As the soul of Essence magazine for over three decades, Susan L. Taylor was the driving force behind one of the most celebrated African-American business success stories. The Harlem-born divorced single mother began her career at Essence in 1970, the year the magazine launched. As Editor-in-Chief from 1981 to 2000, Taylor built the Essence brand, guiding it through a period of phenomenal growth to a readership of over 8 million. She’s also penned the popular “In the Spirit” column and wrote the best-selling books, In the Spirit: The Inspirational Writings of Susan L.Taylor, and Lessons in Living and Confirmation: The Spiritual Wisdom That Has Shaped Our Lives. She was inducted into the American Society of Magazine Editors Hall of Fame, and won the NAACP President’s Award in 2006.