AT&T Inc. has added Debra L. Lee, former chairman and CEO of BET Networks and founder of Leading Women Defined, to its Board of Directors.

Lee joined BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom, in 1986. At BET, she served in several leadership roles, including chief operating officer and general counsel, before she served as chairman and CEO at BET from 2006 until her retirement last year.

Under Lee’s leadership, BET reinvigorated its approach to authentic programming, launching hit shows such as The New Edition Story, Being Mary Jane, Black Girls Rock! and, the BET Awards and BET Honors. Lee was the company’s EVP and General Counsel in 1991 when BET became the first African-American-owned company to be publicly traded on the NYSE.  

“Debra’s outstanding leadership, deep expertise and strong track record in the entertainment and media industry will be terrific additions to our board of directors,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “Her unique perspective as a media industry leader and operations executive, and her lifetime commitment to community service give her valuable insights I look forward to having on our board.”

Lee is the founder of Leading Women Defined which launched in 2009 and serves on the board of Marriott International, Inc. as well as several professional and civic organizations, including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She is a past chair of the Advertising Council and trustee emeritus at Brown University. Lee holds a BA from Brown University, a JD from Harvard Law School and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Lee has been named to The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment and Billboard’s Power 100, and she is the only woman to be recognized by the GRAMMY Organization with its Salute to Industry Icons Award. She has also received the Distinguished Vanguard Award from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and is a member of both the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame and American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame.