Elaine M. Brown
Vice President, Special Markets, Creative Services • Home Box Office Inc. • New York, N.Y.
Elaine Meryl Brown’s love of writing began with an assignment from her fifth-grade teacher. “I decided to adapt The Five Chinese Brothers into script form. I enjoyed the process,” says Brown.
Today, Brown is vice president of special markets in the creative services department of HBO Inc., overseeing the production of marketing video.
Upon receiving a B.A. in English and drama from Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., Brown set her sights on working behind the scenes in broadcasting. Although she lacked experience, she was hired in 1979 as a researcher for the ABC-TV show FYI with Hal Linden.
“The woman who hired me, liked me and believed in me. I must’ve gathered over 500 ideas, and many of them worked,” she says. Two years later she was a writer for the show. In 1982, her writing team won a Daytime Emmy Award.
Brown joined HBO in 1988 as a writer-producer in the creative services department, but left six years later to join Showtime Networks as creative director in the originals area of Creative Services. She returned to HBO in 1997 as creative director and was promoted in 2000 to vice president, special markets.
While her braodcasting career was in full swing, in her down time, Brown pursued her passion for writing fiction. Random House published her first novel, Lemon City, in 2004, and its sequel, Playing by the Rules, in 2006. She still does most of her writing at home. Portraits of abolitionist-author Frederick Douglass, Tuskegee University founder Booker T. Washington and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall sit on her desk for inspiration. She dubs them, “My Three.”
As a divorced mother raising her son, Brown says it is important that her life reflect the possibilities for personal and professional achievement. Indeed, with such a life as his model, her son, David, will graduate from Wheaton in May and plans to become a lawyer like his great-grandfather, who was the third Black lawyer in the state of Rhode Island.
“My son has inspired me to set an example to show that dreams can come true,” Brown says.