Longtime BET Head Debra Lee Launches Diversity-Focused Consulting Firm, Vows to ‘Break Old Systems and Networks’

Chief Executive Officer of BET, Debra
Mark Von Holden/Invision/AP

Debra L. Lee, the former chairman and CEO of BET Networks, and Rabia de Lande Long, a noted executive coach and management consultant, have launched The Monarchs Collective, a new consulting firm focused on elevating Black executives and women.

“The Monarchs Collective, answers the calls for – and clear business value of – diverse leadership, and partners with organizations and executives to make it easier to discover, develop, and promote exceptional Black and women executives for boards and leadership roles,” reads a statement announcing the company, which will be based in New York and Los Angeles. “Frustrated by a perceived lack of qualified candidates who bring diversity but inspired by the great number of extraordinary talent in their networks, the co-founders launched The Monarchs Collective to break old systems and networks. They seek to accelerate efforts to expand leadership pipelines and create measurable and sustainable systems for engaging and retaining diverse talent.”

Recruitments on the executive level and board representation has been overwhelmingly white for centuries. Said Lee: “Changing the complexion of leadership creates incredible value for the company and the community. Businesses with diverse boards and leadership teams perform better. We know what it takes to help companies transform from the inside out, and it starts at the top. Companies need a new way to diversify board rooms and leadership — and we have the expertise to accelerate their efforts.”

“The Monarchs Collective solves challenges for both companies and prospective board members,” added de Lande Long. “For companies, we help accelerate and amplify the impact of extraordinarily talented Black executives and women on boards and in leadership. For executives seeking board seats, we help build their capabilities, confidence, and community and match them with opportunities. Companies will also get greater return on their diversity and belonging efforts while also elevating the community.”

Lee has held a number of board positions over the past 20 years and currently serves on the boards of AT&T, Burberry, Marriott, Procter & Gamble, and several nonprofits. She headed BET for 13 years and is also the founder of Leading Women Defined.