Behind The Scenes

Black Enterprise recognizes ESPN’s Durant among its 40 Rising Stars

“Success is not luck. It’s what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” notes Black Enterprise in their February 2012 issue, currently on newsstands.

ESPNU and ESPNHS Vice President Rosalyn Durant is one of many ESPN employees whose career success shares that reflection. Durant is highlighted for such in Black Enterprise’s “40 Rising Stars, 40 and Under” cover story.

Rosalyn Durant

“When I look at the women whose company I share on the list — entrepreneurs, thought leaders, innovators — I am immediately struck by the incredible talent,” said Durant.

“I walked away from the list with a strong sense of encouragement for the next generation. These women are not only inspiring role models, they continue to create new opportunities for the future.”

February is customarily the publication’s career issue. Previously, the magazine has featured the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” or last year’s “75 Power Women in Business”, identifying high-ranking African-American women in various industries.

“We decided to put a spin on our most recent women’s list, the rising star list, by identifying younger women who were accomplished corporate executives and entrepreneurs,” said Sonja Mack, Black Enterprise multimedia special projects editor.

Mack, who compiled the list along with other editors, said that terms such as “business insider, game changer and innovator” most immediately came to mind when they reflected on the women chosen.

“Most of the women on the list are in their 30s. If you average in the time it took to earn Master’s degrees, MBAs and even Ph.Ds – which several of the women have – they’ve become corporate leaders in just a little more than 10 years.”

Durant shares a similar story of rocket ship achievement. In fact, she first began at ESPN as an intern in 1998 and joined the affiliate sales and marketing team full-time a year later.

February 2012 cover of Black Enterprise

“Since the very beginning, ESPN has offered me the opportunities and platforms to create my own success. Career advancement is three parts: having the drive to do something better, the skill to get it done and the opportunity to prove you can do both,” said Durant.

After seven years of continued promotions and increased responsibilities, Durant joined ESPN’s programming department as a senior director in 2006. Six years later, she is now responsible for setting the strategic direction of ESPN’s 24-hour college sports network and overseeing all programming and related multimedia initiatives associated with ESPNU and ESPNHS as a vice president.

“This year’s list was special to me because the women we profiled have achieved so much in so little time,” said Mack.

“I can easily foresee the women from our list expanding their companies and starting new ones, especially those in the digital space. And they all understand the importance of mentorship — either having been mentored or currently being mentors — so I’m sure they will leave behind a long professional legacy.”

The full list of “40 Rising Stars, 40 and Under” can be seen here. Black Enterprise is available on your local newsstand.

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