An Evening With Vernon Jordan was a live-to-tape, one-on-one interview with esteemed civic and business leader Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., conducted by veteran PBS-TV news journalist Gwen Ifill. Taped on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at New York City’s The New York Times Center, the program featured presentations by award-winning journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault; American Express Company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ken Chenault; and Xerox Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ursula Burns. Rodrick Dixon performed several musical numbers throughout, including “A Song for You” and “Make Them Hear You.”
Through personal narration, archival photos and news clips, An Evening With Vernon Jordan traced Jordan’s path from his civil rights activism in the South through his leadership of the National Urban League in the 1980s to his chairmanship of the Clinton presidential transition team. Advice on mentoring and leadership were interwoven throughout. Entertaining and enlightening, An Evening With Vernon Jordan was a night not to be forgotten!
Vernon Jordan was a Senior Managing Director of Lazard Frères & Co. LLC in New York where he worked with a diverse group of clients across a broad range of industries. Prior to joining Lazard, Jordan was a Senior Executive Partner with the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP, where he remains Senior Counsel. While there Mr. Jordan practiced general, corporate, legislative and international law in Washington, D.C.
Before Akin Gump, Jordan held the following positions: President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Urban League, Inc.; Executive Director of the United Negro College Fund, Inc.; Director of the Voter Education Project of the Southern Regional Council; Attorney-Consultant, U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity; Assistant to the Executive Director of the Southern Regional Council; Georgia Field Director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and an attorney in private practice in Arkansas and Georgia.
Jordan’s presidential appointments include: the President’s Advisory Committee for the Points of Light Initiative Foundation; the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on South Africa; the Advisory Council on Social Security; the Presidential Clemency Board; the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission; the National Advisory Committee on Selective Service; and the Council of the White House Conference “To Fulfill These Rights.” In 1992, Mr. Jordan served as the Chairman of the Clinton Presidential Transition Team.
Jordan’s current and previous directorships include: American Express Company; Asbury Automotive Group, Inc.; Howard University; Lazard Ltd; Xerox Corporation; International Advisory Board of Barrick Gold.
Jordan is a graduate of DePauw University and the Howard University School of Law. He holds honorary degrees from more than sixty American colleges and universities. He is a member of the Bars of Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Georgia and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the Council on Foreign Relations and The Bilderberg Meetings.
Jordan is the author of Vernon Can Read! A Memoir and Make It Plain, Standing Up and Speaking Out.
Pioneering journalist Gwen Ifill was born in Queens, New York in 1955. After earning her B.A. degree in Communications from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1977, she was hired by The Boston Herald American in the midst of the city’s notorious busing crisis. After joining the Baltimore Evening Sun, she moved to covering national politics. In 1984, Ifill was hired by The Washington Post; and in 1991, she became the White House correspondent for The New York Times. In 1994, she was named the chief congressional correspondent for NBC, and in 1999, she became the moderator of PBS’ Washington Week in Review, as well as a correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. In October of 2004, Ifill became the first African American woman to moderate a vice presidential debate. Her first book, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, was published in 2009.
In 2011, Ifill served as the moderator for the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C. She is the recipient of more than a dozen honorary doctorates and several broadcasting excellence awards, including honors from the National Press Foundation, Ebony magazine, the Radio Television News Directors Association, and American Women in Radio and Television. Ifill also interviewed Diahann Carroll, Quincy Jones, Eartha Kitt and Smokey Robinson for The HistoryMakers annual PBS-TV An Evening With…series.
Ifill passed away in 2016.
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