Interview: Dianna Hobbs reflects on and celebrates milestone 12 years of web publishing
Interview & Article By Sia James // Special Feature
BUFFALO, New York (EEW Newswire) In a little over a decade, award-winning Christian media specialist, Dianna Hobbs, has reached millions online through viable faith-based brands, which have blossomed into global forces for change.
This month marks 12 years in web publishing and has sparked a celebration (organized by her team at a downtown Buffalo, NY restaurant) of her multiple organizations’ broad impact that is felt on several continents: Africa, Europe, Australia, North America, and Asia.
As Hobbs’ publicist, administrative assistant, family, editors, and other staff executives buzz around her laughing, eating, and talking, she gets reflective about when she was graduating from college almost two decades ago, and admits her life plan was different. According to her, it looked like this: welcome her second daughter with her husband, then settle comfortably into the role of domestic engineer, work in her local church, and share the Gospel with those in and around the Buffalo area.
But today, the 42-year-old is way ahead of her life projections. Branded an African-American history-maker, owner of a Top 100 blog and podcast, author of best-selling self-published books, founder of an impactful nonprofit, and doting wife of 21 years to Kenya Hobbs—a union that has produced four children— she still seems stunned by what her life looks like today.
“Believe it or not, I wasn’t very ambitious growing up,” says the Buffalo native whose soft, natural curls frame her face, which has an ethereal glow. “I had this simple life carved out in my mind, and I honestly thought I knew exactly how things would go for me. But God laughed at my plans, tossed them out, and has done extraordinary things. There was no way I could have forecasted this.”
The origins of Hobbs’ web influence began with Empowering Everyday Women Online Magazine that launched in 2007 with little fanfare. The founder and editor-in-chief entered a wide-open lane of Black CEO’s specifically creating content for African-American Christian women. With zeal, excitement and an incredible work ethic, she and her small staff transformed the tiny startup into an engaging platform for faith, politics, lifestyle, and inspiration, earning a solid reputation, and major accolades for ushering Black Christian-focused content into the digital age.
“We have, by the grace of God, been able to change the way many in the mainstream think about Christians, who for a long time have been dismissed and thought of as an unlearned, narrow-minded, culturally-illiterate group. But nothing could be further from the truth,” Hobbs says, sipping black tea, in between exchanges of laughter and small talk with her tight-knit circle, while her husband, dressed in a dapper tan suit, black shirt, and no tie, works the room.
Hobbs’ foray into media, which played out amid hard times for the magazine business, came during the industry’s changeover from print to web. 12 years later, it is clear that online media has stood the test of time and Hobbs has proven that Christian voices have an undeniable place in the digital landscape. Even with all the success, Hobbs admits launching into her specific industry was indeed a leap of faith. Back then, as print publications were folding at alarming rates and people who had once had secure, stable jobs, were packing boxes, and looking for new professions, digital publishing was still fairly new, and seemed risky.
“It was not all sunshine and rainbows for EEW,” Hobbs says, poking at her salad with a fork and leaning in to make sure I could hear her soft voice. She candidly tells of the early days when no one took her budding digital publication seriously, making it hard to land interviews, sponsors and advertisers. But soon, industry power players took notice of her online niche impact and global brands like McDonald’s, Verizon, Thomas Nelson, Lionsgate, and more came calling.
Today, forging partnerships, landing features and generating public interest is no longer an issue. In fact, the busy executive is far more selective in choosing which opportunities to pursue and has mostly moved away from feature-driven stories. In recent years, she has shifted gears, with the bulk of her time and attention being spent building Empowering Everyday Women, Inc., her 501c3 nonprofit organization that aids women and girls worldwide through philanthropic campaigns, missions work, and distribution of free, faith-building resources.
“Nonprofit work is the joy of my life,” says Hobbs, also first lady of City Church Buffalo, a fast-growing urban ministry, where she serves alongside her pastor-husband. As for EEW Magazine, it is still going strong, even if its focus has shifted.
On this day, sitting in a position of strength and leadership, Hobbs waxes reflective about “the privilege my team of editors and I have had to interview and feature Christian singers, Hollywood actors, politicians, preachers, authors, and everyone in between.” Hobbs, too, has been featured by PBS, NBC, Washington Post, Christian Post, and a slate of other publications and networks. Additionally, she continues globe-trotting, sharing her books and Bible-centered messages of transformation.
With all that has gone right in Hobbs’ life, the media maven, who has had numerous, well-documented health challenges in the past, is honest: “Struggles for me have been very real and the road has not been easy.” Reveling in the joys of present milestones and reflecting on the past 12 years spent juggling media and real-life struggles, Hobbs says, “Thank God He has given me strength to plow forward and soldier on.”
Before concluding the interview and joining the celebration’s organizers for cake and ice cream, Hobbs makes one final observation: “I look back over my life and see God’s grace, and I now truly know what it means to be an empowered woman, and am humbled to have the opportunity to empower other women just the same.”