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Joanna Coles
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Exclusively WSB

Joanna Coles

Cultivating meaningful relationships and balance in the age of digital overload.

Former Chief Content Officer, Hearst Magazines; Creative Advisor, CBS News; Executive Producer, The Bold Type; Author

Expertise In:

  • Women in Leadership
  • Innovation
  • Corporate Culture
  • Media and Journalism
  • Communication

Audience & Industry

  • Associations
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Corporations
  • The Marketing and Advertising Industry
  • The Technology Industry

A powerhouse who revolutionized Cosmopolitan, one of the best-known women’s brands, The New York Times has called Joanna Coles “one of the most powerful people in media.”

As the first chief content officer of Hearst Magazines, Joanna Coles guides the editorial and brand development for one of the world’s largest media companies—comprised of 300 magazines globally. Coles leads new magazine development activities and spearheads efforts to extend into television, live events, and other new platforms. After joining Hearst in 2006 as editor-in-chief of fashion content powerhouse Marie Claire, Coles was named editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, the largest women’s media brand in the world, in 2012. She quickly expanded Cosmo’s reach by pushing the boundaries beyond its traditional fashion and relationships content, joining the board of Snapchat (now Snap Inc.) in 2015, after being an early champion of the platform when other brands were still skeptical. Upon creating the role of chief content officer, Hearst Magazines president David Carey said Coles “has a creative, curious mind and her boundless energy will be an integral part of all we do.”

Coles is also an author, television co-creator, and executive producer—her current projects span from a scripted TV series based on her life as an editor, The Bold Type on ABC’s Freeform network, and a docu-series, So Cosmo, for E!, to a new book titled Love Rules on relationships in the digital age. Informed by a career in all aspects of the media landscape, Coles imparts her expertise on the intersection of business, publishing, technology, and marketing.

Featured Videos

Featured Experiences

Love Rules: Forming Meaningful Relationships in the Age of Apps

Are social media and dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge expanding our relationship possibilities, or hindering true connection? This is the question Joanna Coles poses in her new book, Love Rules: Getting the Relationship You Want. In this timely discussion, Coles explains: 

  • How to treat your relationships in love, family, friendship, and work as seriously as you treat your resume, setting goals and benchmarks to achieve what you want
  • Why self-care is important and how to “be your own shrink” to address your emotional health in order to get the most out of your relationships
  • How to trust your gut and not waste “emotional calories” in situations that aren’t right—whether in the boardroom or the bedroom

Leadership Lessons: Innovating Across Multiple Industries

A fearless and savvy creative powerhouse who reached the pinnacle of her field when other media brands were struggling to adapt, Joanna Coles has met the myriad challenges facing businesses today. In this engaging and dynamic discussion, she reveals:

  • Leadership lessons from her tenures at the helm of at Marie ClaireCosmopolitanSeventeen, and Hearst Magazines
  • The secrets to identifying new business opportunities and effectively executing new initiatives to drive revenue
  • Best practices for leading business development, cultivating innovation, and establishing cross-industry partnerships

Out With the Old (Media): Business and Marketing in the Snapchat Era

With her signature sharp wit and humor, Joanna Coles shares anecdotes and expertise from a career spanning traditional media to the cutting-edge world of Snapchat, with topics including:  

  • The future of digital communications: where content trends are heading for marketing, public relations, advertising, and branding
  • The importance of authentic communication: how to use social marketing initiatives to form personal relationships with customers and stakeholders
  • The media landscape's rapid transformation: why the intersection of new and old media channels is more important than ever


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Joanna Coles

The Bold Type (opens in a new tab)