to experience her truly vibrant and makes you smile, instantly.

Andrea currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, Trey of 10 years and their two children Bailey, 8, and Braeden, 5.

On behalf of the Sistas in Sales (SIS) Family, Congratulations Andrea on your promotion to VP of Ad Sales Marketing & Studio Operations.  

Keep on being the 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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