Noni Ellison Southall has worked in the cable and telecommunications industry for over eleven of the fifteen years she has practiced law. She currently serves as senior counsel for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (Turner) and heads Turner’s music division. In this capacity, she manages ten people and oversees daily operations, including the negotiation of music related deals as well as the licensing and reporting of music utilized by Turner entertainment and news networks (TNT, TBS, TruTV, TCM, Cartoon Network, Much Music, HTV, CNN, HLN and CNN Radio), websites, and associated businesses, both domestic and international. Noni oversees business and legal affairs for the Turner music publishing companies (responsible for collecting and administering approximately $4.5 million annually in royalties) and Williams Street, a record label which she led the efforts to establish as a way to generate additional revenue streams for Cartoon Network. Noni drafts, implements and counsels clients regarding Turner’s companywide music policies and internal risk mitigation strategies. She negotiates performance rights society, artist performance, independent contractor, distribution, publishing and various license agreements. She also serves as lead marketing attorney with respect to various Turner productions, providing legal guidance to Turner entertainment networks regarding marketing campaigns, promotions, and sweepstakes, including copyright, trademark, privacy and publicity issues. During her nine year tenure with Turner, Noni has been a catalyst in the workplace as an innovative, strategic, thought-provoking leader. She has identified opportunities to effectively minimize legal exposure, and has implemented technology solutions, as appropriate to drive efficiency and maximize client service.
Prior to her current role, Noni was director of legal affairs for Scripps Networks, Inc. (HGTV, Food Network, DIY). In that role, she advised the affiliate sales, ad sales, finance and new media departments and negotiated affiliation agreements for the distribution of Scripps Networks’ cable television programming services with cable operators. Noni began her legal career at a large law firm as a corporate finance and securities associate.
Noni earned a bachelor of arts degree in administration of justice and communications from Howard University, magna cum laude and subsequently earned a doctor of law, master of business administration and certification in health administration and policy simultaneously, from the University of Chicago, where she was taught by President Barack Obama and United States Supreme Court Justice, Elena Kagan. She is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court and is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the District of Columbia Bar and the State Bar of Georgia.
Noni chairs the board of directors of the Urban League of Greater Atlanta and serves on the board of directors of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), the nation’s ninth largest transit system. She is a member of the Atlanta Speech School board of directors, the National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) national board of directors and the board of directors of the Southeast Chapter of Women in Cable and Telecommunications (WICT). She also serves on the Fulton County Public Access Channel board of directors and the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA) board of directors. Noni is a founding member of Black Women in Entertainment Law as well as the Black Professionals at Turner and Working Parents at Turner business resource groups, and she currently represents Turner’s Legal Department on Turner’s Supplier Diversity Council Taskforce.
Throughout her career, Noni has been a mentor, sponsor and coach to many students and young professionals and serves as a T. Howard Foundation mentor and a Turner Women Today circle mentor. She is a sought after speaker, recently speaking on panels at colleges, law schools and conferences around the nation, including the Leadership Conference for Women of Color in Law and Business, Corporate Counsel Women of Color’s Annual Conference, the Savoy Women’s Leadership Conference and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s (MCCA) Creating Pathways to Diversity Conference. Noni is a member of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. (Atlanta-Buckhead Chapter) and has served as a vice chair of the Annual United Negro College Fund Mayor’s Masked Ball, a member of the 2011 National Black Arts Festival Gala steering 2 committee, and a member of the host committee for the American Jewish Committee’s 2010 National Human Relations Dinner.
Noni was recently selected by the American Israel Education Foundation to attend an educational seminar for African American leaders in Israel. She has been featured in MCCA’s Diversity and the Bar Magazine as a “Rising Star in the Legal Profession” and the ATLANTAN Magazine as a “Woman of Influence and Power”. She was selected by the YWCA as a 2012 YWCA Woman of Achievement, recognizing her role as one of Atlanta’s women leaders. She was named as the City of Atlanta’s 2012 Powerpreneur in Media and Entertainment. She was also selected by the Atlanta Business League as a 2012 Woman of Influence and by the National Bar Association as one of the 2011 Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40. Noni is a member of the Leadership Georgia Class of 2012 and is a recipient of the State Bar of Georgia’s Justice Benham Service to the Community award, the National Council of Negro Women’s Tribute to Black Women Community Leaders award, the Trumpet Awards Foundation’s High Heels in High Places award and has been featured annually in Who’s Who In Atlanta. Noni, a native of Lafayette, Louisiana is married to fellow attorney, Kenneth Southall, Sr. and is the proud mother of two children, Kenneth, Jr., seven years old and Kourtney Rose, four years old.