CAREER CONVERSATIONS: Head of Digital Marketing at Essence Magazine and Founder of, Whitney Headen


Whitney Headen is a woman who does it all! Currently, she is the Head of Digital Marketing at Essence Magazine. In addition to leading the digital direction of one of the largest fashion, beauty, and lifestyle publications, Headen has lengthened her already impressive resume by launching her own online platform for millennial women called The Life Currency.

She recently chatted with PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT about her career, her passion for educating young women about financial literacy, and more! Keep reading to learn about the media executive, mentor and millennial strategist.

1. As a woman who holds many titles, how have your prior educational and life experiences prepared you for your career today?

Education and life experiences have played a huge part in shaping my career today. I’m a true believer that education starts before and goes far beyond the classroom. I’m constantly trying to surround myself with people I can learn from, seeking knowledge through conferences, educational platforms, and mentorship. There is no way I would have gotten as far as I have without those things.

2. You are the founder of and head of digital marketing at Essence Magazine. How do the responsibilities associated with these positions vary?

Honestly, the responsibilities between the two jobs don’t vary that much. They are both rooted in innovation, strategy, leadership, and execution. The great part about being able to work with a brand like ESSENCE as I grow The Life Currency is that I get to experience first-hand what comes with building a successful site and apply those same practices to my own business.

3. Your website helps millennial women navigate their 20s. Why was it important for you to create this type of platform?

The Life Currency is important to me because I felt like there was a gap in the community of people having honest conversations about what it takes to be successful, financially literate, and independent after college. I wanted to build the platform that I needed when I was first starting out to help give me a blueprint for tough decisions like finding an apartment, preparing for an interview, or balancing my bank account.

4. Along your own financial journey, what were some of the biggest mistakes you've made?

Some of the biggest financial mistakes I’ve made have been underestimating my monthly expenses, putting my finances in someone else's hands, and not prioritizing saving and investing when I had the opportunity.

5. Can you share a few tips on how young women can take charge of their finances?

Stop being afraid of money! Economics power is the most powerful tool in the US so we must educate ourselves on how it works so we’re not left out of the conversation.

If you can’t afford to buy something twice, you can’t afford it.

Figure out how to make your money work for you as early as possible. That means contributing to your 401k, picking stocks, or finding a savings account with a high interest rate.

6. Are there any apps you would recommend to help young women with money management in their daily lives?

I love Mint - I check my Mint app every single morning to see where my money is going, how my investment accounts are doing and to pay attention to my spending habits. I think this is a great app to begin your money management journey because it really helps you see where your money is going across all accounts including credit and savings accounts.

7. How do you manage to balance your personal and professional life while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

It’s very difficult sometimes, especially when it comes to all of the traveling. The best thing I’ve done to remain healthy is making exercise a part of my life. I started making waking up to get a workout in before work a priority and now if I miss it, my whole day is off balance. I also make sure I keep it fun. I’ll mix different workouts and take classes to make sure I never get bored.

8. When you're busy working on content for or Essence, what healthy foods do you like to keep handy to fuel you throughout the day?

I’m definitely a juice girl, I love to have a juice in the morning. And I’m Caribbean so I pretty much put ginger in everything.

9. If there was one piece of advice you could give young women, what would it be?

Great success comes from being consistent with your execution.

10. What's next for Whitney Headen?

I can’t say what’s next for me exactly but I know there will be much to see with The Life Currency; this summer we’re launching an event series, a set of digital courses, and a college tour.

11. What does PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT mean to you?

To me, PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT means women who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty to get things done.

12. How can our readers stay in touch with you?

You can find me literally everywhere! My name on all social channels is @whitneymari_ and don’t forget to follow @thelifecurrency and visit the website and my email is -- I answer all emails!

TEEN REPORTER | Olivia Hancock is currently a freshman at Georgia State University. The 18-year-old has loved writing ever since she can remember and her passion for it has allowed her to hold the title of PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT Teen Reporter for four consecutive terms. In addition, Olivia has had the opportunity to work with Her Campus and Nordstrom as an ambassador. When she’s not writing, the creative college student can be found spending time with family and friends. In the future, Olivia plans to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and pursue a professional career at a publication such as Teen Vogue.