Diversity & Entertainment Exec Debra Langford Has Learned to Prioritize the Personal Over the Professional

Featuring a broad cross-section of women who have distinguished themselves across a rich variety of careers, our Portraits of Power series is a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Black Enterprise, and of black women. It’s a place for today’s businesswomen to share their own favorite images and their own stories, in their own words. Today’s portrait is diversity, media and entertainment executive Debra Langford.

Debra Langford

California Film Commission Board Member

Nickname Deb

My first job was as a supermarket checker in high school; in college, a waitress; after college, a sales planner for outdoor media.

My big break came when I met Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera at an NAACP luncheon.

I’ve had to work hardest at being patient.

I never imagined I would be an appointee of President Barack Obama’s to the United Services Organization (USO) Board of Governors. Close second: the August 2004 cover of Black Enterprise!

I wish I’d learned sooner to prioritize my personal time over professional obligations.

The risk I regret not taking is leaving a job that was not working/in a toxic environment, earlier.

If I could design my fantasy self-care day, it would be spent at the Ritz Carlton New Orleans! After a first class flight and a massage with champagne, a fantastic, authentic dinner that starts with gumbo!

Checking Insta & Twitter right before going to bed keeps me up at night.

When I’m struggling, I say to myself, let go and let God. Surrender.

I am unapologetically a woman of faith who is committed to amplifying the people I love and respect.


Portraits of Power is a yearlong series of candid insights from exceptional women leaders. It is brought to you by ADP.

Debra Langford will be a speaker at the 2020 Women of Power Summit, March 5-8 at The Mirage in Las Vegas. Register here to join us!