Caroline A. Wanga
page-template-default,page,page-id-1887,bridge-core-1.0.5,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode_grid_1300,footer_responsive_adv,qode-theme-ver-18.1,qode-theme-bridge,disabled_footer_bottom,qode_header_in_grid,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.0.2,vc_responsive

Caroline A. Wanga

Caroline A. Wanga
CEO, Essence

Caroline A. Wanga stands as a beacon of leadership and empowerment in the corporate world, contributing significantly to the realms of diversity, inclusion, and organizational growth. Recognized for her impactful journey and outstanding achievements, she has rightfully earned her place in the 5th list of 100 Most Influential African Women in 2023 by Avance Media. As the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ESSENCE, a prominent media, technology, and commerce company dedicated to Black women and communities, Wanga’s influence extends far beyond the corporate landscape.


Caroline A. Wanga embarked on her career journey at Target Corporation, where she made a lasting impact through her roles in supply chain, business intelligence, digital, and strategy. Starting in supply chain, she progressed through various transformational leadership positions, showcasing her ability to drive change and innovation within a corporate environment. Notably, she served as Target’s Chief Culture, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer, emphasizing her commitment to fostering inclusive and diverse workplaces.


In 2020, Wanga joined Essence Ventures, the parent company of ESSENCE, as the Chief Growth Officer, bringing her wealth of experience and strategic insights to further elevate the company’s position as a leading voice for Black women. Her transition from Target to ESSENCE marked a pivotal moment in her career, emphasizing her dedication to empowering communities through media, technology, and commerce.


Caroline A. Wanga is recognized as a cultural architect, showcasing her passion for constructing, deconstructing, and reconstructing organizational culture. Her multifaceted career spans disciplines such as youth development, grant-writing, community organizing, supply chain, human resources, culture, and media. This diverse expertise underscores her ability to navigate complex challenges and drive holistic organizational growth.


As a self-proclaimed equity strategist, thought leader, and community influencer, Wanga’s impact extends beyond the boardroom. Her commitment to authenticity and her unapologetic belief that each person’s identity is non-negotiable sets her apart as a leader who advocates for individuality in professional settings. Wanga’s approach is encapsulated in her famous quote, “Who you are is who you are. If you cannot be who you are where you are, you change where you are not who you are.”


Caroline A. Wanga’s influence extends to the global stage as a highly sought-after keynote speaker. Her real-talk delivery, witty thought leadership, and unmitigated perspective on democratizing authenticity make her a powerful advocate for change and innovation. She inspires audiences with her journey from entry-level positions to the highest senior leadership roles, showcasing the possibilities of perseverance and authenticity in the corporate world.


Caroline A. Wanga’s recognition in Avance Media’s 2023 100 Most Influential African Women list is a testament to her exceptional leadership, advocacy for diversity and inclusion, and commitment to empowering communities. As the CEO of ESSENCE, she continues to shape the narrative for Black women and communities, leaving an indelible mark on the media industry. Her journey, expertise, and unyielding commitment to authenticity make her a transformative force in the corporate world and a role model for aspiring leaders.

Photo Credit: Sydney Opera House