CEO and Publisher
Defender Media Group
Sonny Messiah-Jiles is the CEO and Publisher of the Defender Media Group, Houston’s leading Black Information Source. The media group includes the Defender newspaper, the website www.defendernetwork.com and social media platforms. She has been at the helm of the company since 1981 when she purchased the newspaper at age 27.
Messiah Jiles served as the chairperson of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (The Black Press of America), a federation of African-American newspapers across the country and currently serves on both the NNPA board and NNPA Fund board. She also served as the National Alumni Chair for the Houston Alumni Organization (University of Houston). Currently, Messiah-Jiles serves as Vice President and Director of Grand Slam, a marketing/investment consulting firm and is on the advisory board of KIPP Houston. Her professional activities include being the first African-American female board member of the Greater Houston Partnership, and she currently serves on the M.D. Anderson Board of Visitors. She has served on the Advisory Board of J.P. Morgan Chase-Houston, United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast, Center for Houston’s Future, NAACP-Houston, JobPlus, Hester House, March of Dimes Texas Gulf Coast Chapter, American Diabetes Association, and American Leadership Forum.