Erika Bennett
Erika Bennett
Chief Marketing Officer
Essence Ventures
Erika joins Essence Ventures as its first-ever Chief Marketing Officer where
she will shepherd marketing across Essence Ventures portfolio of businesses including Essence Communications, AfroPunk, Beautycon and more. Erika brings to EV years of experience driving results for some of the world's most prestigious entertainment and consumer brands through insights-driven campaigns that have created meaningful and mutually beneficial brand/consumer relationships. She was recognized in 2018 as one of AdAge’s 40 under 40 and in 2016 as one of the Holmes Report’s Innovator 25.

Prior to joining Essence Ventures, Erika served as Instagram’s Global Culture and Community Marketing lead where she helped drive the development and growth of a new department at Instagram designed to activate, enable and amplify emerging culture on the platform by supporting underrepresented communities who are often at the epicenter of culture but do not often get the credit for it. She led the lionshare of creative output for the department and was instrumental in developing Instagram’s community marketing strategy.

Prior to joining Instagram, Erika served as Global Head of Entertainment, Education and Diversity Creator Marketing for YouTube where she oversaw YouTube's creator marketing programs in the entertainment, education and diversity and inclusion verticals. This includes working cross-functionally to drive business strategy, product innovation and developing diversity marketing programs that super-served these audiences against business and creator goals. She recently led the successful global integrated launch of the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund as part of YouTube’s $100M commitment to uplifting and illuminating Black Voices on- and off-platform.

Also while at YouTube, she was the Global Head of Social and Influencer Marketing, where she oversaw global digital marketing and influencer strategy for YouTube Originals (globally) and YouTube TV. In her tenure, she delivered YouTube Original’s first breakout scripted hit, Cobra Kai, while leading social and influencer efforts in support of YouTube TV’s tentpole sports marketing sponsorships of the NBA and MLB.

Previously, she was senior vice president of Allied Moxy, a division of Allied Integrated Marketing, dedicated to developing and executing best-in-class marketing campaigns that speak to the full diversity of the African-American consumer. Under her nearly five-year leadership, she shepherded the division to unprecedented year-over-year growth in new business and helped drive groundbreaking campaigns that delivered record-breaking results for such successes as ABC’s “black-ish”, NBC’s “The Wiz Live!” Netflix and Marvel’s “Luke Cage” and theatrical phenoms HIDDEN FIGURES, FENCES, STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, RIDE ALONG and the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise. The unparalleled evolution of the division was driven by innovation where Erika worked to expand the department’s capabilities across a spectrum of marketing disciplines including content creation, digital, influencer marketing and social strategy.

Other career highlights include launching the PR campaign for Call of Duty’s Black Ops 2, supporting key product launches for Beats By Dre and launching the most successful iteration of the wildly popular “Get Crackin’” Campaign for Wonderful Pistachios.

Erika attended Northwestern University where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in communications with a focus on radio, television and film.