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Cheryl Boone Isaacs

Public relations executive Cheryl Boone Isaacs was born on August 8, 1949 in Springfield, Massachusetts. After graduating from Classical High School in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1967, she earned her B.A. degree in political science from Whittier College in Whittier, California in 1971.

After graduation, Boone Isaacs worked as a flight attendant for Pan American Airways. In 1977, she moved to Los Angeles, California and began working in publicity at Columbia Pictures, where she served on the publicity team for Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The following year, Boone Isaacs was hired as coordinator of marketing and publicity at Milton Goldstein’s Melvin Simon Productions, where she served for five years and was eventually promoted to vice president. In 1983, Boone Isaacs was named director of advertising and publicity for The Ladd Company, where she worked on films such as Once Upon a Time in America, The Right Stuff, and the box office hit Police Academy. In 1984, she was named director of west coast publicity and promotion for Paramount Pictures. Later, she became executive vice president of worldwide publicity for Paramount Pictures, and orchestrated the marketing campaigns for Best Picture winners Forrest Gump and Braveheart. In 1997, Boone Isaacs was named president of theatrical marketing for New Line Cinema, and became the first African American woman to head a studio marketing department, where she promoted Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, The Wedding Singer and Boogie Nights. In 2000, she founded CBI Enterprises, Inc., and worked on publicity for The King's Speech and The Artist. In 2013, Boone Isaacs produced the multi-award-winning documentary Tough Ain't Enough: Conversations With Albert S. Ruddy, which highlighted the life and career of the two-time Oscar-winning producer. That same year, she was elected the thirty-fifth president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and served in that position until 2017. Boone Isaacs was re-elected in 2015, launching the initiative A2020 to increase the number of women and minority members to the Academy by 2020. In 2017, Boone Isaacs oversaw the development of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in partnership with the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.

Since 1987, she served as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was named representative of the public relations branch in 1992.

Boone Isaacs received Essence Magazine's Trailblazer Award in 2013. In 2014, she was inducted into the NAACP Image Award Hall of Fame, received the African American Film Critics Association Horizon Award, and was named the Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts O.L. Halsell Filmmaker-in-Residence.

She is also the sister of film marketing and distribution executive, Ashley Boone, who passed away in 1994.

Cheryl Boone Issacs was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 13, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.228

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/13/2018

Last Name

Boone Isaacs

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Cheryl

Birth City, State, Country

Springfield

HM ID

ISA02

Favorite Season

Autumn

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Rome, Italy

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

8/8/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Favorite Food

Chips and Ice Cream

Short Description

Entertainment executive Cheryl Boone Issacs (1949 - ) was executive vice president of worldwide publicity at Paramount Pictures before becoming the first African American president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2013.

Favorite Color

Blue

Patricia Andrews-Keenan

Media and public relations executive Patricia Andrews-Keenan was born in 1954 to Pearline Henderson and James Andrews. She received her B.A. degree in journalism from Grambling State University in 1977, and went on to graduate from the Executive Leadership Development Program at UCLA’s Anderson School.

In 1990, Andrews-Keenan was hired as Director of Public Affairs at Jones Intercable; and, in 1996, she was appointed Vice President of Communications of AT&T Broadband in Deerfield, Illinois. A year later, Andrews-Keenan became Executive Director of Communications at Tele-Communications, Inc., where she served until 2002, when she was appointed as Comcast’s Vice President of Communications in Chicago, Illinois. Then, in 2007, she was hired as Vice President of Corporate Affairs at The Nielsen Company.

In 2008, Andrews-Keenan founded The Tallulah Group, a public relations, communications, media relations and community affairs firm, where she serves as President and Chief Strategist. Her clients have included Quarles & Brady, LLP, Merit Medical, Chicago State University, IlliniCare, LINK Unlimited, Columbia College Chicago, C. Cretors & Company, and the 100 Black Men of Chicago. Additionally, from 2008 until 2010, Andrews-Keenan was an adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago, where she taught culture, race and media.

Andrews-Keenan has served on a number of organizational boards and committees. She has served on the board of directors of the Chicago Children's Choir, and was a past national president of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC). She has also served on the boards of Volunteers of America, the Naperville Chamber of Commerce and the DuPage County Girl Scouts. Andrews-Keenan was a former board chair for the Quad County Urban League, and has been appointed to the YMCA’s Black and Latino Achievers Steering Committee. In addition, she holds memberships in the Executive’s Club of Chicago.

Andrews-Keenan has also received numerous awards for her community relations work, including both a Silver Anvil and Gold Anvil from the Public Relations Society of America, as well as several Beacon Awards from the Association of Cable Communicators (ACC).

Patricia Andrews-Kennan was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 23, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.030

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/24/2014

Last Name

Andrews-Keenan

Maker Category
Middle Name

Jean

Schools

Grambling State University

University of California, Los Angeles

Wright Elementary School

Tallulah High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Patricia

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

KEE02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York, Paris

Favorite Quote

Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

7/19/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Savory Food, Spicy Food

Short Description

Media executive and public relations executive Patricia Andrews-Keenan (1954 - ) was the founder and chief strategist of the Tallulah Group. She worked as an executive in the cable and telecommunications industry for over twenty years.

Employment

Jones Intercable

AT&T

Telecommunications, Inc.

Comcast

Nielsen Media Research

Tallulah Group

Columbia College

News-Press

Denver Weekly News

Mountain Bell

Internal Revenue Service

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Patricia Andrews-Keenan's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes her mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes the African American community in Tallulah, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan talks about her mother's education and aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan remembers the desegregation of Tallulah, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes her experiences at Wright Elementary School in Tallulah, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan remembers her home life

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan recalls her early interest in reading

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan talks about her favorite books

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan remembers integrating Tallulah High School in Tallulah, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan remembers her teachers at Tallulah High School in Tallulah, Louisiana

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes her early aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes her family

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes her decision to attend Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes her first impressions of Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan recalls her extracurricular activities at Grambling State University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan recalls her internship at The News-Press in Fort Myers, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan talks about her time at Grambling State University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes her early career in Denver, Colorado

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan talks about her transition into the cable industry

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan talks about the acquisition of Syntel, Inc. by Jones Intercable

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes her position at Jones Intercable

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan talks about how she came to work for the Comcast Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes the changes in telecommunication laws

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes her position at the Comcast Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan talks about the Comcast Corporation's acquisition of AT&T Broadband LLC

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan talks about C. Michael Armstrong's role at AT&T Broadband LLC

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan talks about her involvement in the National Association for Minorities in Cable

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes her presidency of the National Association of Minorities in Cable

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes her role as vice president of communications at the Comcast Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan talks about her role at Nielsen Media Research

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan talks about the Tallulah Group

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan remembers teaching at Columbia College Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan reflects upon her career in the cable industry

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan talks about her civic involvement in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan talks about the future of the cable industry

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes her plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes her experiences of workplace discrimination

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan talks about her family

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$1

DAStory

6$5

DATitle
Patricia Andrews-Keenan talks about the Tallulah Group
Patricia Andrews-Keenan describes the African American community in Tallulah, Louisiana
Transcript
And then in 2008 I decided to kind of strike out on my own and see what we could do with media (laughter) and PR [public relations] with all the things that I'd learned over the years, so.$$So you established the Tallulah Group [Chicago, Illinois]?$$The Tallulah Group.$$Okay.$$Yeah.$$And named after your hometown?$$Named after my hometown. I'd always said if I decided to do something on my own, you know, I just wanted to pay homage to where I came from and have people remember Tallulah [Louisiana] for being something other than Tallulah Bankhead, but then by that time, I think Tallulah Willis, Bruce Willis had a daughter named Tallulah too, so I'm like, okay. And then there's a restaurant in Chicago [Illinois] named Tallulah, I found out about the same time, so (laughter).$$Now Tallulah Bankhead has a kind of a wild history--$$She did. She was kind of racy for her time, so. So I think that's kind of a nice thing to have all those, you know, those different thoughts about that name, so. And I don't know anybody--you know there aren't too many companies named that that I know of, so I thought it was a good one.$$Okay. It's a memorable name. So, your clients have included Quarles and Brady LLP, Merit Medical [Merit Medical Systems, Inc.], Chicago State University [Chicago, Illinois], AtlantiCare, LINK Unlimited [LINK Unlimited Scholars], Columbia College [Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, Illinois], 100 Black Men [100 Black Men of America, Inc.]?$$Yeah. The nice thing about it is doing the work that I did for Comcast [Comcast Corporation], specifically, I had a lot of relationships in the marketplace, 'cause that's part of your job is to cultivate relationships. And one thing that Comcast was, was a big supporter of education and that kind of fits with who I am. So, specifically, a lot of those education concerns were companies that I'd worked with while I was part of Comcast and some of the other cable companies, so it kind of fits, it really fits. We're really about helping people tell their story, you know, helping them communicate with the media, helping them, you know, developing relationships with the media and helping them, you know, do the things that they do better. So it's been--it's been interesting, especially considering, you know, the kind of downturn we've been in, so everything, you know, same skills, same things, so it works really well. And then the other thing that I've tried to do is maintain the work with the not for profits as well, 'cause during the Comcast years, I was just involved with a ton of not for profits. And some of them, you know, are doing amazing work and I've been fortunate to stay involved with those as well.$$Okay, okay. I read--now I read here that social media plays a prominent role in your firm's outreach tactic?$$Yes. It's--I love social media. I think it is just so amazing. The one thing I think you always have to be willing to learn something new. So in 2008 as I was making this transition, you know, I just kind of immersed myself to see what was going on and what people were doing in social media. So I don't think there's a social media that I haven't done, I mean, you know, from Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn to Quora to, you know, it's just been really fun, because it's just--to me it's all tactical. It's just another way to share a message to communicate to connect with people. So I found it immensely fun to kind of look at this and say how is this--some things I think never change, I mean, you always gonna have to know how to write a press release. And if there's anything bad about these things is the fact that people don't write like they used to. Everything's an abbreviation, everything's you know a little bit different than it used to be, but--but taken correctly and used correctly, I think it adds to all these things that you're doing. Chicago State University, I'll use them as an example. Last year they--they decided to hold a gala concert with [HistoryMaker] Smokey Robinson, and we were able to use, you know, Facebook, specifically, and just really increase the visibility and really get people engaged. We were doing things like every day we were sending out old Smokey songs or putting out old pictures of Smokey, you know, with The Miracles, or telling his Motown [Motown Records] history. So it's just--I just think social media is a great way to kind of share with people and engage with people, so. It's been, it's been a lot of fun kind of learning those things, so.$Are there any family stories about what life was like in Madison Parish [Louisiana]?$$In Madison Parish?$$I mean in terms of the black community and (unclear)?$$Oh, yeah, yeah. Now we, you know, again, small southern town. And when I grew up, you know, still a lot of the vestiges of things, you know, from the, from, from the integration. I can--and I can barely remember them, but it seems to me that there was still a few signs I can remember, you know, kind of black and white things. Definitely, we lived on one side of the proverbial railroad track, which was actually, literally, a railroad track. So we lived on one side of town and, you know, the white population, for the most part, lived on the opposite side of town. Through the middle of Tallulah, Louisiana, there runs the brushy bayou. We're a river town so, you know, you can go maybe twenty miles and hit the Mississippi River on the one side and then in our town, there's brushy bayou, which kind of separated the town. So you know we lived on one side, the white community lived on the other side. I remember growing up and we would go to the little grocery store, you know, you'd have your neighborhood grocery store and we had a good--we had an interesting black community because one of the first black police chiefs in the country, Zelma Wyche, was from Tallulah, Louisiana, one of the early elected black officials.$$This is a man?$$Yeah, Zelma Wyche. I didn't even know I remembered that (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) W--W-Y-C-H?$$C-H, yeah.$$Okay. C-H-E, I guess?$$Yeah, I think so. I'm going to have to go back and look at that. But yeah, he was one of the first black elected police chiefs in Louisiana. And I want to say maybe, you know, pretty close to in the country, so I definitely remember that that was kind of--that was a really big deal for us, but you know, it's still cotton fields--still we're in--in our town. And when I was young, I used to go with my uncle [Andrews-Keenan's maternal great uncle, James Rucker]. In the summer when I got older (laughter), I made the mistake of saying, "Well, I want to make some money." He would take people to the field to chop cotton. And I remember I got to be a teenager. And it was like, "I want to make some money." He's like, "Well you can go with us." Oh, what a mistake. I'm like why did I choose to (laughter)--but yeah, still cotton field right across from my house. I could see it every day and people were still, you know, wasn't all mechanized then, it was still--there was still cotton being picked, people were going to manually chop cotton. When my c- my older cousin was coming along, and he was probably about ten or fifteen years older than I, there were still times when people, they let kids out of school to do that. Yeah, there was still that time when they might take a part time out of school when it was harvesting season. It didn't happen (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) It's a time sensitive crop.$$Right, right. It wasn't--when I came along we didn't do that; but I remember those kids, that were like ten years older than I was. Yeah, that was still that time when I was a little kid, so.

Dori Wilson

Publicist and model Dori Wilson was born in Winona, Mississippi. At the age of seven, Wilson moved to Chicago, Illinois. She attended Farren School, Shakespeare Elementary School, and Hyde Park High School. She continued her education at Roosevelt University, where she graduated with her B.A. degree.

Upon her graduation from Hyde Park High School, Wilson began working for Goldblatt’s in the Accounts Payable Adjusting Department in 1961. Wilson then moved to Compton Advertising, Inc., where she worked as a secretary and assistant producer. She also started her part-time modeling career and became the first African American runway model in Chicago, Illinois in 1964. Wilson began her modeling career by working for Marshall Field & CO. and Carson Pirie Scott. In 1968, Wilson joined Foote, Cone & Belding and on their advertising project with Sears, Roebuck & Co. During the project, she also worked as a model and instructor at Sears, Roebuck, and Co. Charm School. She was promoted in 1970 to director of fashion and casting at Foote, Cone & Belding, where she cast models and helped producers during shoots. During this time, she continued to model and starred in numerous fashion shows, advertisements, and events, including Gucci’s Fall 1970 campaign and the Dress Horsemen and Trophy Board Annual Benefit Fashion Spectacular in 1975. In 1980, Wilson began her successful entrepreneurial career with the opening of Dori Wilson Public Relations, a firm whose clients have included the City of Chicago, Tiffany & Co., and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The following year, Wilson helped form The Chicago Academy for the Arts.

Wilson has been a member of the Girl Scouts of Chicago’s Association Board for over thirty years. She has also been listed in Who’s Who Among Black Americans and in Donna Ballard’s book, Doing It For Ourselves: Success Stories of African American Women in Business, which was published in 1997. In 2008, she was honored in an evening of recognition at the Stanley Paul/Raelene Mittelman Scholarship Benefit.

Wilson lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Dori Wilson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 25, 2010 and July 16, 2017.

Accession Number

A2010.029

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/25/2010 |and| 07/16/2017

Last Name

Wilson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Schools

Lincoln Elementary School

John Farren Elementary School

Ariel Community Academy

Hyde Park Academy High School

Roosevelt University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Dori

Birth City, State, Country

Winona

HM ID

WIL53

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Herb and Sheran Wilkins Media Makers

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

I'm Just Saying... And It Is What It Is And Whatever

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

10/15/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hamburgers, French Fries

Short Description

Public relations executive and model Dori Wilson (1943 - ) was the founder of Dori Wilson Public Relations and the first African American runway model in Chicago, Illinois.

Employment

Woolworth's Department Store

Goldblatt's

Compton Advertising

Foote, Cone and Belding

Dori Wilson Public Relations

WMAQ-TV

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue, Bright Colors, Orange

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dori Wilson's interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dori Wilson lists her favorites, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dori Wilson describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dori Wilson describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dori Wilson describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dori Wilson describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dori Wilson talks about her parents' professions

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dori Wilson describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dori Wilson talks about her elementary school experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dori Wilson remembers her childhood homes in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dori Wilson describes her early interest in fashion and beauty

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dori Wilson describes her early career in advertising

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dori Wilson describes how she became a professional fashion model

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dori Wilson recalls her appearance on 'The Dating Game'

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dori Wilson talks about the black is beautiful movement

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dori Wilson describes her community involvement in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dori Wilson talks about her positions at the Foote, Cone and Belding advertising agency

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dori Wilson remembers her talk show, 'Memorandum,' pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dori Wilson remembers her talk show, 'Memorandum,' pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dori Wilson recalls founding Dori Wilson Public Relations

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dori Wilson describes the clientele of Dori Wilson Public Relations

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dori Wilson talks about her relationship with Oprah Winfrey

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dori Wilson reflects upon her decision not to pursue a television career

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dori Wilson talks about the public relations industry

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dori Wilson describes her involvement in political campaigns

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dori Wilson recalls her public relations work with The HistoryMakers

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dori Wilson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dori Wilson reflects upon the future of her career

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dori Wilson reflects upon her legacy, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dori Wilson talks about her parents' opinion of her career

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dori Wilson describes how she would like to be remembered, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dori Wilson narrates her photographs

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Dori Wilson's interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dori Wilson lists her favorites, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dori Wilson describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dori Wilson remembers her early experiences in Winona, Mississippi

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dori Wilson describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dori Wilson describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dori Wilson recalls her early experiences in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dori Wilson talks about her siblings

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dori Wilson describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dori Wilson remembers the holidays

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Dori Wilson describes her early aspirations

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Dori Wilson remembers moving to Highland Park, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dori Wilson remembers living with her mother's white employers

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dori Wilson recalls her experiences of discrimination in the Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dori Wilson remembers the Shakespeare School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dori Wilson talks about her early work in the retail industry

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dori Wilson describes how she came to work for Compton Advertising, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dori Wilson recalls her first professional modeling job

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dori Wilson describes her modeling career in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dori Wilson talks about 'The Dating Game'

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dori Wilson talks about the advertising industry in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dori Wilson describes her experiences as an African American model

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dori Wilson talks about the elite society of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Dori Wilson remembers her transition to the public relations industry

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Dori Wilson remembers the nightlife of the 1970s in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Dori Wilson remembers meeting Potter Palmer IV

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Dori Wilson talks about her social circle

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Dori Wilson remembers notable figures from the entertainment industries of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Dori Wilson remembers Barbara Gardner Proctor

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Dori Wilson talks about the advertising agencies in Chicago's River North

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Dori Wilson describes how she came to work at Foote, Cone and Belding

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Dori Wilson recalls the initial investments in the Dori Wilson Public Relations firm

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Dori Wilson recalls the early years of Dori Wilson Public Relations

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Dori Wilson remembers the events organized by Dori Wilson Public Relations

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Dori Wilson talks about her friendship with Oprah Winfrey

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Dori Wilson remembers her role in Oprah Winfrey's early career

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Dori Wilson talks about Oprah Winfrey's career

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Dori Wilson talks about the importance of networking in public relations

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Dori Wilson talks about the challenges of small business ownership

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Dori Wilson reflects upon her career in public relations

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Dori Wilson talks about segregation in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Dori Wilson describes her involvement on the boards of civic organizations

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Dori Wilson describes her role at the Chicago Academy for the Arts in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Dori Wilson talks about her public relations projects

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Dori Wilson describes how she became her nephew's guardian

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Dori Wilson talks about the challenges of parenthood

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Dori Wilson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Dori Wilson talks about the future of Dori Wilson Public Relations

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Dori Wilson reflects upon her legacy, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Dori Wilson talks about her service on women's boards

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Dori Wilson describes the fashion industry in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 10 Story: 10 - Dori Wilson remembers Nena Ivon and Marilyn Miglin

Tape: 10 Story: 11 - Dori Wilson talks about the Lawson House YMCA in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Dori Wilson talks about her relationship with Ann Dibble Jordan

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Dori Wilson talks about her work with Columbia College President Mirron Alexandroff

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Dori Wilson reflects upon her experiences in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Dori Wilson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Dori Wilson reflects upon her life

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Dori Wilson describes how she would like to be remembered, pt. 2

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Dori Wilson reflects upon her legacy, pt. 3

DASession

1$2

DATape

2$8

DAStory

2$4

DATitle
Dori Wilson describes how she became a professional fashion model
Dori Wilson describes how she came to work at Foote, Cone and Belding
Transcript
But on this job I was working for Shepp Chartok [ph.], who was the executive TV producer. And Shepp was, again, a very wonderful liberal Jewish fellow and liked me and saw something in me and I said to him, "I want to learn what you do," because I knew that he was always going on photo shoots and on filming shoots and so it was--it was Shepp Chartok who took me on, on some of his filming for commercials. And I remember that we were at Reyeye Studio, R-E-Y-E-Y-E studio in Evanston, Illinois, and we were--because one of the accounts that I worked on, that my boss worked on at Compton Advertising [Compton Advertising, Inc.; Saatchi and Saatchi] was Alberto Culver [Alberto Culver Company; Unilever]. And during those years Alberto Culver did lots and lots of TV commercials and they were for what was called (unclear) testing, so we did hundreds of commercials and the ones that would hit the air would be the ones that tested properly. But we were always in casting sessions for models with great hair. So it was on one of these pre-shooting, pre-filming casting sessions, Shirley Hamilton was there, who was a large agent in town, and Shirley Hamilton saw that I was tall and thin and said to my boss, "I'd like to send her on an audition," and I remember my boss saying at the time, "Well, let's just hope she gets it." So, I did and that's how I started in that.$$Okay. Were you excited about that?$$I think it was a job and it was a chance of getting more money and I'm--I'm sure that I was somewhat excited about that, and I'm not sure whether at this time Shepp Chartok was my boss because Shepp subsequently left or whether it was Jack Davis who was at this boss--my boss at that point. But I remember that I would get off from work at four o'clock, run outside and catch the bus in order to be on the--the first audition that I had was for the auto show [Chicago Auto Show]--the first job that I had was for the auto show. And so I would work to be on the floor and I'd work the five to eleven [o'clock] shift at the auto show. And because I could speak, you know, our backgrounds came in handy, I was talking about Chevrolet cars, I remember that. And during the intermissions, when we were having our breaks, I met lots of other models who said you should be doing runway work, and I did not really know what runway work meant, but I subsequently learned. And I went and auditioned, I was at 111 East Jackson [Boulevard], as I said, which was very close to State Street and Marshall Field's [Marshall Field and Company Building, Chicago, Illinois] was holding auditions every month for the models to do there, at that time weekly, they were called tea room shows that were in the Narcissus Room on the seventh floor of Marshall Field's. And I went on those auditions for a year before I finally got a chance to do the work, but I became involved in other things in the city that gave me the visibility to do other work.$$Now, let me ask you, in these early days, were you the only black model out there doing these things at the auto show, for instance, were you the only black model there?$$No, I wouldn't say I was the only black model, there were a few, because remember some of them--some of the models traveled. And certainly I wasn't--so there were other models, there weren't very many, and there weren't very many who were aggressive to want to take it to the next step, because I didn't want to do just the auto show, I wanted to do the other things that I heard about. And I remembered that there was a model, and I don't know whether or not you know her, whose name is Ann Jones, who is just extraordinary; very short, but with wonderful hair and very chiseled features. I think maybe half Indian [Native American]. And so Ann Jones was the photo model at that time because that was the look that was in for models that you couldn't really tell quite what they were. In the runway business, however, I was accepted for being different and for being tall and for being skinny and for being dark because fashion guys create--love that, you know it makes--a dark skin is better for showcasing their clothes. So what had been considered a liability for me when I was growing up became an asset. Though I will say that when I started modeling, I sent my picture to one of the major traveling shows, and they sent my picture back to me because I did not look like the look that they were--were looking for. On the other hand when the designers came in from Paris [France], I was what they were looking for.$So you're at Foote, Cone and Belding and are you--I have you as director of fashion and casting and so what are you doing in that regard then?$$Well, Foote, Cone and Belding recruited me after reading a story about Dori [HistoryMaker Dori Wilson], and I think Dori's work with the film festival [Chicago International Film Festival], and, and as I mentioned, I had gained some notoriety while with Compton Advertising [Compton Advertising, Inc.; Saatchi and Saatchi], and CBS 2 [WBBM-TV, Chicago, Illinois] called up and, and asked me to, to take over--there was a very popular show called 'The Lee Phillip Show.' And I hosted 'The Lee Phillip Show' for two weeks while Lee [Lee Phillip Bell] took a holiday, which was just unheard of. And so there was an article written about that, of the various clothes that I wore, and here's what Dori's doing on this show and whatever. And so Al Weisman [Albert P. Weisman] from Foote, Cone and Belding called up and said, "You know, you're in the advertising business. You've got, at this point, four years under your belt, and we need you to--we'd like to talk to you about coming to work for us." Well, I had also been doing my modeling, and I'm wearing my top eyelashes and bottom eyelashes, and, and my wigs, and I'm running to do my fashion shows after work. And I said, "Nah, I'm not interested. I wanna become a big model, a big, black model." And those were the days of Naomi Sims in New York [New York] and Naomi was indeed my color, and had made wonderful strides, and that's what I wanted to do. And so John--I mean, excuse me, so Al Weisman said, "Well, I just want you to come and talk to somebody." So it ends up that I met with John O'Toole, who was president of, of Foote, Cone and Belding. And I didn't really realize the significance of that. And so I remember arriving for our breakfast with my wig case in my hand and lots of stuff on because I had a fashion show that day. And John, in essence, said to me, "Okay, you've got four years of experience under your belt. We need African Americans. We need women, so don't you wanna become more than just a pretty face?" And I said, "How dare you say that to me?" He said, "Well, I mean your pretty face, you know you're not making--it's not really doing anything important, but you can come and work for us and really make a difference, and I will still allow you to pursue your fashion shows." And so I did. I went (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) So what did you learn, what--$$And then I got in trouble for doing my modeling because when I went there, because I'd had experience with, with TV production, Foote, Cone had picked up millions and millions of dollars in billing in Sears [Sears, Roebuck and Co.], the Sears business. And Sears would make, what we called regional commercials, like they would make dresses and shoes and this--whatever they had on sale, they would make little short commercials, and those commercials ran in different markets. You know, Texas could be dresses. Ohio could be shoes. So they were really doing retail only in TV commercials. And there was a unit of us that traveled around doing commercials. You know, in the winter, we worked in Florida or in California. In, in the good months, we worked in Chicago [Illinois]. So our little retail unit did some six or seven hundred commercials. My job in that was fashion director, fashion and casting. So if, indeed, Sears says, we're gonna be selling these dresses, then I would arrange for casting sessions to bring the models in, and then make sure that they were fitted properly. That they looked good, that they were accessorized properly, of course, working with seamstresses and things. But, therefore, the title, casting and fashion because they felt--Foote, Cone felt that that would give me--that would be a way for me to use whatever knowledge I had learned in the fashion business. And so it was a title that they created for me.$$I see. So you were there--is it, you said--$$Fourteen years.$$Fourteen years, okay.$$And I left there only to open my own business [Dori Wilson Public Relations, Chicago, Illinois]. And during that time, it was a wonderful experience, again, because traveling with a unit, and the unit being a TV producer, associate producer, a writer, an art director, a copy--I mean a copywriter and an account executive. And so it was a wonderful learning experience too. And, again, you learn about the work that goes into making these little commercials that we may or may not remember. It's a huge, huge business.$$So what--well, it's a huge business, and that's when really things were staffed, you know--$$Oh, yeah.$$--because you had--$$Yes.$$--you know, I mean that's when jingle writers, you know, or singers (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Exactly.$$--even could make a lot of money--$$Oh, yeah, and we worked so much with those jingle writers and, and the singers and the voiceover people and I still hear voices on TV that I recognize. Joel Corey was a very big one, and I still hear Joel doing McDonald's [McDonald's Corporation] and things around town.

Barbara Heineback

Barbara Heineback was born in New York City on December 29, 1944; she went on to make history by becoming the first African American woman to serve as a press officer to a First Lady.

Heineback attended Howard University where she received her B.A. degree in journalism from the school of communications. From there, Heineback went on to attend the University of Stockholm in Sweden where she received a certificate of Language Arts in Swedish. She married Swedish Foreign Service officer Bo Heineback who later served as Swedish ambassador to several countries. She gave birth to their son in 1973.

Upon returning to the United States, Heineback made history be becoming the first African American woman to serve as a press officer to former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. From there, Heineback went on to become the director of public relations and later, the public and investor relations director for Comsat, a communications satellite corporation. Next, Heineback served as the director of development for Scripps Memorial Hospital, where she was credited with raising significant funding for the hospital. From there, Heineback went on to become the chief of protocol for the America’s Cup, an international sailing race. In 1996, Heineback launched her firm, Talking Point, to manage the marketing and communications needs of several prominent clients. Heineback served as a consultant through her firm to non-profit, corporate, and private clients around the globe. Heineback also served as a strategic consultant for President Bill Clinton’s Administration; the NAACP; Scripps Healthcare; Silicon Graphics; Biotechs; the Bi-national Emergency Medical Care Committee; and the San Francisco Library.

Heineback published a newspaper column for the Savannah Morning News, as well as a number of social and political commentary articles for other papers. She served on the board of directors of Frederick County Mental Health Association; the International Eye Foundation; the San Francisco World Affairs Council; and the San Francisco Foreign Affairs Committee.

Accession Number

A2005.181

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/2/2005

Last Name

Heineback

Maker Category
Schools

St Peter Of Alcantara School

John J Daly Elementary School

John Philip Sousa Elementary School

Forest Hills High School

Howard University

First Name

Barbara

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

HEI02

Favorite Season

Winter

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Australia

Favorite Quote

Gee Golly Willikers.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/29/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pie (Lemon Chiffon), Salad

Short Description

Public relations executive Barbara Heineback (1944 - ) owns a public relations and communications firm, Talking Point, and was the first African American press officer, working under First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

Employment

Bee Talkingpoint

Scrippts Memorial Hospital

Communications Satellite Corporation

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Barbara Heineback's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Barbara Heineback lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Barbara Heineback describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Barbara Heineback describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Barbara Heineback describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Barbara Heineback describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Barbara Heineback recalls holidays with her family in Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Barbara Heineback recounts her search for her family history

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Barbara Heineback describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Barbara Heineback recalls fond memories of her time with her father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Barbara Heineback describes her paternal family's farm in Leesburg, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Barbara Heineback describes her early education at St. Peter of Alcantara in Port Washington, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Barbara Heineback describes her childhood neighborhood and daily life in Port Washington, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Barbara Heineback compares her birth in New York City to her son's in Stockholm, Sweden

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Barbara Heineback remembers her childhood activities and pastimes

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Barbara Heineback remembers neighbors from her childhood in Port Washington, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Barbara Heineback talks about her parent's involvement in the Sands Point community of Port Washington, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Barbara Heineback remembers her father nearly losing the family farm

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Barbara Heineback recalls her time at Sands Point Elementary School in Port Washington, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Barbara Heineback describes her childhood personality

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Barbara Heineback remembers her influential piano teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Barbara Heineback remembers attending Port Washington Baptist Church in Port Washington, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Barbara Heineback remembers her father's influence and advice

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Barbara Heineback remembers her childhood aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Barbara Heineback recalls working full time at CBS News her senior year at Howard University in Washington, D.C., pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Barbara Heineback recalls working full time at CBS News her senior year at Howard University in Washington, D.C., pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Barbara Heineback recalls living in Stockholm, Sweden

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Barbara Heineback remembers the birth of her son, Erik Heineback, in Stockholm, Sweden

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Barbara Heineback talks about her divorce and return to the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Barbara Heineback remembers her hiring as Rosalynn Carter's advance agent

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Barbara Heineback describes her first few days as an advance agent for Rosalynn Carter

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Barbara Heineback remembers averting a major mishap during her early days as an advance agent for Rosalynn Carter

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Barbara Heineback describes the hectic lifestyle of a presidential advance agent

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Barbara Heineback recalls the election of President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Barbara Heineback recounts how WALB-TV rescinded a job offer after hiring her

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Barbara Heineback talks about moving to Washington D.C. to serve as Rosalynn Carter's press officer

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Barbara Heineback describes her experiences as a press officer for First Lady Rosalynn Carter

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Barbara Heineback recalls a difficult public relations situation while working for First Lady Rosalynn Carter

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Barbara Heineback reflects on her rewarding experiences working for First Lady Rosalynn Carter

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Barbara Heineback talks about her resignation as press officer for First Lady Rosalynn Carter

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Barbara Heineback talks about her work for First Lady Rosalynn Carter's initiatives in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Barbara Heineback remembers how she met her first husband

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Barbara Heineback talks about the complications in her marriages

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Barbara Heineback talks about her career in public relations and fundraising

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Barbara Heineback reflects upon her decision to work for a biotech firm in Silicon Valley, California

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Barbara Heineback talks about her plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Barbara Heineback reflects upon balancing motherhood and career

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Barbara Heineback offers advice for aspiring public relations specialists

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Barbara Heineback describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Barbara Heineback outlines her concerns for the United States

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Barbara Heineback talks about her values

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Barbara Heineback describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Barbara Heineback reflects upon the importance of history

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Barbara Heineback reflects upon her legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Barbara Heineback remembers averting a major mishap during her early days as an advance agent for Rosalynn Carter
Barbara Heineback recalls a difficult public relations situation while working for First Lady Rosalynn Carter
Transcript
Now mind you, I should back up a little bit to Tri City [Tri Cities, Michigan]. I had a career choice. I had gotten everything set up at the airport for the first lady's [sic. future first lady] arrival. And my job, which I don't think I had explained, was basically to get the word out, to get press, to make sure that we have support people at the airport and rally building and all for Mrs. [Rosalynn] Carter to come in, for some press to be out there to interview her, to answer questions. Let them know what the president, what the candidate [James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.] is promoting and thinking and doing all of that presidential campaign building. And at this point, you're talking 1979, 1980 [sic.], there was no yardstick to go by. No one had written the 101 rules and all. So it's all sort of on the job training and learning and figuring it out and what should we be doing and going by your mother wit and what you know about politics and what makes sense. Because as you can see, I was sort of wound up, pointed in the right direction, and just told go for it. And that's what I did. Well as I was on my way to the airport a few hours before Mrs. Carter was to arrive, to get my people there and build the press pen and do all of those things, I realized that I had made a wrong turn. The hotel was about fifteen miles from the airport. Because this was pretty much rural, rural country and it was the closest airport, which was fifteen mi- I mean the closest hotel was about fifteen miles from the airport. So when I realized I was headed in the wrong direction, I make a U-turn on this road that has a straight edge and not the normal ditches that I was accustomed to from the East Coast. And my whole wheel went over the side and the whole bottom of the car just came down flat right on the road. And I thought well this ends my little sweet career. I can hear John [ph.] now, "I told you she couldn't handle it." And so I didn't know what to do other than pray. So I just kind of put my head down for a minute and said please Lord, don't let this be the end of my little two-day short career right here. Prayer works. I promise you when I looked up, I saw Farmer Jones over in a field on his tractor. And I said that man's gonna save my life. I jumped out the car and I'm doing this. And naturally he saw this car that had--I mean he saw what happened. He knew what it was. And so within two or three minutes he'd gotten himself to the road, he's pulling me out, turned around and all, car was fine. And that took maybe ten minutes or so, fifteen to get all of that done. And by the time he got there, his wife had been in the house baking cookies. She gave me a whole sheet of cookies. She comes out in a box. She found out who I was. She brought me two or three cookies. When she found out who I was and where I was going and I was headed to the airport to meet Mrs. Carter, she said, "Oh, let me bring you the whole batch." So she puts everything very beautifully in this box and I go tootling off to the airport. And when I arrived, it was like, "Well where have you been?" 'Cause I'm a little late. And I said, "Back at the hotel baking cookies." And I just left it right there, said you don't wanna know. So that was the skinny on that.$Let's come back to your discussion of what was occurring as you were working for then President [James Earl] Jimmy Carter [Jr.]. What were some of the most challenging moments that you had and what were some of the most rewarding?$$One of the more challenging moments I had while working for Mrs. Carter [First Lady Rosalynn Carter], and this was on the campaign train just before Election Day, maybe--Election Day is always the first Tuesday in November, this is probably the third or fourth week of October when everything is building toward a crescendo and both sides are trying to find whatever they can find on the other candidate and dish. Well it so happens that the candidate Jimmy Carter had just been interviewed by--what's the magazine, the girlie--Playboy magazine. And in the magazine article Jimmy Carter, you know, Mr. Christian, Mr. man on the--at the fish pond, goody-goody-two-shoes, straight and narrow, had admitted to Playboy magazine yes I have lusted after other women. Story broke while Rosalynn was in her jet. By now she's been, you know, donated, not donated, but she's flying around in the candidate's wife's jet, her plane, to hopscotch from spot to spot on the campaign trail. She was--and this was before the day of cell phones and all of that. You've got to go back technologically, that you don't know the news that's taking place while you're in the air until you're on the ground. You did not have--you did not have televisions and all of this in the friendly skies with you at the time. Skies were still friendly, but they just were not technologically advanced. Suffice it to say when Rosalynn landed in--we were in Texas. I don't think it was San Antonio [Texas], but we were somewhere, maybe in Austin, Texas because she was going to meet Lady Bird Johnson. And it was her first meeting with Lady Bird. Rosalynn was so excited and all to meet the first lady of Texas. And an ex-first lady of the United States. And we thought that was gonna be the story and the coverage and all. Now mind you, I need to back up and share that up until then, Rosalynn's coverage was never more than a dozen people at any event in terms of the news, you know the news coverage. She might have the local newspaper, local television station, maybe a local radio and one or two others, a spattering of some other newsies that might have shown up at any given time. So to have five people at the airport, couple of cameras or certainly not, not--I don't even think we'd ever had a dozen people anywhere. You know, five or six. Just a handful of press people covering her activities at the time. Because this story about Jimmy having lusted after other women that had broken while Rosalynn was flying from Chicago [Illinois] to Texas where I was to meet her at the airport. When she got down on the ground, Atlanta [Georgia] is calling me, "[HistoryMaker] Barbara [Heineback] build a press pen." Now at that point I don't think I even knew what a press pen was. You know, I just asked the press to stand over here or stand over there and four, five or six people, they do as they're told and it's all very controllable. But suddenly I've got about forty press people here. So I had to actually get cordon rope and all and build a pen, build a place for them to stay, for them to be contained. And so when she had her wheels down, I had to go on board and share with her what had happened, what had broken. And in the meantime, I had written some suggested comments, what she might want to say and how she would handle that. So that clearly was one of my most challenging experiences.$$What kinds of responses did you write?$$I'm saving that one for my book.$$Okay.$$We're still kind of getting that chapter just as it should be. But it was a telling period and a very challenging one, you know, for me, for the situation. And took some thoughtfulness and really trying to measure and balance and consider as much as I could as quickly as I could and make sure at the end of the day that everyone comes out smelling at least if not like a rose, as they should and, you know with longevity and all, how will this play? And, and just sort of allowing your mind to fast forward and cover as many what ifs as humanly possible, and then take that and make a couple of decisions very quickly.$$Could you share what she ultimately did say to the press?$$I wouldn't want to misquote her and I honestly do not remember just yet, you know right, right off the top. But it, it worked.

Avis LaVelle

Avis LaVelle was born in Chicago, Illinois, on March 5, 1954. After graduating from Englewood High School, LaVelle attended the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, where she first started out majoring in physical education, but later changed her major to broadcasting. LaVelle later earned her master’s degree in business administration from the Keller School of Management at DeVry University.

After graduating from the University of Illinois, LaVelle worked at a radio station in Springfield, Illinois. Moving to Chicago, LaVelle continued her climb in the communications world, and by the early 1990s, she was serving as press secretary to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. In 1992, LaVelle was picked by Bill Clinton to serve as his National Press Secretary during his campaign for president. Returning to Chicago after Clinton's presidency, LaVelle held a number of positions both in the government and the private sector. LaVelle served as the vice president of government and public affairs for the University of Chicago Hospitals; senior policy advisor for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich; and vice president of communications for Waste Management.

In 1997, LaVelle was appointed by Mayor Daley to the School Reform Board of Trustees, and in 1999, she served as his campaign manager while he successfully ran for reelection. LaVelle retired from the School Reform Board in 2003, and went on to serve on the board of the Chicago Cable Commission, and as a private consultant with her company, A. LaVelle Consulting Services LLC. In 2004 LaVelle was hired by the John Kerry-John Edwards 2004 presidential ticket to serve as Illinois campaign manager.

Accession Number

A2004.123

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/11/2004 |and| 8/11/2005 |and| 8/23/2010

Last Name

LaVelle

Maker Category
Schools

Bass Elem School

Kershaw Elementary School

George Gershwin School

Juliette G. Lowe Upper Grade Center

Englewood High School

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Avis

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

LAV01

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

3/5/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Orange Chicken

Short Description

Public relations executive Avis LaVelle (1954 - ) served as the press secretary to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley; the National Press Secretary for Bill Clinton during his campaign for president; vice president of government and public affairs for the University of Chicago Hospitals; senior policy advisor for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich; and vice president of communications for Waste Management. LaVelle is also the founder of A. LaVelle Consulting Services LLC.

Employment

City of Chicago

Bill Clinton Presidential Campaign

University of Chicago Hospitals

State of Illinois

Waste Management

Chicago School Reform Board of Trustees

Richard Daley Mayoral Campaign

Chicago Cable Commission

A. Lavelle Consulting Services LLC

John Kerry Presidential Campaign

WTAX Radio Station

WGN AM Radio

Bill Clinton Administration

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Foster Group, Inc.

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Avis LaVelle's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Avis LaVelle lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Avis LaVelle talks about her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Avis LaVelle talks about her maternal ancestors

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Avis LaVelle talks about her maternal family moving to Chicago and the change in the Englewood neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Avis LaVelle describes her mother and childhood visits to the library in the summertime

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Avis LaVelle talks about her mother's childhood and how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Avis LaVelle talks about her father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Avis LaVelle describes her father and her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Avis LaVelle describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Avis LaVelle describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Englewood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Avis LaVelle describes the house she grew up in and how her mother and stepfather met

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Avis LaVelle talks about the impact of her father's alcoholism on her home life growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Avis LaVelle talks about her childhood church, Christ Methodist Church in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Avis LaVelle recalls her family's love of music growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Avis LaVelle talks about her work as a disc jockey

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Avis LaVelle talks about the many schools she attended in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Avis LaVelle talks about her teachers at Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Avis LaVelle talks about studying African dance under HistoryMaker Darlene Blackburn

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Avis LaVelle talks about her identity as an African American in the late 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Avis LaVelle reflects upon the life lessons she learned at Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Avis LaVelle talks about reading and watching TV growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Avis LaVelle describes attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Avis LaVelle remembers her lack of guidance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Avis LaVelle talks about looking for a broadcasting job in Dayton, Ohio, working in radio in Springfield, Illinois and being burglarized

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Avis LaVelle reflects upon the growing experience of being burglarized

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Slating of Avis LaVelle's interview, session two

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Avis LaVelle explains her decision to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Avis LaVelle talks about changing her major to radio and television broadcasting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Avis LaVelle talks about her classes and sorority at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Avis LaVelle talks about her desire to become a radio disc jockey

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Avis LaVelle describes teaching after college and the political atmosphere at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Avis LaVelle talks about living in Dayton, Ohio and getting a job as a radio disc jockey in Springfield, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Avis LaVelle describes being burglarized

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Avis LaVelle describes working at NCR Corporation in Dayton, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Avis LaVelle describes her early career in radio as a news reporter, first in Gary, Indiana then Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Avis LaVelle talks about working for WGN AM radio station in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Avis LaVelle talks about the major news stories she covered as a radio news reported for WGN AM in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Avis LaVelle describes the meeting she had with Richard M. Daley before becoming his press secretary

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Avis LaVelle talks about public opinion of Richard M. Daley in the late 1980s in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Avis LaVelle talks about the conflict between HistoryMaker Eugene Sawyer and Timothy C. Evans

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Avis LaVelle talks about former Chicago, Illinois Mayor Richard M. Daley's first administration

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Avis LaVelle talks about the Council Wars in Chicago, Illinois during the 1980s

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Avis LaVelle talks about working in the Richard M. Daley administration in 1989

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Avis LaVelle explains how the Chicago City Council operates

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Avis LaVelle comments on Mayor Richard M. Daley's control of the media and explains the difference between being a reporter and press secretary

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Avis LaVelle describes her work as press secretary for former Chicago, Illinois Mayor Richard M. Daley

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Avis LaVelle talks about being recruited to work on President Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992 and her impression of meeting the Clintons

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Avis LaVelle talks about the presidential race between Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Avis LaVelle talks about President Bill Clinton's transition into the White House

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of Avis LaVelle's interview, session three

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Avis LaVelle describes her duties as part of President Bill Clinton's transition team in 1992

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Avis LaVelle talks about the organization of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Avis LaVelle describes the big issues in healthcare in the U.S. during the first Clinton Administration

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Avis LaVelle talks about her role as assistant secretary for public affairs in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Avis LaVelle describes her work on immunization outreach with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Avis LaVelle talks about moving back to Chicago, Illinois during the 1995 heat wave

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Avis LaVelle describes working for Waste Management, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Avis LaVelle describes working at the University of Chicago Hospitals in Chicago, Illinois and her mother's battle with cancer

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Avis LaVelle talks about serving on the School Reform Board of Trustees in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Avis LaVelle talks about HistoryMaker The Honorable Bobby Rush's campaign for mayor of Chicago, Illinois against incumbent Richard M. Daley in 1999

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Avis LaVelle talks about former Chicago, Illinois Mayor Richard M. Daley's previous mayoral competitors

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Avis LaVelle describes losing her job at Foster Group, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois and becoming Illinois campaign manager for John Kerry

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Avis LaVelle describes working on John Kerry's Illinois presidential campaign

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Avis LaVelle reflects upon John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Avis LaVelle talks about HistoryMaker President Barack Obama's first presidential campaign

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Avis LaVelle shares her opinion of HistoryMaker President Barack Obama's administration

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Avis LaVelle talks about A. LaVelle Consulting Services in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Avis LaVelle describes her hope for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Avis LaVelle reflects upon her life

Tape: 8 Story: 12 - Avis LaVelle talks about her parents' opinion of her success and how she met her husband

Tape: 8 Story: 13 - Avis LaVelle reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 8 Story: 14 - Avis LaVelle describes how she would like to be remembered

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DATitle
Avis LaVelle talks about working in the Richard M. Daley administration in 1989
Avis LaVelle describes working for Waste Management, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois
Transcript
Was there anything that really surprised you positively or negatively about [Mayor] Richard [M.] Daley's administration in the first few years?$$Positively, I'm very proud of having being a part of the Daley administration. And, I will say to you that the attention to detail for the nuts and bolts of government was an incredible thing to behold. Because, this is really somebody who--he felt like the role of gov--of city government is to make sure that government really does operate well. That gover- that the City [of Chicago, Illinois] looks as good as it can, that the people get the services that they're entitled to. So, a lot of the things that have manifest themselves now, things that you see and all around you, you know, the way the streets look, the flowers and all of those things, the enhancements, a lot of those initiatives were things that--the seeds for which, literally and figuratively, were planted a long time ago. This is somebody who I spent many, many hours riding around with him from community to community. And, he took copious notes about the things that he saw, that he felt like needed to be improved. You go into [Chicago] City Hall, city hall is gleaming and it's beautiful and it's well maintained and all of that. And, people take pride in that. So, just the, the basic housekeeping things that make people just stand back with awe, and look at the city and say, "Wow, it looks great here." Well, this is our front porch, you know, when people come to the front porch of Chicago [Illinois] they have--they are awe struck by how beautiful it is. And, it's because there has been such attention paid to the communities, particularly downtown, but all of the communities. I am--I was pleased at the way in which a formula was devised to make sure that every alderman got resources to deal with the issues that each and every one of them needed to deal with. You know, the--each alderman has a certain pot of capital money to spend as he or she sees fit, to take care of particular issues in their wards. And, the aldermen are the people who know better than anybody what needs to be done. That's not the kind of thing that you would stand out in city hall and say, you need a street on 43rd [Street] and Champlain [Avenue]. Alderman has to do that. But, there wasn't a mechanism before that, before this administration, on how that was gonna be done. And, so, things like that at the very basic levels of government, and maybe these were things that he learned from his father [Mayor Richard J. Daley], I don't really know. But, I'm--I just feel good about having been a part of an effort to really drive services down to the lowest levels in every community. Because, I think the real purpose of city government is service. You know, your local government is the clo--very closest to you. And, it is the entity that it--that provides you with basic services. And, those services ought to be well, well provided and evenly distributed and accessible. You ought to be able to call for service and get it.$$Okay. Anything, is there anything negative about those years that surprised you or even the dynamics of getting things done that surprised you?$$I can't say that it is a reflection on the Daley administration. I think it's more a reflection of the political process itself and a reflection on it. Politics really is like watching sausage be made. I had a much more inanimate view of the politic processes was when I was a reporter. And, I was--I thought that I really knew these political figures because I covered them so intimately. And, I thought that I really knew government because I actually lived in city hall, you know, that's where my office was based on, on a regular basis, every single day I was there. But, until you're inside it, you don't really know it. And, you don't really know what the people and their personalities and who they really are. And, some of them I liked much, much better before I really knew who they were.$My period of time at HHS [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services] ended and I went to Waste Management [Inc.]. I was the vice president of communications. And, first I was the vice president of community relations for the Chicago [Illinois] area. And, then I became vice president of communications and community relations for the company. And, I was really proud of the blue-bag recycling program because we went from nothing to something, and Chicago really hadn't been recycling. And, our goal was to divert 25 percent of the waste stream. And, I think we got up to about 23 percent of the waste stream. The problem with the blue-bag was that, you had to keep reminding people of the value of recycling, you know. And, you, you couldn't just do it and assume that people would have some sort of institutional memory. You know, people are moving in and out of the City of Chicago, technology changes, people just needed to be reminded. And, they didn't continue to have an education component of the program. I did that for a couple of years. And, I worked at Waste Management during the period of time when the company itself was undergoing a huge transition. It was twenty-five years old when I came. But, it was--still operated like a small company, even though it was a corporation with more than five hundred divisions. Because, they had made so much money, that their money, the money that they made almost masked their inefficiencies. And, mashed--masked the fact that they, they really weren't a well-managed company at the time. So, when lots of people who had come along who had worked for them and who knew how inefficient they were, started their own businesses and really got up and going. Those businesses were run much better than Waste Management. And, there was a shareholder revoke. 'Cause they had gotten away from their core business. They were trying to do a little of this and a little of that. And, they had many, had taken on many endeavors and many of them were not profitable. So, meantime, their core business, which was the garbage business was being picked off by companies formed by former Waste Management employees who had gone on to do it much better than the parent company, so to speak. So, I, I only worked there for a couple years 'cause it was just an amazing experience to work in a place that was collapsing. And, the people who were there--it was like people--let me give you this analogy. It was like being on the deck of the Titanic with people still sunning (laughter), and saying, "Oh, you know, it's gonna, it's gonna settle itself. You know, things are gonna be all right." And, for many of those people who had worked there twenty years, they could not imagine that the company was crumbling, you know. But, it really was because they never could get their footing back. They never could regain their footing. And, the, the shareholders led by Nell Minow and George Soros were forcing them to make real changes that were--fundamentally change how they operated and forced out a lot of the old leadership. And, eventually, the company was sold to a competitor formed by a former Waste Management person. And, Waste Management exists as a brand because it was a viable brand but, he just rebranded his company to become Waste Management. So, the company doesn't really exist as it was, it's, it's a smaller company, a much more efficient company that has a Waste Management brand but none of the former leadership.$$Okay.$$So, I did that for a couple years. And, I lived in Hyde Park [Chicago, Illinois] and commuted to Oak Brook [Illinois] every day. And, when I got the opportunity to work seven blocks from my house at University of Chicago Hospitals [University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois], I thought, "That's a grand idea."