Ed Lewis co-founded Essence, the first publication aimed at African-American women. He sold the company to Time Inc. in 2005, but remains chairman.
A New York native, Lewis was a football star in high school and earned a full scholarship at the University of New Mexico. At a school with only 12 black students of over 8,000, Lewis grew passionate in his studies of the Civil Rights movement—so much so that he lost his football scholarship over his perceived "radicalism." Although he started off as a financial analyst at the First National City Bank in New York, he was inspired by a conference he attended in 1968 where he met fellow ambitious African-American. He decided he wanted to start his own uniquely black business: a month later, Essence magazine was born. In its over forty year history, the circulation has blossomed to over 7.5 million, and Essence's success led to Latina magazine in 1995. In honor of Lewis' remarkable successes, he was named the first black chairman of the Magazine Publishers of America, and although he sold the company in 2005, he remains one of the most respected figures in the industry. [Image via Getty]