Shanell Boyd (Photo credit: Kenneth Dixon)

Over the course of her career, Shanell Boyd has been a senior-level, strategic marketing and sales leader curating, strategizing, executing and leading integrated sales and marketing solutions for business-to-business and business-to-consumer clients.

Having worked for Comcast, sports and film brands and several major television networks, including UP TV, Oxygen, In Demand and TV One, she is truly a woman to watch. During her time at each company, she successfully increased profit shares and subscriber growth by passionately ideating and executing cross-platform marketing strategies across several media outlets, including TV, social media, digital and radio.

Now, as the corporate development director for the Pan African Film Festival, Boyd continues to activate brands and market campaigns to amplify the voices of multicultural creatives. Founded in 1992, the Pan African Film Festival takes place each year in Los Angeles during Black History Month and is dedicated to promoting cultural understanding among people of African descent.

Rolling out recently spoke with Boyd about how she made the transition from corporate executive to entrepreneur and how she would advise other women who are thinking of doing the same.

What is your superpower?

My ability to influence others.

What would you say to young Black women who are afraid to “lean in”? 

What are you afraid of? Listen, this life will knock the wind out of you if you allow it. Take the punches, take the rejection, take every L, but trust me, if you continue to sit in the back of the room waiting on someone to pass you the ball, you’ll remain a second thought or no thought at all.

What motivated you to transition from corporate America to entrepreneurship in 2016?

To be completely transparent and authentic, I was not ready to become an entrepreneur. After I was laid off, I thought it would be easy to land another job because of my 15 years of experience as a television marketing executive. The reality is the climb is much easier at the junior level of your career, but once you reach the director or C-suite level, the competition is greater because there are fewer positions, especially for Black women. I tell people I didn’t choose this life, it chose me. At the end of the day, I’m a survivor and a born go-getter so I had to go get it. The advice I would give to other Black women considering entrepreneurship is to have a real plan. Grin and bear [it] from nine-to-five and build your from 6 [to] 12. You have to be ready for this game because I promise you will lose more rounds in the beginning as an entrepreneur than you’ll win.

Who and how do you mentor?

I have mentored so many young women throughout my career, but I truly enjoy mentoring the teachable. Be hungry, assertive and even a little bit bossy, but please don’t forget to be teachable. I’m still learning and seeking wise counsel, so take my advice: do the same until you find sponsors and advocates who are the real game-changers.


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