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Fay Ferguson

Advertising chief executive Fay Ferguson graduated magna cum laude with her B.A. degree in English, speech, and drama from Concordia College in Minnesota in 1973. She then received her M.B.A. degree from Indiana University in 1978

After graduation, from 1974 to 1976, Ferguson taught eighth grade English for two years in Michigan City, Indiana. She began her advertising career in 1978 at the Leo Burnett Company and progressed from an account management trainee to account executive. While there, Ferguson coordinated marketing and advertising campaigns for several Pillsbury Company products, including the refrigerated dinner rolls, the sweet rolls, the turnovers, and the slice’n bake cookies. Ferguson then served as senior account executive at Bozell & Jacobs, Inc. where she managed the Alberto Culver account and oversaw the national rollout of their premier line, Mrs. Dash and Alberto Mousse. In March of 1984, Ferguson joined Burrell Communications Group as an account supervisor. She was promoted to vice president in 1986 and became an account director in 1988. After being promoted to management supervisor in 1992, Ferguson was named client service director in 1993 and managed the company’s accounts with the Procter & Gamble Company and the McDonalds Corporation. In addition, she served as co-chair of the new business committee for Burrell Communications Group. In November of 1997, Ferguson became the managing partner of account management and operations. Later, Ferguson was appointed as co-CEO of Burrell Communications Group.

Ferguson has been active on several boards, including the Perspectives Charter School, the Chicago Advertising Federation, The Chicago Network, the North Shore Chapter of the Links, Inc., the American Association of Advertising Agencies – Purple Forum, and the Economic Club of Chicago. She was appointed to the advisory board at Turner Patterson, LLC. In addition, she co-chaired the advertising book benefit for the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools.

Ferguson has received numerous awards, including the “Advertising Working Mother of the Year, Trailblazer Mom” award from Working Mother magazine, and the Target Market News “Advertising Executive of the Year MAAX” award. She was also recognized the “Most Influential Woman” award from the Women’s Leadership Federation; the “Outstanding Women in Marketing Communications” award from Ebony magazine; and the “Advertising Woman of the Year Award” from The Women’s Advertising Club of Chicago and the Chicago Advertising Federation.

Fay Ferguson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 27, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.247

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/27/2013

Last Name

Ferguson

Maker Category
Schools

St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Grade School

Central Junior High School

La Porte High School

Concordia College

Indiana University

First Name

Fay

Birth City, State, Country

La Porte

HM ID

FER04

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Rancho Mirage, Palm Springs, California

Favorite Quote

If You Don't Have Anything Positive To Say, Keep Quiet.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/6/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Cake (Chocolate)

Short Description

Advertising chief executive Fay Ferguson (1951 - ) served as an account executive with the Leo Burnett Company and went on to become co-chief executive officer of Burrell Communications Group.

Employment

Burrell Communications Group

Lee King & Partners/Bozell & Jacobs

Leo Burnett Company, Inc.

Michigan City Elston Junior High School

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636360">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Fay Ferguson's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636361">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Fay Ferguson lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636362">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Fay Ferguson describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636363">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Fay Ferguson talks about her maternal grandfather's adoption</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636364">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Fay Ferguson describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636365">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Fay Ferguson describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636366">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Fay Ferguson remembers St. John's Lutheran School in La Porte, Indiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636367">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Fay Ferguson recalls her experiences at the majority-white St. John's Lutheran School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636368">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Fay Ferguson lists her siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636369">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Fay Ferguson talks about her early interest in athletics</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636370">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Fay Ferguson talks about her parents' divorce</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636371">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Fay Ferguson talks about the role of religion in her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636372">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Fay Ferguson remembers Sunday afternoons after church</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636373">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Fay Ferguson describes her community in La Porte, Indiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636374">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Fay Ferguson recalls her transition to public schooling</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636375">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Fay Ferguson remembers LaPorte High School in La Porte, Indiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636376">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Fay Ferguson remembers enrolling at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636377">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Fay Ferguson talks about the development of her racial identity</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636378">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Fay Ferguson remembers teaching at Elston Middle School in Michigan City, Indiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636379">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Fay Ferguson talks about her experiences as a teacher</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636380">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Fay Ferguson recalls the Indiana University School of Business in Bloomington, Indiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636381">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Fay Ferguson recalls her transition to the marketing industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636382">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Fay Ferguson remembers joining the Leo Burnett Company Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636383">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Fay Ferguson describes her responsibilities at the Leo Burnett Company Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636384">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Fay Ferguson remembers her first marketing presentation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636385">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Fay Ferguson talks about the advertising industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636386">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Fay Ferguson remembers her transition to Bozell and Jacobs, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636387">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Fay Ferguson describes the account executive's role at an advertising shoot</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636388">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Fay Ferguson recalls being recruited by Thomas J. Burrell</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636389">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Fay Ferguson remembers Thomas J. Burrell</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636390">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Fay Ferguson talks about marketing to the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636391">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Fay Ferguson remembers her clients at the Burrell Communications Group</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636392">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Fay Ferguson talks about the growth of the Burrell Communications Group</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636393">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Fay Ferguson describes her role as the director of client services at the Burrell Communications Group</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636394">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Fay Ferguson talks about the work environment at the Burrell Communications Group</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636395">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Fay Ferguson remembers Thomas J. Burrell's retirement from the Burrell Communications Group</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636396">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Fay Ferguson recalls becoming co-CEO of the Burrell Communications Group</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636397">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Fay Ferguson talks about her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636398">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Fay Ferguson talks about marketing to the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636399">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Fay Ferguson talks about black women in executive positions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636400">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Fay Ferguson talks about the downfall of prominent advertising agencies</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636401">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Fay Ferguson talks about digital marketing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636402">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Fay Ferguson describes the structure of the Burrell Communications Group</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636403">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Fay Ferguson reflects upon the marketing industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636404">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Fay Ferguson reflects on her legacy at the Burrell Communications Group</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636405">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Fay Ferguson reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636406">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Fay Ferguson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636407">Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Fay Ferguson talks about the importance of healthy living</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

1$5

DATitle
Fay Ferguson recalls her transition to the marketing industry
Fay Ferguson describes her role as the director of client services at the Burrell Communications Group
Transcript
Well, you know, let's kind of touch, touch base a little bit on Xerox [Xerox Corporation]. Off camera you just mentioned the environment and I think you mentioned something about it being a--$$It was an all male environment as far as the professional careers and there were female secretaries, but in terms of any managers they were all white men and Xerox was a household name and so I was very gratified to be able to get an internship with them and to be able to I thought, contribute, who knows what interns are actually are able to do, but they gave me real world assignments as opposed to just make work, so that, that was really great. I had my own little apartment. It was, it was, it was wonderful.$$How as Rochester [New York] overall?$$Rochester, nothing to it (laughter).$$But it was nice to have your own place, have enough cash?$$Yes and could, could walk to work so it, it was, it was all very good.$$That was a summer internship?$$Yes.$$Okay, thank you, so let's go to Leo Burnett [Leo Burnett Company Inc.]. What was the woman's name again, Judy--?$$Carol Singer.$$Carol Singer, I'm sorry, I don't know where Judy came from, Carol Singer. How did you end up getting a position with Leo Burnett, I mean she came recruited, how, how did you get the job?$$And so then once Carol went back to the headquarters in Chicago [Illinois] at Burnett, obviously they get together and talk about all the different candidates that they've seen and then you're invited up for an interview and so I came up to Chicago to interview with a number of individuals and then I was invited back again for another follow up interview and then made a job offer.$$Okay, and time wise, this is when about, late '70s [1970s] or so?$$Yes, '78 [1978].$$Thanks and you got an offer to, to join Leo Burnett as, in what capacity? What was your position?$$Trainee (laughter). Back in those days we lovingly called the entrance level position as working in the pit, and that's because you went, when you went to work it was dark, when you left work it was dark and you were amongst your peers learning the ropes. You, you were put into different positions, whether it was research, spot buying, writing so that you learned a little bit about every discipline within advertising, which was really quite great because many companies don't do that now because they've become specialists, but I, I was able to be exposed to virtually every position and that's helped me as I worked my way up the ladder so to speak. My first assignment was on Kelloggs [Kellogg Company] and after I left the pit (laughter) and there I had ninety spot TV markets that I analyzed and purchased media for and then after that I went into account management on the Pillsbury account [Pillsbury Company, LLC] where you get into more of the strategic arm, of, of marketing.$Before we get to the 2000s, so you're, you're, you're moving up the, the ladder very nicely, senior vice president in the early 1990s, executive vice president. What was your role within the agency [Burrell Communications Group, Chicago, Illinois] and with the clients at those kinds of levels? What was that like?$$I was actually the director of client services, so I was over all of the accounts in the agency, but being a small agency--so I've gone from large to midsize to small, my job was not--I didn't, I had direct accounts that I worked on, but then I had accounts that I may not be directly involved with, but I was also charged with mentoring and nurturing the account directors to help them grow in their roles and also took on more of a role in terms of financial accountability and profitably for the agency, again the numbers are important on the agency side as well (laughter).$$Absolutely, absolutely, and you had some major clients, beside McDonald's [McDonald's Corporation] you had Exxon Mobil [Exxon Mobil Corporation], Sears [Sears, Roebuck and Co.], Kellogg [Kellogg Company], Coca-Cola [The Coca-Cola Company], Nation- Nationwide Insurance group [Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company], P and G [Procter and Gamble Company], did you, were you accountable with client services that if something is going awry you, you have to step in?$$Yes, yes, yes and in fact--$$Not that it ever did.$$(Laughter) No we all have our challenges.$$You have your challenges, thank you.$$So in fact, there was a point and time when the McDonald's account was going through a number of issues and I was not working day to day on the account at the time and so Tom [HistoryMaker Thomas J. Burrell] tapped me on my shoulder and said, "Hey, we need you over here." (Laughter) And I was like, "Oh god, no." (Laughter) Because it was interesting that the McDonald's folks were always busy, they're always running around, it was--I said, "I don't get that. What's going on?" (Laughter) I soon found out, it's a retail account, so it was one of the agency's busiest accounts because we were literally doing every month what it took most of the other accounts six months to a year to do, so we were in production every month of the year, which, and we were at client meetings all the time, so it was a totally different environment and it was, it was fascinating in a very different way. I never thought that I could go from a slow, steady, steady pace on a packaged goods client, like a Procter or a General Mills [General Mills Inc.] to a McDonald's, but once I was there it took about, you know, a little bit, six months before I accepted it (laughter), but once I was there I was like wow, this is really what it's about and I, I don't know that I could ever go back, that, that pace, that energy, that excitement, it's, there's, there's exhilaration, there's nothing like it.

Sheila Talton

Corporate executive Sheila G. Talton was born on October 12, 1952 in Cleveland, Ohio. As a teenager, she became involved in the civil rights movement in Rockford, Illinois. Talton went on to graduate from Northern Illinois University with her B.S. degree in business administration and speech communications in 1980

Upon graduation, Talton was hired as a sales trainee at NCR Corporation. She became head of Midwest sales for Data Group Systems in Chicago in 1982, moving on to a position as team leader in the sales department of Applied Data Research (ADR) in 1984. Taking advantage of a void left by the breakup of AT&T, Talton founded Unisource Network Services, a provider of voice, data and video networking consultation and support services, in 1987. In 1996, while still leading Unisource, she helped establish the Information Technology Senior Management Forum, a mentoring group that cultivates executive talent among African American IT professionals. Talton sold her stake in Unisource in 2000, and was hired as the vice president of Cap Gemini, Ernst & Young’s Midwest technology consulting practice. In 2002, she was named president of global business innovation services for Electronic Data Systems (EDS). Talton was hired by the computer networking company Cisco Systems Inc. in 2004 where she became vice president of advisory services in the Customer Advocacy Group. She was promoted to a role as vice president of Cisco’s Office of Globalization in 2008 and helped the company identify growth opportunities in emerging markets around the world. She left Cisco in 2012 to found the consulting firm SGT, Ltd. In 2013, Talton established Gray Matter Analytics, Inc., a business providing consulting services and cloud hosting service for analytics.

Talton has served as a member of the board of directors of the ACCO Brands Corporation, the Wintrust Financial Corporation, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Foundation, the Lighthouse for the Blind, and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her honors include selection as a Congressional appointee on the US White House Women’s Business Council, as one of the “Top 10 Women in Technology” by Enterprising Women, and as “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the National Federation of Black Women Business Owners. She is also a recipient of the “Entrepreneurial Excellence Award” from Working Woman magazine and a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award. She was named a 2007 “Woman Worth Watching” by Profiles in Diversity Journal, received a 2008 Egretha Award from the African American Women’s Business and Career Conference, and was named a 2009 Business Leader of Color by Chicago United. In 2010 she was honored as a Woman of Achievement by the Anti-Defamation League, and as the Outstanding College Alumni of the Year by the Business School of Northern Illinois University. In 2011 she was named one of “25 Influential Black Women in Business” by The Network Journal and received the “Diamond Leadership Award” from the Information Technology Senior Management Forum.

Sheila G. Talton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 23, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.216

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/23/2013

Last Name

Talton

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Gayle

Schools

Harvard Business School

Northern Illinois University

West High School

Rock Valley College

Roosevelt-Perry Elementary School

Franklin School

First Name

Sheila

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

TAL01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Vail, Colorado

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

10/12/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Vegetables

Short Description

Corporate executive Sheila Talton (1952 - ) had extensive global operations experience as a business leader and entrepreneur in the information technology industry. She founded Gray Matter Analytics in 2013.

Employment

Gray Matter Analytics, Inc.

Sterling Partners

Sgt, LTD. (Sheila Talton, LTD.)

CISCO Systems

EDS

CAP Gemini Ernst & Young

Unisource Network Services

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:1408,41:2368,65:3776,104:4288,114:14436,254:14684,259:15242,270:16110,290:17288,315:17660,322:17908,327:18466,337:19396,361:20202,377:20450,382:25129,424:34316,524:34564,529:34812,539:35060,544:37335,559:37860,565:38700,576:43364,599:46580,673:46982,680:47451,688:53848,793:65801,942:66206,948:68814,971:69402,978:69794,983:72984,1000:74010,1018:74442,1028:75036,1041:80358,1094:80939,1103:81769,1114:84176,1153:85006,1168:89268,1198:90128,1205:90816,1214:91418,1222:91762,1227:92192,1233:92536,1238:93310,1248:100019,1329:100383,1334:100747,1339:103650,1411:109752,1459:112064,1505:112336,1510:112948,1522:113288,1528:121971,1629:128060,1663:128448,1668:129030,1676:134508,1758:134910,1768:135848,1792:144490,1893:156948,1984:161040,2022:161680,2032:163290,2041:163898,2050:165190,2083:172410,2184:173488,2201:181386,2312:184410,2416:185970,2426$0,0:27542,75:28018,80:31350,116:39069,157:39504,163:58102,308:58708,316:63270,364:76926,524:77664,536:80134,552:86875,629:87215,634:87810,642:98514,732:103844,822:107105,836:109270,850:109985,864:110245,869:113880,905:114810,918:117946,936:119206,959:119710,968:120298,976:125312,1045:135348,1188:136076,1197:138748,1237:140856,1311:144862,1358:151595,1491:151855,1496:152245,1503:152570,1509:155854,1539:156253,1548:169940,1788:185360,1968:186140,1975:190890,2009:193378,2036:213020,2166:215380,2172:218250,2268:226000,2320:226360,2326:231540,2581:270180,2993:271800,3027:272250,3034:272700,3040:284610,3180
DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651583">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sheila Talton's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651584">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sheila Talton lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651585">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sheila Talton describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651586">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sheila Talton describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651587">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sheila Talton describes her mother's personality and education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651588">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sheila Talton talks about her father's personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651589">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sheila Talton lists her father's siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651590">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sheila Talton remembers her parents' divorce</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651591">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sheila Talton describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651592">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sheila Talton recalls living in Louisville, Kentucky</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651593">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Sheila Talton remembers Perry Elementary School in Louisville, Kentucky</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651594">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Sheila Talton describes her home life in Louisville, Kentucky, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651595">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Sheila Talton describes her home life in Louisville, Kentucky, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651596">Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Sheila Talton remembers the holidays</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651597">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sheila Talton describes her family life in Cleveland, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651598">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sheila Talton describes the Hough neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651599">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sheila Talton recalls visits from her father after her parents' divorce</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651600">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sheila Talton remembers moving to Rockford, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651601">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sheila Talton remembers the Franklin School in Rockford, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651602">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sheila Talton remembers her parents' relationship</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651603">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sheila Talton talks about the African American community in Rockford, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651604">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sheila Talton remembers reconnecting with her father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651605">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sheila Talton recalls her involvement in the Black Power movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651606">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sheila Talton remembers her teenage years</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651607">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sheila Talton describes her experiences at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651608">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sheila Talton talks about the Black Panther Party in Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651609">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sheila Talton recalls her decision to attend Northern Illinois University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651610">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sheila Talton remembers leaving Northern Illinois University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651611">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sheila Talton remembers entering the secretarial workforce</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651612">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sheila Talton recalls her return to Northern Illinois University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651613">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sheila Talton remembers studying business administration at Northern Illinois University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651614">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sheila Talton describes her motivation for completing her college education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651615">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sheila Talton remembers joining the NCR Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651616">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sheila Talton recalls her decision to leave the NCR Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651617">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sheila Talton talks about her technological aptitude and training</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651618">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sheila Talton describes her salesmanship skills</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651619">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sheila Talton remembers her role at Data Group Systems</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651620">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sheila Talton remembers working for Applied Data Research</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651621">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sheila Talton remembers her prejudiced manager at Applied Data Research</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651622">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sheila Talton remembers founding Unisource Network Services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651623">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sheila Talton describes what she learned at Applied Data Research</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651624">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sheila Talton remembers her divorce</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651625">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sheila Talton talks about her daughter</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651626">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sheila Talton remembers running Unisource Network Services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651627">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sheila Talton remembers leaving Unisource Network Services</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651628">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sheila Talton describes her role at Ernst and Young</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651629">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sheila Talton remembers working at Ernst and Young</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651630">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Sheila Talton describes her civic involvement in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651631">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Sheila Talton recalls her transition from Capgemini SE to Electronic Data Systems</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651632">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Sheila Talton talks about the importance of community service</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651633">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Sheila Talton talks about her role as a mentor</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651634">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Sheila Talton remembers her second marriage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651635">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Sheila Talton remembers being hired at Cisco Systems, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651636">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Sheila Talton recalls working for Cisco Systems, Inc. in China</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651637">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Sheila Talton talks about challenges for African Americans in Silicon Valley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651638">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Sheila Talton remembers working for Cisco Systems, Inc. in Mexico</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651639">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Sheila Talton remembers working for Cisco Systems, Inc. in Brazil and Chile</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651640">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Sheila Talton talks about her interest in big data</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651641">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Sheila Talton remembers founding Gray Matter Analytics</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651642">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Sheila Talton describes the workplace culture at Sterling Partners</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651643">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Sheila Talton describes her business plan for Gray Matter Analytics</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651644">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Sheila Talton describes her hopes for Gray Matter Analytics</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651645">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Sheila Talton reflects upon her values</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651646">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Sheila Talton shares her advice to young people</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651647">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Sheila Talton reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651648">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Sheila Talton reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651649">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Sheila Talton talks about her plans for the future</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651650">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Sheila Talton reflects upon her parents' lessons</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/651651">Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Sheila Talton narrates her photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$3

DAStory

9$7

DATitle
Sheila Talton remembers founding Gray Matter Analytics
Sheila Talton recalls her return to Northern Illinois University
Transcript
And when I went back out there I started looking around, who was investing in all the big data and then where the money was going, and it was pretty much going all in software; and I thought to myself, hm, that's probably not a good thing 'cause I think that there's an opportunity for the services piece, which is really more important because it's having the people that can read what the data's telling them. I ended up landing at a private equity firm here [Sterling Partners] that had not done a lot in technology but they said that they wanted to, and quite frankly, I believe because of the discrimination in those firms, I didn't have a lot of options. I mean, I wasn't getting firms, "Oh, yeah, Sheila [HistoryMaker Sheila Talton], come on in, come on in," but there was an African American principal at this firm and he wanted me to come into this firm. So I did. I joined the firm as, what they call an executive in residence, which means that, you're not making much money but you're looking to invest where you might end up running the new entity that they invested in. So, I wrote an investment thesis, spent about eight months doing that and I was becoming very, very bored and then I probably brought them about four different deals. They didn't like any of them.$$Right.$$And I went back out to California this past March and met with some old Cisco [Cisco Systems, Inc.] colleagues, met with some venture funds and told them all about this investment thesis I wrote and how I know that this is the sweet spot in big data, where there's a void. Consistently, I got asked, "So why aren't you launching the company?" I said, I don't know. Came back to Chicago [Illinois], thought about that, went skiing out in Vail [Colorado] with a couple of friends, talked to them about my investment thesis and they said, "So why aren't you launching it?" And I said, you know, I think I will. So, I came back to Chicago and started Gray Matter Analytics and we're nine people now, office in Silicon Valley, office in Chicago, thinking about whether we need one on the East Coast because right now our biggest customer is out there on the East Coast.$$Okay.$$I sit on a couple of public company boards and still on the Northwestern Memorial Hospital [Chicago, Illinois] board, Chicago Urban League board and the Shakespeare Theatre [Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago, Illinois] board, so I've got a full life.$Then in, let's see, 1975, 1975, I met my husband--maybe '74 [1974]. And we were married and he was a machinist at a factory in Belvidere, Illinois and I was still working at the printing place, and then I became pregnant and I had my daughter. And when I had my daughter, life changed for me. I did not go back to work at the printing place, I went to work at a place called Allis-Chalmers [Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company], they manufactured forklifts and I was a clerk there. And my daughter was young, a baby, and there was a salesman there, first name Greg [ph.], I cannot think of his last name, white guy, and I had been working there for about, say maybe a year or so, and he says to me one day, he says, "Why are you working here?" And me being as militant as I am, I'm thinking, and why are you asking me that? And he said, "You're capable of so much more, why is it that you're a clerk here at this showroom?" And I said, "Well, I have to work, my husband works, we have a daughter." And he says, "Well, why didn't you go to college?" I said, "Oh, I did." I said, "That didn't work so well." He says, "What do you mean?" And I said, "Oh, I partied a lot, I was on academic probation." He says, "Why don't you go back?" I said, "Well they're not going to take me back." He says, "They would take you back." And I said, "What do you mean they would take me back?" He says, "Well, if you would go to a junior college and you take calculus and quantitative analysis, some really tough classes and ace those, they'd take you back at Northern [Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois]." And I said, (makes sound), I said, "Well, you know, I've never been really good at math." He says, "Well, I'll tutor you." So I took his advice. I went and enrolled in classes at Rock Valley junior college [Rock Valley College, Rockford, Illinois] and he kept his word. I would go to his house, his wife and he, and he would tutor me. I ended up taking about, I don't know, twelve hours there and then I reapplied back at Northern. I had a young child at this time. They accepted me back. I quit that job. I got a loan and a scholarship, a grant from Sundstrand [Sundstrand Corporation; UTC Aerospace Systems], it was one of them where I had worked as a secretary, and I was on the dean's list every semester.$$Can we hold that for a minute 'cause you're, you're going to where I'm going to be in a few minutes, but let's back up just a hair. You ended up getting married in 1970--$$I think we got married, my daughter was born in '77 [1977], so we must have got married maybe in '74 [1974], '75 [1975].$$Okay, and your husband's name?$$Henry [Henry Talton].$$Henry, thank you, and your daughter's name?$$Shannel [Shannel Talton].$$Shannel, thank you. These are important details, I want to make sure I get them.$$Ex-husband.$$Ex-husband, okay, no, I can deal with then-husband, later on, ex-husband. And this salesman, I'm sorry, what was his name?$$Greg was his first name. I wish I, I actually wish I could find him, but Greg was his first name.$$All right, and he just, so he took you under, under his wing (unclear)?$$Right.$$He's white?$$Um-hm.

Chris Simmons

Corporate executive Christopher Simmons was born on August 15, 1957 and raised in Shelby, Tennessee. His mother Dorothy Anderson was a homemaker and his father Joseph Simmons was a school principal and a minister. He is the third of six children. Simmons attended Hamilton High School where he graduated at the top of his class. He obtained his B.A. degree in economics from Harvard University in 1979. Upon graduation, Simmons began his career at IBM; he then left IBM to take a position at Wang Laboratories where he worked as a senior marketing analyst. In 1986, he earned his M.B.A degree from Harvard School of Business. That same year, he then joined the Bankers Trust Company as an associate. While there, he was responsible for analysis and structuring of large leveraged buyout finances and other transactions.

In 1992, Simmons joined PricewaterhouseCoopers as senior manager, managing mergers and acquisitions with transaction services. In 1998, he managed PwC’s internal merger and acquisitions group. In 2001, Simmons was promoted to managing partner of PwC’s Washington, D.C. Metro area office. In 2004, he was asked by the chairman to serve as Chief Diversity Officer. He also served as chair of the Partner Admission Committee, and as a member of the Human Capital Leadership Team and the Management Evaluation and Compensation Committee. In 2009, he was elected to the firm’s United States Board of Partners & Principals.

Simmons served as PwC’s charitable foundation board president, where he was responsible for PwC’s $750,000 commitment to Feeding America. In 2011, Simmons was honored with the Corporate Community Investment Award, for his involvement in youth mentoring and assisting those in need. His involvement has included the Economic Club of Washington as Chair of the Membership Committee, and the Executive Leadership Council as a board member. He has served as secretary and executive board member of the Association of Latino professionals in Finance and Accounting and is a part of the Federal City Council.

Christopher Simmons was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 7, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.123

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/7/2012

Last Name

Simmons

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Harvard University

Harvard Business School

Corry Middle School

Hamilton High School

Hillcrest High School

First Name

Chris

Birth City, State, Country

Shelby County

HM ID

SIM10

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Vietnam

Favorite Quote

Most People Are Other People. Their Thoughts Are Someone Else's Opinions, Their Lives A Mimicry, Their Passions A Quotation.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/15/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Corporate executive Chris Simmons (1957 - ) was a pioneer of diversity recruitment and development in corporate environments.

Employment

IBM

Wang Laboratories

Bankers Trust Company

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636408">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Chris Simmons' interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636409">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Chris Simmons lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636410">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Chris Simmons describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636411">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Chris Simmons recalls life lessons from his father</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636412">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Chris Simmons remembers his father lessons about kindness</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636413">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Chris Simmons recalls his father's promotion to principal of Capeville High School in Shelby County, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636414">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Chris Simmons describes his father's personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636415">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Chris Simmons talks about his father's career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636416">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Chris Simmons describes his mother's personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636417">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Chris Simmons talks about his mother's upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636418">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Chris Simmons recalls his parents' early relationship</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636419">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Chris Simmons lists his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636420">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Chris Simmons describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636421">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Chris Simmons talks about the Prospect Park neighborhood of Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636422">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Chris Simmons recalls his early childhood influences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636423">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Chris Simmons describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636424">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Chris Simmons talks about his mother's involvement in the Parent Teachers Association</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636425">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Chris Simmons remembers childhood chores</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636426">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Chris Simmons describes the discipline of his parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636427">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Chris Simmons talks about celebrating Christmas as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636428">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Chris Simmons recalls his early religious experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636429">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Chris Simmons remembers his maternal grandparents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636430">Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Chris Simmons describes his maternal uncle's civil rights activism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636431">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Chris Simmons describes his family's discussions about the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636432">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Chris Simmons talks about his reading skills as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636433">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Chris Simmons recalls his experiences with bullies</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636434">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Chris Simmons remembers excelling as a math student</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636435">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Chris Simmons recalls transferring to Hillcrest High School in Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636436">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Chris Simmons talks about facing discrimination at Hillcrest High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636437">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Chris Simmons recalls his experiences at Hillcrest High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636438">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Chris Simmons remembers returning to Hamilton High School in Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636439">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Chris Simmons describes the influence of Hillcrest High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636440">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Chris Simmons talks about the effects of school busing in Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636441">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Chris Simmons recalls the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636442">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Chris Simmons talks about racism in Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636443">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Chris Simmons describes his early college aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636444">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Chris Simmons remembers his college application process</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636445">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Chris Simmons describes his first impression of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636446">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Chris Simmons talks about his admission interview for Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636447">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Chris Simmons remembers his roommates at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636448">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Chris Simmons describes his experiences at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636449">Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Chris Simmons recalls his election to co-president of Currier House at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636450">Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Chris Simmons talks about his summer jobs as a student at Harvard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636451">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Chris Simmons describes his social circle at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636452">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Chris Simmons talks about the decision to apply to Harvard Business School in Cambridge, Massachusetts</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636453">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Chris Simmons recalls his admission to Harvard Business School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636454">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Chris Simmons remembers attaining a position at International Business Machines Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636455">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Chris Simmons describes his training at International Business Machines Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636456">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Chris Simmons talks about his experiences at Harvard Business School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636457">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Chris Simmons recalls taking a deferment from Harvard Business School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636458">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Chris Simmons remembers his job prospects after graduating from Harvard Business School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636459">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Chris Simmons describes his mentors at Harvard Business School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636460">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Chris Simmons talks about securing his position with Bank Trust in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636461">Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Chris Simmons recalls his family's reactions to career path</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636462">Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Chris Simmons remembers his early experiences at Bankers Trust</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636463">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Chris Simmons describes his working relationship with James D. Zielinski</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636464">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Chris Simmons talks about the fall of the junk bond market</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636465">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Chris Simmons recalls working with Interface Flooring Systems, Inc. as a client</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636466">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Chris Simmons remembers the closing of the Bankers Trust office in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636467">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Chris Simmons describes his challenges at Bank Trust</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636468">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Chris Simmons talks about his role at Price Waterhouse in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636469">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Chris Simmons recalls Raymond J. McGuire's mentorship</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636470">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Chris Simmons remembers J. Larry Stevens</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636471">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Chris Simmons describes Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636472">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Chris Simmons describes the corporate finance consulting group at Price Waterhouse</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636473">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Chris Simmons talks about the mentorship of Willard W. "Woody" Brittain, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636474">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Chris Simmons recalls a challenging project at Price Waterhouse</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636475">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Chris Simmons remembers Williard W. "Woody" Brittain, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636476">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Chris Simmons describes his promotion to chief diversity officer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636477">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Chris Simmons talks about his role as chief diversity officer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636478">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Chris Simmons recalls his team as chief diversity officer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636479">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Chris Simmons remembers the history of diversity practices at PricewaterhouseCoopers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636480">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Chris Simmons recalls campaigning for board membership at PricewaterhouseCoopers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636481">Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Chris Simmons talks about his role on the PricewaterhouseCoopers corporate board</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636482">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Chris Simmons reflects upon his career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636483">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Chris Simmons shares his future plans</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636484">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Chris Simmons talks about his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636485">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Chris Simmons reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636486">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Chris Simmons describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/636487">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Chris Simmons reflects upon his legacy</a>

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Chris Simmons talks about his role on the PricewaterhouseCoopers corporate board
Slating of Chris Simmons' interview
Transcript
So what is your role there on the board? What does the board do, and what are the issues?$$Well, I'm on several committees; I chair the partner admissions committee, so I make sure that the process by which we admit partners is fair and--both internally and externally. When we admit partners directly and from other firms it's actually even smaller group of us--five--who vote on those, so I chair that committee. I'm also on the Management Evaluation and Compensation Committee, which is composed of the chairs of each of the other committees, and we're the ones who determine the CEO's pay, and we evaluate the CEO and his top leadership's performance, and then we handle, you know, very sensitive issues. And then finally, as a general board member we, you know, vote on major transactions the company [PricewaterhouseCoopers] might entertain doing--changes in direction, regulatory strategy--things like that, depending on, you know, the severity and importance of them.$$Okay.$$And I do regular sessions with the partners, so I'll fly down to Miami [Florida], go to Charlotte [North Carolina], and explain to groups of partners sort of what's going on in the firm, and hear their input, and then bake their input into what we discuss at the board level with leadership.$My name is Julieanna Richardson and I'm the interviewer, and Matthew Hickey is the videographer, and observing today are Marta Grabowski, G-A-R- G-R-A-B-O-W-S-K-I and Shelby Clemons. And I'd like to have you start off by stating your name and spelling it for us--your full name.$$And spelling it?$$Yes.$$I'm Joseph Christopher Simmons, known as [HistoryMaker] Chris Simmons; it's J-O-S-E-P-H, C-H-R-I-S-T-O-P-H-E-R, S-I-M-M-O-N-S.$$And can we have today's date?$$Today's date is May 7, 2012.$$Your date of birth?$$August 15, 1957.$$And our location?$$We're in Chicago [Illinois].$$At The HistoryMakers.$$At The HistoryMakers.$$And I'd like to have your occupation.$$My occupation is professional services accounting firm business executive.$$But if you--if you had one word to describe what you do, what would you describe yourself as?$$I lead (laughter). You want a normal word?$$Yes (laughter), okay.$$You want a title or you (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) A title (unclear).$$You want a title. Okay. Well, I'm the managing partner for PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Washington [D.C.] metro region, and I'm also the chairman of the partner admissions committee at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and I'm also the president of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Charitable Foundation [PricewaterhouseCoopers Charitable Foundation, Inc.].