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Lauren deLisa Coleman Is Building An Empire – In Between Yoga and DJing. Here’s how she typically spends a day.

(photo courtesy of Lauren deLisa Coleman)

If the Land Of Changemaking had a queen, it would surely be Lauren deLisa Coleman, and her castle would be found in the mystical land known as the Hudson Yards section of New York City.  Yet far from admiring her jewels and walking around in fine gowns, she’s more like a warrior queen leveraging emerging tech, phones, Zoom, stats, and sprinklings of hip hop to leverage media and technology in new ways to raise people’s consciousness and awareness in innovative, edgy ways.

She’s launched a mission that unites her passion for culture, future trends, and technology that has resulted in a next level approach to social impact. It’s called GameChange and it has its roots in the challenges and triumphs that occurred during which the Columbia University undergrad founded her first business, Punch Media Group.

With Punch, Coleman dove full force into the male-dominated hip-hop music industry as a public relations boss. It was not before long that she expanded the agency into an overall digital branding powerhouse. Part of that expansion included ground-breaking mobile marketing strategies that came to her while she learned to code a bit as an offshoot of being accepted into the Entrepreneurs Development Training Program at UCLA’s top-rated Anderson School of Business. She fast-developed a reputation for not only delivering results but creating innovative concepts, which led Coleman and her team to work on projects from top recording artists — from Snoop Dogg to Ice Cube to Eminem.

“It’s not the business you run,” explains Coleman, “It’s what you do differently, with passion, and with a pulse on the future, that sets you apart. I made my first business hugely successful over a 12-year period and then decided to pivot, but it wasn’t an easy game.”

Knowing what’s at stake with most women of color encountering the same tough challenges and more, Coleman has now decided to do something that will not only make the path of others easier but in doing so, make for a more exciting industry overall.

This is about creating a new game — and she gets up early to hit the field.  She has to because is working on GameChange: the first-ever, new edgy initiative led by Black women for all women of color. It expands the TimesUp conversation to finally include concerns of  women of color:  economic justice and media innovation inclusion.

Lauren deLisa Coleman on set being interviewed for upcoming documentary “Fund Black Tech.” (photo courtesy of Lauren deLisa Coleman)

The early bird…

Waking up around 6am, Coleman first meditates, prays, gets in some quick sun salutations and other yoga moves. She then checks her email and digital news blasts.  

“I may send a few emails at 7:30 or 8am to get onto certain people’s radars, but for truly senior people I either do that in real time at 6am or craft them at the end of the previous day and schedule them for 5am or 5:30 am. It’s the best time to get onto the radars of CEOs and politicos. That’s my secret weapon to moving the ball down the field, she explains. Next, it’s on to scanning online news and Twitter trends — U.S. and Europe. And, of course, she checks out what’s trending on IG and Twitter as well. And if a topic hits her, she’ll share her views.

“It’s vital to check out the tone of the public conversation and business conversation daily because many times I’ll get insights on what I’m working on and it gives me a window into who is doing what so I can refer to it for potential partnership,” she shares.

Lauren deLisa Coleman in DJ class (photo courtesy of Lauren deLisa Coleman)

If time permits, Coleman will fire up her 1s and 2s and get a bit of DJ practice on her controller in her apartment to set the tone for the day and get energized from the beats, after which she’ll hit the shower with organic/clean products. She makes sure to take her probiotic and collagen supplements, drink lots of lemon water and have a power-packed breakfast with top-level vitamins and other supplements. 

Her high-energy morning prepares her for whatever could happen during the day — a demanding mission of inclusion in an immensely powerful intersection of sectors.

“Since Black women and women of color out-index in everything from media consumption to emerging tech adoption yet do not share nearly enough in equity of the Information Age, I decided that something new was needed,” says Coleman. GameChange is an unprecedented movement with hip programming: social events, demos showcases, leadership education series, advocacy, and relationship-building opportunities across genders and races so that women of color can fully participate in what she calls the Pop Culture Innovation economy. According to Coleman, the Pop Culture Innovation Economy is the intersection of emerging technology (i.e. 5G, AI, digital currency, blockchain) and mass media so that women of color can finally help control the flow of information, influence and perspective in America and around the world.

GameChange is also about allies of any gender, any race. It’s all about unity. “We love men,” she laughs, “provided they move with integrity. TimesUp kinda failed women of color because it never really took into consideration our financial concerns around speaking up about harassment, and, let’s face it, you have to be in and office to be sexually harassed. Not enough of us are in the offices of leadership and ownership, particularly in specific mass media power areas. And, honestly, since the TimesUp movement any meeting I have with a man in a corporate conference room the door is left open so all my proprietary info is in the hallway. That actually does a disservice rather than help. So I think in the next step of female equality and balance, women of color have a unique part to play in shaping the next level of professional conversation and behavior.” Part of this is GameChange and its approach. It truly is as much a non-profit as it is a movement.

Lauren deLisa Coleman hitting tech conventions and checking out products. (photo courtesy of Lauren deLisa Coleman)

With early support from Mark Cuban, Tamra Simmons (Emmy-winning producer of “Surviving R. Kelly”), Goldman Sachs, Nielsen, and Microsoft, GameChange is building as a force with which to be reckoned. 

Through a mix of media campaigns — the first entitled “The Genius of Black Women” featuring rap recording artists — programming, research, and content, Coleman intends to do all she can to tip the scale at least 15% in the next five years from the amount of content women of color consume, to that which is more equitable in terms of leadership positions. 

Armed with her branding background, Coleman is adamant about working with corporate partners in a symbiotic manner that drives the goals of each. This is not about handouts nor storming the castle crippling businesses or taking away deals from people but instead, focusing on how to use collaborative strengths to drive business forward. For example, Coleman is currently in talks with a key automotive maker to help the brand achieve its goal to reach influential, purpose-driven, tech, media, content creators while also supporting GC’s mission. ”We are developing a seamless way to integrate them into a new streaming talk show format that will focus on our messaging and give the ability to organically align the brand in creative ways while viewers obtain more information on important cultural issues in a manner like no one else today.”

Getting into the day

Coleman actually brings the vision to life by identifying partnerships for GameChange, creating investor reports, creating member surveys, contacting members of Congress about issues for members, planning future programming, and developing the organization website (thanks to Microsoft) a little more each and every day. She’s also hard at work on developing a custom mentorship program forthcoming with Goldman Sachs, and developing original content for a streaming platform.

“Such a strategy is key because what I’ve seen historically are blanket approaches, and we are just not making enough strides. It’s like boiling the ocean. Organizations that focus on all Black women or all women and tech or all tech are already out there. I’m very specific, and adamant about the Pop Culture Innovation Economy: the intersection of emerging tech and media in its absolute biggest sense because it drives every single thing we do today in our society! declares Coleman. In fact, she got the idea to launch GameChange while hosting a massive event at Sundance 2020 that her startup produced called the Future of Storytelling that included everyone from IBM to WarnerMedia to the United Talent Agency.

Startup?

Yes, Coleman is the stereotypical Ivy League over-achiever –in a good way. As if creating GameChange weren’t enough, she is simultaneously working on launching her own AI-driven media company VaporMedia at the very same time.

Hatched from discovery during research of her Amazon book entitled “Best New Media Studies,” her previous tenure at MTV Networks, and from contributorship writing experience at top media outlets from Forbes to CNBC.com to Business Insider; she is laser-focused on re-imaging all she learned from a successful 10-plus year successful run of a service-based company to now that of a product-based company that will change the game in the media world.

Indeed, she’s heading to Harvard in February for an intensive 10-day program at business school on launching new ventures to make sure that no steps are missed. Coleman, who just completed a National Science Foundation I-Corps virtual workshop in partnership with Howard University, is also prepping to speak in Portugal about future trends and AI this month. “To get the brand concepts out there early,” she explains.

Lauren deLisa Coleman on stage at The Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas at the NAB convention sponsored by Microsoft. (photo courtesy of Lauren deLisa Coleman)

She spends this part of her day cultivating advisors (some of whom are soon-to-be-announced hip hop artists and producers), developing the BETA, informing early-interest investors, planning gritty go-to-market street approach, and identifying users. Part of her team consists of not only a former Universal Music Group exec but also an AI whiz in China.

“Everybody wants to get on the AI train,” Coleman explains, “because out of all the pillars of the 4th industrial revolution, this one is the absolute most powerful in both business and culture, and together the three of us have a new take on it that also has social impact and several different revenue streams.”

“Lauren knows how to build a team. That’s something I saw right away,” says Dynishal Gross is the Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Economic and Financial Opportunity (DEFO) at the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “ It’s amazing to watch her pull together the right elements.”

Indeed, her past experience has prepared her for this challenging venture and to lead her new team into success. The MTV vet grew Punch Media Group into an international firm of a small but agile, hand-picked staff even becoming the lead company out of Coleman’s Paris, France office that helped drove the campaign that led to Jay Z’s selling Rocawear to Iconix brand for a streetwear record of $160 million thanks to her team’s early mobile marketing prowess mixed with personal introductions to interested distributors in the region.

“No matter what continent, my company would always get the calls for impossible projects since we built a reputation for delivering. Once, Ice Cube’s former partner came calling because they had only 14 days to reach a certain number of viewers across digital platforms in order to get the network to move past the 10 initial shows of ‘Are We There Yet?’” shares Coleman. “We succeeded by identifying demographic fragments before fragmentation even became a thing in marketing and zeroing in on them with specific, organic content hitting everyone from top bloggers of blended families to comedy fans to hip-hop heads and more. We exceeded the numbers thanks to a lot of focus and a lot of ginseng tea!” she laughs. 

“I always did what I said I would with my team. That’s why my reputation spread.”

Lauren deLisa Coleman at Sundance Film Festival with hip-hop legends The Black Eyed Peas, KRS-1 (far right), Rakim (kneeling) (photo courtesy of Lauren deLisa Coleman)

Her reputation has spread to the public section. Coleman has even been tapped by innovators in the political/NGO realm. She has produced congressional briefings on diversity at tech on Capitol Hill and has been an advisor to the United Nations Communication Corps Board, Digi-Cultural Advisor/Researcher. She also provided millennial/culture trend behavioral insight, resources, strategy, and cultural intelligence support for the Communication Corp of the United Nations Foundation Sustainable Development Goals initiative.

The big wind down

All this activity definitely calls for a power down, and Coleman takes recharge just as seriously the workday. Her evening may include a pandemic-style-Zoom volunteer session for Visions where she has volunteered physically for years with the visually impaired, or a late zoom dinner with a friend, cocktail class, or she might work on a thought piece for a top media outlet.

Coleman loves Mindvalley courses so she might spend a few minutes on a next class or unwind by reading or watching a movie or even doing Pilates and stretching. During her evening, she’s still checking out cultural convos from a style, fashion, beauty, wellness POV.

Around 10 pm every night, Coleman gets a second wind — and this could be dangerous and lead to all of the above being done rather than one or the other!  Hopefully, Coleman will settle in around midnight but not before one last fast check in with mom to make sure she’s okay since living alone since Coleman’s youngest sister passed away a year ago. “Then comes a thousand creams and serums for what I call my bathroom ritual. I’m completely addicted to skincare products. Finally, it’s lights out with white noise machine for maximum deep sleep,” she says.

In 6 hours she’ll get up and do it all again. 


About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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