Renee Poussaint

Emmy-Winning Journalist; Co-Founder and CEO of The National Visionary Leadership Project
Renee Poussaint
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Former network correspondent for both CBS and ABC, Renee Poussaint is a recipient of three national Emmy awards for her work on ABC’s Prime Time Live for reporting, writing, and interviewing. She has done more than 100 in-depth interviews with icons from the political, entertainment, and educational worlds. Poussaint has reported from hotspots around the world including Haiti, South Africa, and Uganda, has faced armed overseers at a southern immigrant labor camp and hostile bikers at a bar in Ku Klux Klan territory.

Speaker and Moderator. Poussaint is a frequent speaker and moderator, and her focus centers on such issues as improving personal and professional communication, intergenerational leadership, women’s leadership issues, and personal stories behind the scenes with Civil Rights leaders.

Poussaint is the co-editor of the book (with Camille Cosby), A Wealth of Wisdom: Extraordinary African American Elders Speak.The book made it on to the New York Times best-seller list and included anecdotes (both serious and humorous) from interviews of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Maya Angelou, Coretta Scott King, and Sidney Poitier, among others.

Poussaint is the creator of the documentary filmmaking company Wisdom Works. Among her productions is the acclaimed documentary Tutu and Franklin: A Journey Towards Peace. The film, which aired on PBS, was shot at the infamous slave port Goree, Senegal, and brought together Archbishop Desmond Tutu, celebrated historian Dr. John Hope Franklin, and 21 high school students from three different countries, who represented 13 different ethnicities and five different religions. The students, some of them hostile to each other, lived together and came up with concrete proposals on how to move beyond their ethnic and religious stereotypes and achieve greater understanding and reconciliation in the 21st century. The riveting documentary was used by educational and community groups across the country to encourage frank discussion of the biases that separate us. Her work as a documentary filmmaker has also appeared on Discovery, A&E, and Lifetime.

Poussaint is the former CEO and co-founder (with Camille Cosby) of the non-profit organization The National Visionary Leadership Project, whose work is housed in the Library of Congress. NVLP was created to record and preserve extensive videotaped interviews with extraordinary African American elders. NVLP also set up college branches to teach students how to do videotaped interviews with inspiring local community elders. All of those interviews are housed in the Library of Congress as part of the official National Visionary Leadership Project Collection.

Poussaint is an independent consultant and community activist, working with nonprofits to help them better define their message for a larger audience. She also continues her local volunteer activities including tutoring, mentoring, and reading newspapers for the blind. She has a bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College, a master’s in African studies and African literature from UCLA, and honorary doctorates from Georgetown University and Mount Vernon College.

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Improving Professional Communication. A look at the obstacles impeding modern technological communication generally, but particularly across racial and gender lines. What to beware of before we push “send”.

The New Meaning of Ethnic Diversity. What does the term “Ethnic Diversity” really mean in a world where, particularly younger generations, define themselves in international and global terms, rather than traditional racial or ethnic terms? Why the term “other” on forms, just isn’t acceptable any more.

Wisdom of the Elders. What can we learn from older generations: advice, perspectives, and warnings about unnecessary missteps? How can we communicate this wisdom across generational lines to really get young people involved?

Journalism – One Black Woman’s Journey to the Top. Renee Poissant tells her story of making it from a childhood struggle to keep the electricity on in her single mother’s home, to anchoring ABC’s World News Tonight, substituting for Peter Jennings. Also, why she chose to leave to pursue new dreams.

The True Personal Stories Behind the Public Lives of the Nation’s Civil Rights Leaders. What really happened behind closed doors on the eve of the March on Washington? Why was Coretta disappointed when she first met her future husband, Martin Luther King? Why did Maya Angelou feel compelled to call a family meeting before revealing a life-long secret? The answers to these and other questions are based on literally dozens of one-on-one personal video interviews I conducted with extraordinary African American icons. The result is a series of fascinating, unknown, often funny stories.

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booksLatest Books

A Wealth of Wisdom: Legendary African American Elders Speak

A Wealth of Wisdom: Legendary African American Elders Speak