Executive Director, Strategic Sourcing, Time Warner Inc., New York/California
As Time Warner Inc.’s executive director of strategic sourcing, Debra Lynn Langford is acutely aware of the impact of her efforts to identify and attract top-tier executives for senior positions at the media and entertainment giant, with such divisions as AOL, HBO and Warner Bros. “I am so proud to have introduced more than 100 top diverse executives into the Time Warner organization,” says Langford, who is also the president of the Southern California chapter of the National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in Communications.
When Langford was tapped for her current position, she already had more than 17 years’ experience as a creative executive. She has worked at Warner Bros. Television, Quincy Jones/David Salzman Entertainment, Essence Communications Inc. and Urban Entertainment.com. Her first media job, as director of development at Hanna-Barbera Productions, came only two years after earning a degree in business administration, marketing and advertising at the University of Southern California. “When I met William Hanna and Joseph Barbera at a NAACP luncheon, we discussed a variety of topics and, at the conclusion, they asked me to join their company,” Langford recalls.
The lesson from her parents, Barbara and the late Roland Langford, that “I could achieve anything I could dream,” was key to Langford’s career success. Her spiritual fortitude is equally important. “I wear a wristband that states ‘God is good all the time,’ which is a powerful affirmation and declaration,” she says. “In terms of what I want careerwise, I am enjoying this position immensely, especially because of the influence,” she says.
Meanwhile, she advises aspiring executives to heed the statement “Who you are is speaking so loudly that I can’t hear what you’re saying,” uttered by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the 19th-century American author, poet and philosopher. “This is a wonderful reminder to be yourself. It really is fitting in describing my career as I have been in so many informal situations where I was just ‘Deb’ and job offers followed,” Langford says.