Debra Lee was born in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. She received a B.A in political science from Brown University, and then attended Harvard University, where she earned her M.A. degree from John F. Kennedy School of Government and J.D. degree from Harvard Law School.
Lee is most known for her career at BET Networks, where she began by helping create their legal department. She’s held many titles during her tenure at BET including executive vice president, general counsel of the legal affairs department, and president and chief operating officer.
BET rose greatly in ratings, revenue and popularity while under Lee’s leadership. Her work at BET has made her one of the top female executives in the United States.
Lee has received many awards for her accomplishments, including 2001 Woman of the Year Award from Women in Cable and Telecommunications. She was also the first black woman to receive the Distinguished Vanguard Award for Leadership from the NCTA in 2003.
Amongst other accomplishments, she was named Trustee Emeritus at her alma mater, Brown University.
After spending more than 20 years leading BET, Lee stepped down as president in 2017. However, she continues to act as chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Debra Lee is a great inspiration for women all over the world. Her accomplishments show that hard work and dedication pays off. Hats off to one of the most influential women of cable television.