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Sitting in a room with African American TV-One executives Antoinette Brown-Leon and Endyia Kinney-Sterns is an experience of enlightenment, intelllect, beauty and passion. All ingredients that are incorporated in their boss and mentor, the esteemed owner of TV-One-Kathy Hughes.
That in and of itself is no small coincidence as the trio are being saluted this week by the Sentinel during Women’s History Month a period of focus on the females who are making a difference in the lives of men, women and children.
Brown-Leon was recently promoted to Regional Vice President, Western Region Affiliate Sales & Marketing, a challenging and daunting task that requires of her to convince cable affiliates in markets where the Black population is less than four percent to sign agreements to carry the rising TV-One network that focuses on positive programming of African Americans.
“On the west coast I am responsible for the distribution of TV-One to cable and satellite providers,” Brown-Leon explained to the Sentinel. Her massive coverage area includes Texas and 19 additional states to the north of Texas.
“When folks say I can’t see TV-One, I’m the one usually responsible to make sure that they get it in their homes.”
Brown-Leon first met Hughes during a five-hour plane ride from the east coast while reviewing her TV-One employment manual.
Hughes curiously asked what she was reading and without even glancing to look at Hughes she brushed it off as if she was reading something of the garden variety.
Subsequently she was stunned and honored at the same time to be sitting next to a woman she so greatly admires.
Hughes, who founded Radio One in 1979 with then husband Dewey Hughes and launched TV-One in 2004, faced financial difficulties and subsequently lost her home and moved into to one of her radio stations with her young son early on.
Since then, she has gone on to own 70 radio stations in nine major American markets and has since become a symbol for aspiring women entrepreneurs and an American success story.
Brown-Leon first researched Hughes and her TV-One growing empire and decided to follow in her legendary footsteps. She left accomplished and established networks Lifetime to join in.
Kinney Sterns is a former BET director of development and she joined TV-One as senior director of programming and production.
“Basically I oversee any programs that come to us on the west coast such as the highly popular Michael Baisden show,” explained Kenney-Sterns.
Accomplished and even amateur writers and producers will pitch ideas and shows to Kinney-Sterns and she is empowered with the authority of evaluating the content before a decision can be made about them.
She served as intern at countless of production companies and networks, working for free before she finally got her big break, but now she finds herself in her dream job under the umbrella of Hughes.
“I have to say that Kathy Hughes is such an inspiration. Look at what she’s done and has been able to accomplish. She is one of the people who really gave me the inspiration to believe that I can really do this,” Kinney-Sterns told the Sentinel.
Both women are college graduates, with Brown-Leon having graduated from Long Beach State and Kinney-Sterns graduating from Pepperdine, respectively.
Similarly, the two TV-One executives are married with one child and they credit their husbands with any measure of success they have attained.
In each of their quest to reach the mountain top they need look no farther than Hughes who has convinced the pair that they too can someday not just work for someone, but be empowered so that they may allow for others to work for them.