EBONY EXCLUSIVE: Linda Johnson Rice Shares Her NMAAHC Experience
Linda Johnson Rice
- Shares invaluable lessons, she’s gained by building a world-renowned business brand, as well as her view of how far we’ve come as a nation and where we go from here
- Over the past 30 years, Linda has served on 10 corporate boards
- Featured in Chicago Sun-Times' list of Chicago’s 100 Most Powerful Women and the Top 10 Women in Media
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Ever since 2002, as Chairman and CEO of Johnson Publishing Company — where she became the first African American woman CEO among the top five of the Black Enterprise 100s largest black-owned companies — Linda Johnson Rice has shone a ray of positivity on the black community with her strong and resilient leadership.
Today, Johnson Rice continues to bring diverse and dynamic viewpoints to the business community through her extensive board experience. She serves on the board of directors of Omnicom Media Group and Enova International, and in 2018 was named one of WomenInc. magazine’s “Most Influential Corporate Directors.” She is also a board member of Northwestern Memorial Corporation; a trustee at the Art Institute of Chicago, President of the Chicago Public Library Board of Directors and is Co-Chair Emeritus of The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. She previously served on the boards of Continental Bank; Bausch & Lomb; Dial Corporation; Viad Corp.; MoneyGram; Quaker Oats; Kimberly-Clark, Tesla and Grubhub.
Ever since 2002, as chairman and CEO of Johnson Publishing Company — where she became the first African American woman CEO among the top five of the Black Enterprise 100s largest black-owned companies — Linda Johnson Rice has shone a ray of positivity on the black community with her strong and resilient leadership.
Picking up the Pieces: Reimagining a Family Legacy (“Building on Black Legacy”). Johnson Publishing Company (JPC) was the largest African American owned publishing firm in the United States, founded by John H. Johnson and Eunice W. Johnson. Linda Johnson Rice, their daughter, grew up in the business and became CEO in 2002. By 2010, after both parents had passed away, the business was challenged by a changing media landscape and declining market share in the publishing and the cosmetics businesses, respectively. Hear how Ms. Rice made the painful decision to put the company into bankruptcy and is now executing on her and her daughter’s plan to reimagine portions of the business to carry on the rich legacy her parent’s created.
Accepting the Unimaginable: A Journey of Darkness and Light. Linda Johnson Rice grew up with privilege. Her father founded Johnson Publishing Company in 1942 and became one of the wealthiest African Americans in the country. Having become CEO of the company at the age of 44, she learned the ins-and-outs of the media and cosmetics businesses that her father and mother built. After their passing, the businesses faltered and Ms. Rice had to make tough decisions, finally being forced to shed some of its most valuable assets. Adding to the pain, in 2020 she was diagnosed with a condition that has severely impaired her vision forcing her to learn new life skills while seeking to rebuild the business… this discussion inspired by a truly resilient woman, determined to increase organizations’ awareness of the need for accessibility and to uphold her family’s place in American history.
Shaping History: From Civil Rights to Social Justice (Racial Equity). When Ms. Rice’s father founded Johnson Publishing Company in 1942 thanks to a $500 loan, he sought to create a famed magazine for Black people in America. Ebony and Jet told the stories of the African American journey, from the Great Migration to the Present. For 75 years, in vivid prose and iconic photographs, the pages of Ebony and Jet captured the stories of African Americans, from the famous to the family next door.
Ms. Rice will tell the story of how JPC helped shape the Civil Rights movement by informing and inspiring its readership. She will discuss how the business was forced to shed significant assets due to a changing media landscape and declining market share in the publishing and the cosmetics businesses, respectively.
Ms. Rice’s discussion tells a comprehensive and compelling story of America, its past, its present and a look to the future.
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The event went super well! Our leadership team and all our employees enjoyed her speech and we had great questions/conversation. Linda was awesome to work with on the back-end the entire time.