We do more than just check the diversity box for our clients. We DISMANTLE it.”
Khalilah Elliott is the Founder & Chief Disruptor at Gafford Communications, LLC, a revolutionary consulting firm focused on providing deliberate and impactful communications strategies that promote equity, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) throughout all aspects of a client’s business operations with an emphasis on multicultural marketing, brand management, corporate social responsibility and ED&I initiatives, as well as ongoing engagement of internal and external audiences of color.
Prior to launching Gafford Communications, Khalilah worked as a marketing executive for major entertainment brands including Disney Theatrical Group and the world-famous Apollo Theater. She has worked with a number of major brands on multicultural initiatives throughout her career including Coca-Cola, Live Nation, Essence (Magazine), Essence Festival, HBO, BET, Fox, MSNBC, ABC, etc. and Broadway productions such as the Tony-award winner (Best Musical) Hadestown and the upcoming MJ: The Musical in partnership with REALEMN Productions, LLC.
She also spent years leading major fundraising campaigns and managing donor relations for non-profit institutions such as Dillard University and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix.
Khalilah’s passion and commitment to the causes of ED&I and diversity in the arts continues to inform her work even during the current pandemic. Her expert knowledge of how to attract, engage and best represent BIPOC communities and their interests has been widely sought out by companies and non-profits resulting in her appointment to the Broadway League’s Covid-19 Partnership Task Force and her role as Chair of the Covid Theatre Think Tank Safety & Health Marketing Subcommittee.
It is Khalilah’s philosophy that diversity is more than “a box to be checked” that informs her efforts and shapes her approach - leaving her clients with an infrastructure that makes it possible to sustain such efforts beyond her involvement.
An engaging public speaker and communications strategist, Khalilah has spoken at multiple conferences, led webinars, lunch-and-learn workshops, hosted trainings and taught both undergrad and graduate level courses. She is also an independent film/theatrical producer who, along with her colleagues from The Oaks Collective, develops and presents artistic programming that champions the voices of groups who are often marginalized. Recently, Khalilah has expanded her work in this arena with the launch of Chief Disruptor Productions, a production company under the banner of Gafford Communications.
A Louisiana native who splits her time between Dallas and New York City, Khalilah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications & Theater Arts from her Alma mater Dillard University in New Orleans as well as a Master of Arts degree in Performing Arts Administration (concentration in Marketing/Non-Profit Management) from New York University.
Gafford Communications is aptly named in honor of founder Khalilah Elliott's paternal great-grandmother Joanna Gafford Leachman and her grandmother Greta Yvonne Gafford Smith. Despite the ills of racism and sexism they faced, these Gafford women - armed with fortitude, humility, intellect, a sense of humor and a progressive attitude - understood the power of ideas, communication and of being connected to community. Their refusal to be disempowered by their circumstances is the foundation of their family and of Gafford Communications, LLC.
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