For more than thirty years, Susan L. Taylor has been the tour de force behind Essence magazine’s success as one of the nation’s leading lifestyle magazines for African American women. She joined Essence in 1971 as a young freelancer in fashion and beauty, and by 1981, her ascension through the Essence organization’s ranks culminated with the position of editor and chief. Under her dynamic headship, the magazine’s circulation went from 600,000 to over 1 million and presently boasts a readership of more than 8 million persons across the United States and worldwide. Since leaving the editor’s post to become editorial director in 2000.
Most recently, Taylor gave up her duties as editor and chief of Essence to assume the role of editorial director in 2000. She continues to write her monthly “In The Spirit” column and remains executive producer of the Essence Awards and Essence Music Festival. However, the major shift means that Taylor will no longer be responsible for reading every single manuscript before it is accepted into the magazine’s pages, as she had done for the last nineteen years. Taylor’s new responsibilities include the oversight of ECI’s umbrella initiatives including Essence Entertainment, Essence Eyewear and Hosiery, Essence by Mail, Essence Licensing, and Essence Books.
“In January 2008, I left Essence magazine after 37 years to join with community leaders in mounting the largest mentoring movement in the history of the nation. Founded in 2006 as Essence CARES, the National CARES Mentoring Movement is today a fast-growing coalition of some of the nation’s most trusted organizations, concerned Black Americans and caring supporters,” says Taylor.