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As Chairman Emeritus of Ebony Media Holdings, Chairman of Johnson Publishing Company, LLC, and second-generation leader of the largest African-American-owned publishing company in the United States – producing the iconic magazines Ebony and Jet – Rice has not only chronicled much of American history, she has lived it and shaped it.
Throughout her extraordinary life as a woman entrepreneur in the media and beauty industry she has given voice to millions and helped tell the story of the African-American experience in America, with all its many trials and triumphs. Now, audiences can hear as she shares the 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.
As the current Chairman Emeritus and board member of Ebony Media Operations, Inc., which publishes Ebony and Jet magazines, Linda Johnson Rice has decades of experience in building globally recognized brands. Rice spent much of her career managing Johnson Publishing Company, which under her leadership, remained the No. 1 African-American owned publishing company in the world. Her principal focus remains overseeing Fashion Fair Cosmetics – the No. 1 company in the world for makeup and skin-care products made especially for women of color.
Her leadership has earned her a place on the Chicago Sun-Times' list of Chicago’s 100 Most Powerful Women and the Top 10 Women in Media, as well as Crain’s list of the 20 Most Powerful Women in Chicago. “She has a broad and deep network of power-movers," says Dick Parsons, former chairman and CEO of New York-based Time Warner, Inc.
Smart and soulful, humorous and big-hearted, Linda captivates audiences with delightful stories from her interactions with some of the most iconic pop-culture figures who graced the pages of Ebony and Jet over the years, as well as with her own touching story of running a beloved family business that has grown to become a true national treasure.
On the Legacy of Eunice W. Johnson
The Impact of JPC in Journalism
Education and Social Elevation: The Story of Johnson Publishing Company and Expanding African American Educational Opportunities
Education is the great equalizer, which is why the era of Civil Rights legislation began in earnest with Brown v. Board of Education. In the march toward equality, social justice and educational access must walk hand-in-hand in order to ensure a brighter future for all our children. Yet, economic and cultural barriers remain formidable obstacles for many minorities seeking to fulfill their academic potential and pursue the American Dream. These students need both knowledge and role models—education and inspiration—to succeed.
Ms. Rice will share how the history of Johnson Publishing Company, since its founding in 1942, has built partnerships between business, government and academia in order to expand access to education for minority scholars and widen the circle of opportunity for Americans of color.
Progress in Pictures: How Ebony and Jet told the story of the African-American Journey, From the Great Migration to the Present
When Ms. Rice’s father founded Johnson Publishing Company in 1942 thanks to a $500 loan, he sought to create an equivalent magazine to Life that would tell the story of the black experience in America. Over the next 75 years, in both vivid prose as well as indelible pictures, 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 audience, a mission which continues to reach millions of readers each month. Her speech will be punctuated by material from the company’s invaluable media archives – a treasure house of more than six decades worth of iconic cultural treasures, including feature interviews, photo profiles and performances from celebrities, newsmakers and famous Black Americans in the sciences, business, sports, politics, culture, civil rights, education, medicine, and more. Ms. Rice’s presentation tells a comprehensive and compelling story of America, its past and its present.