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Interview with Josefina Bonilla

Today we are interviewing Josefina Bonilla. Josefina is a close friend, an amazing woman, and a very successful entrepreneur! She is the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Color Magazine.

Meet Josefina!

Josefina Bonilla is the Managing Director of Color Media Group, LLC and Publisher of its flagship publication, Color Magazine. She is responsible for creating business Josefina Bonillapartnerships and developing opportunities to promote diverse professionals in New England and New York City.  Josefina’s role requires her to oversee the management of Color Magazine as well as the launching of new markets.  It has a circulation of over 55,000 copies and is strategically distributed in local daily and weekly newspapers and in red boxes strategically positioned in Boston and New York City.

Prior to launching Color Media Group, LLC, Josefina was the Editor-in-Chief of EntreAmigos Magazine, a one-of-a-kind publication highlighting professional Hispanics in and around Boston that she co-founded with Hispanic News Press.  As the Editor-in-Chief, Josefina was responsible for the content and management of the magazine as well as generating and managing revenues. Josefina was also part of the Editorial Committee of El Planeta Newspaper where her voice weighed in the weekly content.

Josefina has also worked on the other side of the media spectrum as a Public Relations Director for Wentworth Institute of Technology.  In this role, Josefina’s responsibilities included creating and implementing the institute’s public relations campaign as well as managing external communications and relationships with college stakeholders and media outlets.

Josefina is committed to continually growing and learning.  She is a board member of The Partnership and an active member of the Association of Latino Professionals in Accounting and Finance, National Association of Asian American Professionals and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.  She is an avid reader and writer.  Josefina has co-written 5 screenplays with her sister Blanca.  Two of which, I Love You So Much and Ontrial, have been selected as finalist at the Sundance Screenwriter’s competition.

Josefina can be reached via her website.

About Color Magazine

Color Magazine is the premier all-inclusive monthly magazine that highlights topics of interest revolving around New England and New York’s professionals of color.  Color Magazine started in January 2008 as a small, newsprint insert.  Today, it is a full color, glossy magazine and is the first and only of its kind in the country, with content written by writers from various ethnicities, backgrounds and professions.

I had the honor to attend Color Magazine’s Second Annual All-Inclusive Awards Ceremony on Thursday, December 3, 2009.  The All-Inclusive Awards ceremony is held to honor leaders of inclusive from various backgrounds and organizations.  A wonderful event attended by over 500 people.  A total of six awards were presented in categories including Leadership, Supplier Diversity and Change Agent.  A memorable evening that really leaves you feeling charged and ready to take on the world!

Thank you, Josefina, for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with us today.  We are honored to have you with us, and I know our audience will be interested in your background and how you decided to start Color Magazine.

The Interview

Gina: So, let’s start with you!  Tell us a little about your background, specifically what you did prior to launching Color Magazine.  How did the idea to launch Color Magazine start, and what challenges did you face in launching a new magazine?

Josefina: While running EntreAmigos Magazine, a publication dedicated to capturing the presence of Latinos in Boston, I recognized that there was a bigger need in our communities to feature Professionals of Color in a positive way that was when the idea of Color Magazine was born.

Gina: What is your proudest moment with Color Magazine?

Josefina:  In December of 2008, we introduced our Glossy full color version of Color Magazine.  We had launched as an 8 page newsprint insert so moving from that to a glossy publication was a deeply satisfying moment.

Gina: You just held your Second Annual All-Inclusive Awards with a great turnout and Forest Whitaker as Keynote Speaker.  What a moving event!  Tell us about the All-Inclusive Awards – explain the award categories and how individuals and organizations become eligible to be nominated.

All-Inclusive Awards 2009
Josefina: I have to admit that it was an amazing feeling to be able to gather so many people from a variety of backgrounds and ethnicities in one room to celebrate inclusion.  We all have dreams and ideas of what we want to do, but when you are able to take one of those ideas and bring it to life; it is truly a fulfilling experience.

The nomination process is pretty competitive.  The nominees are selected by the Advisory Committee of Color Magazine which is made up of high level professionals in the different communities of color.  I felt conflicted the year we did this as many of the nominations were companies we were doing or want to do business with so I stepped out of the selection process and asked the Advisory to take over.  I find out a mere day before everyone else and feel really comfortable with the fairness of it all.

Gina: I had the honor of attending the Second Annual All-Inclusive Awards and I can tell you from my perspective it was an outstanding event!

Gina: What are some positive trends you have seen with organizations over the last 5 – 10 years regarding promotions into leadership roles of people of color?

Josefina: I would definitely like to see more.  In the last few years, many more companies are including diversity initiatives as part of their strategic plans and not just as a checkmark that they are marking off.   And, really this is a smart way to conduct business.  If you look at the buying power of people of color, the question then becomes why are you not doing more?

Gina: I would agree with you completely.  Many of the clients I work with are looking at how to implement diversity programs within their organizations.

Gina: You just started a new foundation, Color Magazine Foundation.  Can you tell us a little about the foundation?

Josefina: The foundation’s mission is to provide financial assistance to professionals of color wanting to return to school for graduate degrees.  For most individuals, when they are ready to get their doctorate or master’s, they have so many financial obligations and personal commitments that it making it even more difficult to return to school.  The foundation was created to lessen these financial burdens.

Gina: What a wonderful cause!  I wish you much success with the Foundation.

Gina: Tell us about some of the interesting individuals you have highlighted in your magazine?

Josefina: Wow! That is indeed a difficult question.  I have been intrigued by the accomplishments of all our cover professionals.  On a deeply personal note, I was particularly taken by the interview with Bob Unanue, President of Goya Foods.  Not only was he incredibly generous with his time, but learning about the company whose foods I consume on a regular basis was an honor.  Another great interview was with Cleve Killingsworth, President of Blue Cross/ Blue Shield – a brilliant man with a plan and a mission.

Gina:  All amazing people who have done such wonderful things in their lives.  I can imagine it would be a thrill to get to know these individuals.

Gina: What are your goals for Color Magazine?  How do you see Color Magazine in 5 years?

Josefina: I expect to make Color Magazine into the national publication.  We are currently in Greater Boston and New York City soon to enter Chicago and Miami.

Gina: How can our readers subscribe to Color Magazine?

Josefina: They can visit our website and subscribe there.
Josefina, Thank you so much for your time today.  This was a very interesting and informative conversation.  I have learned quite a bit today!  I state again, you are an amazing woman and I look forward to the success of Color Magazine and the Foundation.  Wishing you much success and happiness in 2010 and beyond!

Josefina can be reached via her website.

Pictures courtesy of Color Magazine.