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Richelle Parham

Marketing executive Richelle Parham was born on November 8, 1967 in Baltimore, Maryland. After graduating from Bryn Mawr School for Girls in 1986, Parham received her B.S. degree in both marketing and design and merchandising from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1991.

While attending Drexel University, Parham interned with fashion brand Valentino, serving as an assistant to the national sales manager. Upon graduation, she was hired by Citibank to work as an account manager. She left Citibank in 1994 when she joined the marketing agency, Digitas, as an account manager, handling clients such as AT&T Wireless and American Express. In 2004, she was promoted to vice president and general manager of Digitas’ digital and direct marketing shop’s Chicago office, where she built the websites of companies like Motorola, IBM, and AT&T Wireless, and pioneered banner campaigns, email marketing, and affiliate networking. From 2007 to 2008, Parham worked for Rapp Collins Worldwide as vice president of strategy and enablement, working with corporations such as AIG and Apple. Visa hired Parham in 2008 to serve as head of global marketing services; and, in May 2010, she was promoted to head of global marketing innovations and initiatives. In October 2010, Parham left Visa and joined eBay as chief marketing officer where she oversaw all of eBay’s marketing operations and launched eBay Now, a same-day shipping service. Parham remained at eBay until its split with PayPal and subsequent restructuring in March, 2015. She joined the growth capital investment group, Camden Partners, in 2016, serving as a general partner focused on investments in global consumer companies in their growth stages.

Parham was made executive chair of the board of directors for the oral care product company, Shyn, in 2018. She has also served on the boards of mass media company, Scripps Network Interactive; technology nonprofit, Girls Who Code; Drexel University; clinical laboratory network, LabCorp; Best Buy; e.l.f. Cosmetics; and oral care product company, Ranir.

She has also received numerous awards for her work in the marketing industry, including the 2012 Women of Influence Award presented by the Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal, 2011 Top Executives in Marketing and Advertising ranked by Black Enterprise, and induction into the Direct Marketing News Marketing Hall of Femme in 2013. In 2014, Forbes listed Parham as one of the 50 most influential CMO’s in the world, and in 2015, Black Enterprise named her amongst the 50 most powerful women in corporate America.

Parham is married to Sam Jones, and the two reside in Massachusetts.

Richelle Parham was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 20, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.080

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/20/2019

Last Name

Parham

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Patricia

Schools

The Bryn Mawr School

Drexel University

First Name

Richelle

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

PAR14

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Costa Rica, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.$$Don't settle for mediocrity.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

11/8/1967

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Indian food (Baingan Bharta) and sushi

Short Description

Marketing executive Richelle Parham (1967- ) worked in the marketing department of Digitas for thirteen years before becoming chief marketing officer of eBay.

Employment

Valentino

Citibank, N.A.

Digitas

Rapp Collins Worldwide

Visa, Inc.

eBay

Camden Partners

Favorite Color

Deep Purple

Claibourne Smith

Chemist Claibourne D. Smith was born on January 6, 1938 in Memphis, Tennessee to Lessie Minor and James Smith, Jr. At Melrose High School, he decided that he wanted to become a chemist. Smith petitioned the Memphis School Board to bring higher-level trigonometry and math courses to his school. He graduated from the University of Denver with his B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemistry in 1959 and 1961, respectively. During college, Smith worked in chemical synthesis at the Denver Research Institute. He then went on to earn his Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry from the University of Oregon in 1964.

Smith began his career at E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company as a research chemist where he remained for thirty-four years. Smith’s research in organic chemistry focused on the chemical properties and reactions of specific cyclic compounds. Throughout his career at E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, he held many management positions, including director of Marketing Liaison and Vice President of Marketing in the Corporate Plans Department. Smith retired from the company in 1998 as Vice President of Technology and Vice Chairman of Corporation Education Aid.

Throughout his career, Smith has served as a member of numerous organizations and advisory boards. After serving as the board chairman of Delaware State University, he was named the acting president of Delaware State University from 2008 to 2010. Smith was appointed to the Delaware State Board of Education in 1993, and reappointed in 1999. He also served on the Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform Advisory Board, the Delaware Council on Crime and Justice and on the board of directors of the Fair Housing Council of Delaware. For his service to public education, Smith was given the Distinguished Service Award by the National Association of State Boards of Education in 2006. He was also the recipient of the Dean’s Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Oregon in 1989 and the Jefferson Awards Certificate of Excellence from the The News Journal of Delaware in 1994.

Smith lives with his wife, Roseann in Greenville, Delaware.

Claibourne D. Smith was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 25, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.125

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/25/2012

Last Name

Smith

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

D.

Occupation
Schools

Melrose High School

University of Denver

University of Oregon

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Claibourne

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

SMI25

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Delaware

Interview Description
Birth Date

1/6/1938

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Wilmington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Chemist Claibourne Smith (1938 - ) led a thirty-four year career at E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company as a research chemist and corporate executive.

Employment

Denver Research Institute

DuPont Company

Delaware State University

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21876">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Claibourne Smith's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21877">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Claibourne Smith lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21878">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Claibourne Smith describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21879">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Claibourne Smith describes his mother's work ethic</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21880">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Claibourne Smith describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21881">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Claibourne Smith talks about his relationship with his father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21882">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Claibourne Smith talks about his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21883">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Claibourne Smith talks about the lessons that he learned from his mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21884">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Claibourne Smith describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21885">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Claibourne Smith describes the segregated neighborhood and the house where he grew up in Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21886">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Claibourne Smith describes the sights and sounds and smells of growing up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21887">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Claibourne Smith describes his experience in school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21888">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Claibourne Smith talks about his limited access a library while growing up</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21889">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Claibourne Smith describes his interests and activities while growing up in Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21890">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Claibourne Smith talks about segregation in Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21891">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Claibourne Smith describes performing chemistry experiments in school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21892">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Claibourne Smith describes his experience at Melrose High School (part 1)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21893">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Claibourne Smith describes his experience at Melrose High School (part 2)</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21894">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Claibourne Smith describes being a student in a segregated Memphis school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21895">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Claibourne Smith talks about his teenage years and his interest in blues music</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21896">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Claibourne Smith describes the music scene in Memphis during the 1950s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21897">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Claibourne Smith talks about the differences between his and his sister's academic performance</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21898">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Claibourne Smith describes his decision to attend the University of Denver</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21899">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Claibourne Smith describes his visit to Chicago</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21900">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Claibourne Smith describes his experience with race relations in Denver, Colorado in the 1950s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21901">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Claibourne Smith describes his experience at the University of Denver chemistry department and at the Denver Research Institute</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21902">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Claibourne Smith talks about getting married and having his first child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21903">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Claibourne Smith describes his decision to attend the University of Oregon to pursue his Ph.D. degree</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21904">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Claibourne Smith describes his Ph.D. dissertation research on the synthesis and study of 2H-benz[cd]azulene</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21905">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Claibourne Smith describes his decision to join DuPont as a research scientist</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21906">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Claibourne Smith describes his experience as a research scientist at DuPont</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21907">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Claibourne Smith describes his community involvement in Delaware</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21908">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Claibourne Smith describes his research on strained ring systems at DuPont</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21909">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Claibourne Smith describes his transition from a scientific track to a management track at DuPont</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21910">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Claibourne Smith describes his experiences in management at DuPont</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21911">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Claibourne Smith describes his role with minority science education at Delaware State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21912">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Claibourne Smith describes his leadership roles and service at Delaware State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21913">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Claibourne Smith talks about the strengths of Delaware State University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21914">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Claibourne Smith reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21915">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Claibourne Smith talks about his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21916">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Claibourne Smith describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21917">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Claibourne Smith talks about how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/21918">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Claibourne Smith describes his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Claibourne Smith describes performing chemistry experiments in school
Claibourne Smith describes his decision to join DuPont as a research scientist
Transcript
Okay, so in terms of science what was the--, so school was your introduction to science?$$Yeah, yes.$$And did, in your opinion, when you look back on it now, did the school do a pretty good job of presenting science to you?$$Oh, absolutely. I felt--Joe Westbrook, Mr. Joe Westbrook was my chemistry and physics teacher, did an outstanding job of really capturing my imagination for science. And he allowed me and a few others to kind of do some probing of our own, knowing very little about some of the hazards of some of the things we were, (laughter), we were getting ourselves into. And one of the remembrances that I had of high school was my being able to put together a formula for an explosive. And (laughter) frightened the heck out of the teachers, but my teacher would just simply caution me to be careful and not do things that were overtly dangerous. But I was just kind of curious.$$What kind of explosive was it? I mean what did you make?$$Well, well, there were a couple of things that I did. One was putting together some nitrate salts and heating them to the point where they would, they would detonate. And the other one was making a material called nitrogen triiodide, which is made from iodine crystals and household ammonia. And it was a very unstable material when it was dry. Wet, there was no problem. And those were the two little curiosities that I had as a youngster in high school, being able to put that together and demonstrate to people what you could do with something that was very easy to come by.$$Now, could you make a pretty large explosion with these items?$$Oh, you put enough together, it would be fairly dangerous, yeah.$$Okay. Well, how did you learn just use just enough of it or--$$Trial and error (laughter). Trial and error. Sometime I'd, I used to tell my mother [Lessie Minor], I said, you know what? You were a very prayerful person. You prayed for me a lot, and the good Lord must have been listening to you because I really did some dumb things in my life. And I'm still around. But growing up, I really did some dumb things, looking back on it. But it was part of, you know, my nature, being curious.$$Did you get, was there someone who was a guide in terms of these kinds of things? Where did you learn about how to make an explosive?$$Read. Just read. Stuff was there in the literature, and you just read. I was a voracious reader.$$Now, where were you getting this? There's no library now, so where are you getting your reading materials?$$From school.$$Okay.$$Yeah, whatever books were available in school, that's what I latched onto.$$Okay. All right, so, now, did the school--this probably just a--, I know the school probably didn't have all the facilities that the white schools had--$$No.$$--in terms of chemistry lab and that sort of thing. Did you have any kind of a lab?$$It was, yeah, we had, we had a laboratory that doubled as a classroom and a lab, very rudimentary, no fume hoods, and we didn't have safety glasses. We didn't have smocks. We didn't have anything. We just, we came as we were and, and we had Bunsen burners and a gas line. And we could, had a few beakers and you could heat things up in the open. And it was, it was a miracle that no one either got hurt seriously or ended up being poisoned either by fumes or liquids that we shouldn't have had long exposure to or any exposure to for that matter. It was just, it was just, it was a bad scene, and we were just fortunate, very fortunate that no one either got hurt or became ill.$All right. So was it--, did you find--, was working on your Ph.D. easy?$$It was a lot of fun. Let me put it this way. It wasn't easy, but it was fun. I thoroughly enjoyed it because it just opened up all kinds of ways that I could express myself as a synthetic chemist. I'm a, like I say, I'm a synthetic chemist. And I like to make stuff. And this just offered up a number of opportunities for me to do that and that's what really fascinated me about the opportunity I had at DuPont [E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, American chemical company]. DuPont's a chemical company, and when I started there, they had research operations in almost all of their departments. They were broken up into various departments. And most of the operating departments, those departments who had commercial product responsibility, had research groups as well.$$Now, let me ask you this before, you entered DuPont, I mean how did you find out about the job at DuPont or did they recruit you or, and were you one of the first black folks to work for DuPont?$$Um-hum, yeah. My thesis professor [Virgil Boekelheide] was a good friend of the laboratory director in the Central Research Department at DuPont, a fellow named Ted Carrens (ph.). And Ted came out to [University of] Oregon and gave a talk, a lecture about some of the work that was going on in the Central Research Department at DuPont. Now, Central Research is a little different than regular, commercial departments. Central Research was a group of, a department made up of a group of scientists that were exploratory in nature. In other words, they did research that was not dissimilar from research that you would find in a college campus actually. And that kind of work really fascinated me. I was prepared to do, you know, commercial research, but if I had the opportunity to do this kind of research, I prefer to do that. And when I interviewed DuPont, this department interviewed me for the job as well as the other departments, namely, organic chemicals and films and, I forget the other departments, plastics department. And, and the job that Central Research offered me was the one that I really jumped at. And that's where I got my start to come into a department like Central Research because I'm a synthetic organic chemist. And I had an opportunity now to have some of the best equipment in the world and some of the most available scientists to collaborate with. I thought that was a real dream. And was I--I was among the first African Americans to come in with a Ph.D. at DuPont. There was probably three other scientists there with Ph.D.s, as I remember, a fellow named Dick Cooper who had started maybe about four years earlier than I, five years maybe; a fellow named Dan James who was a scientist at the organic chemicals laboratory across the river in Deepwater, New Jersey and a fellow named Dick Goldsby (ph.) who was there at DuPont. So I was the fourth African American at the time with a Ph.D. at DuPont. So I was not the first Ph.D. African American scientist.