By Evan J. Cutts
Boston, MA — Twelve years ago, Josefina Bonilla founded Color Magazine, a premier diversity and inclusion publication determined to shift the narrative around professionals of color in the US. After selling Color Magazine to BridgeTower Media (BTM) in 2017 and shepherding the company through the transition as the magazine’s President and Publisher, as well as Chief Diversity Officer to BTM, Josefina ventures toward new horizons. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in Global Inclusion and Social Development at the University of Massachusetts – Boston. Her debut book “Roar If You Have To” is forthcoming in July 2019.
Josefina will continue to consult in the areas of diversity and inclusion strategy, multicultural marketing, and communications. When asked to reflect upon her legacy, she simply states:
“Legacy is more about the impact we have on others and their success than less about the accouterments of accomplishments we pick up along the day.”
Evan J. Cutts: What inspired you to start Color Magazine?
Josefina Bonilla: Candidly, what I saw in terms of coverage for people of color in mainstream media primarily centered around scholarships and crime; I focused on changing that. I wanted to create a company that would highlight and celebrate the accomplishments of the growing number of professionals of color in the country while also creating a community for those professionals.
Can you share one lesson that has served you throughout your career with Color Magazine?
JB: Make it easy for people to say yes to you.” It’s simple, yes, and it helps me be transparent and open in my interactions.
How can companies ensure they attract, retain, and value diverse talent?
JB: I think the big word there is value. If a company spends quality time, effort, and dollars on recruiting diverse talent, the next challenge becomes valuing diverse talent. In a recent LinkedIn article on the subject, I highlighted the importance of coupling diverse executive talent with different key players within the organization to demonstrate investment in the new executive.
In your opinion, what does it mean to be a woman of Color in 2019?
As women of color, we need to continue to be resilient, optimistic, and doers. Have your circle of supporters; you will need them. I can’t tell you how many phone calls I made to my circle before I sold Color. Some of them are my friends, others are my sponsors, and some simply believe in me and what I do. It is critically important as well to be there when others need you. Return that phone call, recommend or hire that person for a great job, and be a beacon of light to guide another.