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Lillian Lambert

Small business executive Lillian Lincoln Lambert was born on May 12, 1940 in Ballsville, Virginia to Willie D. Hobson, a farmer and Arnetha B. Hobson, a school teacher and homemaker. Lambert graduated from Pocahontas High School in Powhatan, Virginia in 1958. Her mother, a college graduate, urged Lambert to pursue an advanced degree, but she wanted to move to New York City instead. She worked as a maid on Fifth Avenue, a typist at Macy’s Department Store and a travelling saleswoman. Lambert then moved to Washington, D.C. in 1961, where she worked for the federal government as a typist in the Veteran Affairs Division and later with the Peace Corps while going to school at the District of Columbia Teacher’s College (now the University of the District of Columbia). In 1962, Lambert enrolled as a full-time student at Howard University at the age of twenty-two. Under the mentorship of Professor H. Naylor Fitzhugh, she majored in Business Administration and applied to Harvard Business School. Lambert graduated from Howard University in 1966 with her B.A. degree in business administration and started Harvard Business School in 1967. At Harvard Business School, she worked with four other black students to increase the number of African American enrollments and in 1968, they founded the African American Student Union. Lambert graduated in 1969 and was the first African American woman to receive her M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School.

Lambert was then hired at the Sterling Institute in Washington, D.C. and later as a manager at the National Bankers Association. In 1972, Lambert joined Ferris & Company as a stockbroker. In 1973, she began teaching at Bowie State College and became the executive vice president of Unified Services, a janitorial services company. Then in 1976, Lambert left Unified Services to start her own janitorial company, Centennial One, Inc. Starting in her garage, she grew Centennial into a business with more than 1,200 employees and $20 million in sales. In 2001, Lambert sold her company and in 2002, she became president of LilCo Enterprises. She now serves as a coach, consultant and public speaker.

Lambert is the recipient of numerous awards including the Small Business Person of the Year for the State of Maryland in 1981 and the Harvard Business School Alumni Achievement Award in 2003, the school’s highest honor for its alumni. She has served on the board of visitors for Virginia Commonwealth University, the board of regents for the University System of Maryland, the board of directors for the African American Alumni Association of Harvard Business School and committee vice chair for the Manasota Chapter of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Lambert is married to John Anthony Lambert, Sr. and has two adult daughters, Darnetha and Tasha.

Lillian Lincoln Lambert was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 9, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.018

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/9/2012

Last Name

Lambert

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Lincoln

Schools

Pocahontas Middle

Harvard Business School

Howard University

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Lillian

Birth City, State, Country

Powhatan

HM ID

LAM03

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Any

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $1,000 - $5,000

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Preferred Audience: Youth, womens groups, business groups, education institutions.

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Defeat Is Not An Option.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

5/12/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Richmond

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Short Description

Business chief executive Lillian Lambert (1940 - ) was the first African American woman to graduate with her M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School and went on to found her own company, Centennial One, Inc.

Employment

LilCo Enterprises

Centennial One, Inc.

Unified Services

Bowie State University

Favorite Color

Blue, Red

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Lillian Lambert's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Lillian Lambert lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Lillian Lambert describes her mother's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Lillian Lambert talks about her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Lillian Lambert talks about her father's family history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Lillian Lambert talks about her father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Lillian Lambert describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Lillian Lambert talks about her family's property in Ballsville, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Lillian Lambert considers her likeness to her parents

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Lillian Lambert lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Lillian Lambert remembers nearly being crushed by a falling tree

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Lillian Lambert talks about the schools she attended in Ballsville, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Lillian Lambert remembers her neighbors in Ballsville, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Lillian Lambert describes the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up in Ballsville, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Lillian Lambert describes her childhood home in Ballsville, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Lillian Lambert describes family conflicts over the value of education

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Lillian Lambert talks about her family's attitudes towards money

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Lillian Lambert talks about her schooling and extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Lillian Lambert talks about her childhood church, Mt.Pero Baptist Church

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Lillian Lambert describes race relations in Ballsville, Virginia during her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Lillian Lambert recalls watching boxing with her father and listening to stories told outside the local store

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Lillian Lambert describes working as a nanny in Riverhead, New York, as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Lillian Lambert talks about attending Pocahontas High School in Powhatan County, Virgina

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Lillian Lambert describes her high school aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Lillian Lambert describes her time living in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Lillian Lambert explains her move to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Lillian Lambert describes working at the Veteran's Administration in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Lillian Lambert talks about her decision to enroll at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Lillian Lambert describes how she financed her education at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Lillian Lambert talks about her mentor, H. Naylor Fitzhugh

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Lillian Lambert talks about her time at Howard University in Washington, D.C. as a commuter student

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Lillian Lambert talks about her college extracurricular activities and reflects on being a nontraditional student

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Lillian Lambert recalls professors from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Lillian Lambert recalls her various jobs during the summers in college

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Lillian Lambert describes her admission to Harvard Business School

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Lillian Lambert talks about the lack of African Americans at Harvard Business School from the 1930s to 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Lillian Lambert describes her efforts to have Harvard Business School enroll more black students

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Lillian Lambert describes her efforts to recruit black students at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Lillian Lambert reflects on Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination and its possible effect on diversity at Harvard Business School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Lillian Lambert recalls her professors from Harvard Business School in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Lillian Lambert recalls her time at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Lillian Lambert talks about a business school project for American Express

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Lillian Lambert talks about working at the Sterling Institute after earning her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Lillian Lambert reflects on being the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Lillian Lambert talks about working at the Sterling Institute and the National Bankers Association

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Lillian Lambert describes working as a stockbroker and as a consultant for a janitorial company

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Lillian Lambert talks about teaching and consulting while pregnant and her work for Unified Services full time

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Lillian Lambert talks about being fired from Unified Services and starting her own business, Centennial One, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Lillian Lambert talks about her committee work and her contracts awarded in the 1970s, including a government contract through the SBA's 8(A) Program

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Lillian Lambert describes her commercial cleaning business, Centennial One, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Lillian Lambert talks about her largest contracts and financial losses

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Lillian Lambert recalls winning the Small Business Person of the Year Award in 1981

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Lillian Lambert considers President Nixon's role in the creation of the Small Business Administration

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Lillian Lambert talks about her mother's death

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Lillian Lambert talks about her first husband's involvement in her business

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Lillian Lambert talks about her second marriage

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Lillian Lambert talks about her involvement with the Harvard Business School African American Alumni Association in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Lillian Lambert talks about the success of her business, Centennial One, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Lillian Lambert talks about selling Centennial One, Inc. in 2001

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Lillian Lambert talks about starting LilCo Enterprises and working as a realtor

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Lillian Lambert talks about writing her book, 'A Road to Someplace Better'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Lillian Lambert reflects on how her life has changed since her childhood in Ballsville, Virginia

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Lillian Lambert reflects her interactions with the people in Ballsville, Virginia

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Lillian Lambert describes her volunteer activities

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Lillian Lambert talks about her student talks

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Lillian Lambert describes her mentoring relationships

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Lillian Lambert describes her hopes and concerns for African American communities

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Lillian Lambert talks about the racism shown HistoryMaker Barack Obama

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Lillian Lambert talks about discrimination in her business dealings

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Lillian Lambert considers what she might have done differently

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Lillian Lambert considers her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Lillian Lambert talks about serving on the board of regents at the University System of Maryland and Virginia Commonwealth University

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Lillian Lambert talks about her marriage to John Lambert

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Lillian Lambert describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Lillian Lambert narrates her photographs

Michael Jack

Television manager Michael Jack was born on June 6, 1951 in Berlin, Germany to Johanna Magrete Kresse and Huston Jack, Jr., a military veteran. He moved to Massachusetts at age two, however, he relocated frequently with his father to several military bases in the United States and Germany. Jack attended John F. Kennedy High School in Willingboro, New Jersey and Heidelberg High School in Heidelberg, Germany. After graduation, Jack enrolled in Pennsylvania’s Haverford College where he earned his B.A. degree in political science.

After graduating from college, Jack worked for WABC-TV in New York, a subsidiary of Capital Cities ABC-TV, where he would serve for nineteen years. Jack moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1980, serving as an account executive for ABC sales spots in the city until 1981, when he became a national sales manager at KGO-TV in San Francisco, California. He was promoted to local sales manager at KGO and remained at the station until 1986.

In 1986, Jack moved to Los Angeles becoming Capital Cities’ National Sales Office Sales Manager, where he would work for a decade. In 1996, Jack joined NBC, working for Los Angeles’ KNBC as Vice President of Sales. In his role, Jack oversaw the entire department on both local and national levels. Three years later, Jack became president and general manager of Columbus, Ohio’s NBC affiliate, WCMH-TV station, succeeding executive Bill Katsafanas in managing the entire station. During Jack’s tenure, WCMH led the market in early morning news, late news and prime time markets.

An industry veteran, Jack became president and general manager of WRC-TV in Washington, D.C., jumping from the thirty-fourth largest television market in the nation to the eighth-largest. The same year, Jack was named NBC’s Vice President of Diversity by General Electric Company’s chairman and chief executive officer, Bob Wright. He became the President and General Manger of NBC New York in 2010. Jack serves on a variety of boards, including the Greater Washington Urban League, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington and the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

Michael Jack resides in New York with his wife, Mary, and daughter, Truce.

Michael Jack was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 28, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.277

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/28/2007

Last Name

Jack

Maker Category
Schools

Haverford College

Heidelberg American High School

Bryn Mawr College

John F. Kennedy High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Michael

Birth City, State, Country

Berlin

HM ID

JAC27

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica, Mexico

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

6/6/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Germany

Favorite Food

Barbecue (Ribs)

Short Description

Television station general manager Michael Jack (1951 - ) was the president and general manager of NBC New York.

Employment

WABC TV

ABC

WNBC TV

WCMH TV

WRC-TV

Bloomingdales

Celanese Fiber Company

KGO-TV

NBC

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Michael Jack's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Michael Jack lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Michael Jack describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Michael Jack talks about his mother's upbringing in Germany

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Michael Jack describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Michael Jack describes his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Michael Jack describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Michael Jack describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Michael Jack describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Michael Jack recalls moving frequently between the United States and Germany

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Michael Jack recalls his early experiences of travel

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Michael Jack describes his religious upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Michael Jack talks about his brother

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Michael Jack recalls the radio and television programs of his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Michael Jack talks about his education in New Jersey and Germany

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Michael Jack describes his early experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Michael Jack talks about his family's perception of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Michael Jack remembers the assassinations of Malcolm X and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Michael Jack describes the demographics of Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Michael Jack describes his experiences at Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Michael Jack remembers the African American community at Haverford College

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Michael Jack recalls studying at Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Michael Jack describes his early work in retail marketing

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Michael Jack recalls starting in the sales training program at WABC-TV in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Michael Jack talks about the television advertising industry

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Michael Jack talks about the television programming of the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Michael Jack recalls the lack of diversity at New York City's WABC-TV

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Michael Jack describes his experiences of racial discrimination at WABC-TV

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Michael Jack describes his experiences of discrimination in the television advertising sales industry

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Michael Jack talks about his career in the sales division of ABC

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Michael Jack describes his philosophy of salesmanship

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Michael Jack talks about selling airtime to niche advertisers

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Michael Jack describes the importance of experience in the media industry

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Michael Jack remembers his decision to work for NBC

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Michael Jack talks about his marriage and family

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Michael Jack describes his role at WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Michael Jack describes the programming on WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Michael Jack reflects upon the representation of African Americans in the television industry

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Michael Jack talks about the lack of diversity on television

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Michael Jack reflects upon his career

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Michael Jack describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Michael Jack describes his transition to WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Michael Jack talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Michael Jack describes his organizational involvement

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Michael Jack reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Michael Jack reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Michael Jack talks about his parents' response to his success

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Michael Jack describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

1$1

DATitle
Michael Jack describes his experiences of discrimination in the television advertising sales industry
Michael Jack describes the programming on WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.
Transcript
So I was telling you a couple of self-inflicted wounds (laughter), 'cause you were asking about how I felt people at ABC treated me and I really was talking just in general about some experience in Corporate America, but back to that period of time, I was, 'cause I was making very little money, was also selling suits at night at a store called Barneys [Barneys New York], so I, I, after saving Barneys discount, I bought a silk tan jacket. I was sharp and proud. It was the first time, other than a blue blazer that I bought at Bloomingdale's that I actually bought something and I rode down the elevator with the president of the division at that time. And I had on some dress sandals. I don't know if you recall the type that where, you had kind of slits in 'em but I was looking sharp.$$Huaraches they're called, I think, or something like that.$$Not huaraches, but a little more dressy than that and I was, I thought I was looking bad, so, up in the elevator with him. Riding down the elevator, he says, looks over at me and says something about the jacket. And I said, "You like it? Well come on down to Barney's, I'll hook you up. I'll give you a little discount," et cetera. The next day, the next day, there was a memo that came out that all account managers, salespeople who worked for ABC will wear suits or at the--in casual moments, blue blazers, so, so should I have been smarter? Probably. Had I been there longer, maybe the outcome would have been different. But it clearly was, we were on different pages. Had I worked at the time for a different company maybe the outlook would have been different.$$You were actually thinking that he wanted one of 'em.$$Oh, absolutely. I, and I was gonna hook him up. And he was looking at me as, who is this crazy fool riding down the elevator, thinking he's looking sharp, et cetera, et cetera. There haven't been many situations like this, but I remember distinctly one that I know, as I was doing it, it was not the smartest thing to do, but I wonder had the same conversation happened between two white males, if the outcome had been the same, so. Not a bad outcome 'cause I didn't get fired, but we were at a dinner, I can't remember if it was a client dinner or one of just ABC personnel at the time, and one of the guys who happens to have the job that I now have, was sitting at the table with me, along with, I think it was the president of the division, another guy at the time. This is a number of years later, and the conversation came up about country clubs, and we got into this debate about why he thought it appropriate that you could exclude African Americans from country clubs. And I, I just, his rationale was, well because it's private. And I remember distinctly saying, and it stopped the conversation. "So, let me understand this, so it's okay to discriminate in public--in private, but not in public? Is that what you're saying?" So, all in all this world is comprised of people who, despite seeing color as the first thing that walks in the door, is how we deal with each other. Some people never get past that initial reaction and some people do, so, to generalize, I've been successful. Could I have been more successful earlier if I had been evaluated only for the things that hopefully I am evaluating individuals for, competency and performance and those kinds of things, maybe, probably, but this is America.$We were talking off camera about the nature of what you're doing, you were saying that in terms of my concern about public affairs programming, that only 7 percent of the programming nowadays is on the air.$$Is over the air (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Is over the air. That rest is cable, right?$$That people receive via the antenna, in this area, and there are some areas that are even less, the Bay Area [San Francisco Bay Area, California] for instance. Everybody's wired there.$$Okay, so then the presumption is that people would get, would have access to, well cable access channels who carry public affairs shows and then any other niche you kind of--programing would be carried on some other cable channel. Is that pretty much it?$$I mean, I think that's somewhat of a generalization but that's relatively fair. People, people unfortunately don't watch a lot of that programming either (laughter). We do some shows here, one called 'A Reporter's Notebook' [sic. 'Reporter's Notebook'] and another called 'Viewpoint' about a single topic with folks within the community talking about issues that are important here the Washington [D.C.] area, so we do give a voice to it. And the good news is we've locked it in between Sunday morning programming and what's happening in the world is people are waking up earlier and those now become very highly rated areas, but beyond that, you know, I think the domain of public affairs programming is no different than the domain of any other programming you know. People, there are so many different things that people are doing, so many distractions, so many multitask these days that finding audiences for programming is difficult in the broadcast business, but a lot of it's going online. We talk all the time. Our competition is not ABC and CBS and FOX, its Google [Google Inc.] and Yahoo and that's where the world is today. I spent a lot of time talking about how to grow our business on all the multiplatforms that exist. We're content providers but we've got to have the content where people want to watch it and we're, watch and use it. It's a different world than it was thirty years ago.$$We were discussing too that NBC 4 [WRC-TV, Washington, D.C.] here is not a superstation like WGN [WGN-TV, Chicago, Illinois] or WOR [WOR-TV; WWOR-TV, Secaucus, New Jersey] used to be or TBS [Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.], but what you do here, you do, you shoot programs for national distribution here like 'George Michael Sports Machine' ['The George Michael Sports Machine'] used to. Is that still being produced here?$$That was cancelled in March of this year.$$Okay.$$We took it off the air. It had been on for twenty-five years, but we do do here, of course, 'Matthews Show' ['The Chris Matthews Show'], 'Meet the Press,' a show called 'It's Academic' that has a regional place. It's a high school--kind of like 'Jeopardy' for high school competitions. We do--$$'McLaughlin' ['The McLaughlin Group'] is here.$$'McLaughlin' is done out of here, done out of our studios, yeah, downstairs.$$Okay, all right, so, yeah this was like, you know, once we drove up here I mean, I, I been to a few stations, but I've never seen as many antennas, and (laughter)--$$Yeah, right, right. We also have a few MSNBC shows and CNBC down here. It's also the network news bureau, so Tim Russert is the managing editor of NBC News in Washington, so we share the same building.