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H. Mitsy Wilson

Corporate executive H. Mitsy Wilson was born on December 13, 1950 in Georgetown, Guyana. She grew up in New York, where she spent her formative years. Wilson graduated from the College of Mount Saint Vincent with her B.A. degree in sociology and social work.

In 1972, Wilson worked as a commercial coordinator for the New York broadcast station WPIX-TV. In 1973, she was hired as a social worker for the Seamen’s Society for Children and Families. Wilson went on to work for the New York Board of Education as director of counseling and special projects. In 1981, she was hired at New York Airlines, where she worked as both manager of training and consumer relations and manager of consumer affairs and baggage services until 1986. Continental Airlines acquired New York Airlines in 1986 and Wilson was promoted to director of consumer affairs and training.

In 1988, Wilson was hired as manager of management training and diversity at Times-Mirror Cable Television. She was promoted to director of leadership development and diversity at Times-Mirror Company in 1995; and, in 1999, she was named corporate vice president of leadership and organizational development. Then, in 2000, Fox Entertainment Group hired Wilson as senior vice president of diversity development, where she was responsible for development, execution and evaluation of all diversity initiatives. The appointment made her the highest-ranking African American female executive at the company. In 2005, she assumed responsibility for all diversity efforts for News Corporation. In 2011, Wilson became a founding partner of ForAfrica, an international consultancy firm specializing in leadership development solutions.

Wilson has received numerous awards, including the New York Governor’s Award in 1980, the Minorities in Broadcasting’s Phoenix Award in 2003, the 2006 NAACP President’s Award, and the 2010 Corporate Executive of the Year Award from the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. She is the Chairperson of Workplace Hollywood, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing, training and placing a diverse workforce in entertainment, and is a former member of the UCLA Medical Affairs Board, Nielsen Media Research African American Advisory Council, and Howard University School of Communications Board.

Wilson lives with her husband, Greg James, and has two daughters, Meisha and Alia; a stepdaughter, Shermian; and three granddaughters, Sherine, Shermika and Esther.

H. Mitsy Wilson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 20, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.355

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/20/2013

Last Name

Wilson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Common Law

Middle Name

Eloise

Schools

University of California, Los Angeles

Queens College, City University of New York

College of Mount Saint Vincent

St. Nicholas Of Tolentine High School

St. Nicholas of Tolentine Elementary School

P.S. 91- Bronx School

St. Philip's School

First Name

Hazel

Birth City, State, Country

Georgetown

HM ID

WIL70

Favorite Season

Christmas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Costa Rica

Favorite Quote

That's Phenomenal.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/13/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

Guyana

Favorite Food

Roti And Curry Chicken

Short Description

Corporate executive H. Mitsy Wilson (1950 - ) was a founding partner of ForAfrica and worked in diversity management for over twenty-five years. She became the Fox Entertainment Group’s first senior vice president of diversity development in 2000.

Employment

ForAfrica

News Corp. Fox Entertainment

Times Mirror Company

Continental Airlines

New York Airlines

Board of Education

Society of Seaman's Children

Favorite Color

Bright Colors

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of H. Mitsy Wilson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of H. Mitsy Wilson's interview

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

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about her mother's career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about her father's role in her upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her father's immigration to the United States

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers her paternal family's legacy in the sciences

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - H. Mitsy Wilson lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers moving with her family to the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about her early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers her early influences

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls her athletic achievements during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her academic success

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls her favorite television programs

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers her social activities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls her college applications

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her experiences at College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers her professors at College of Mount Saint Vincent

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her social activities at College of Mount Saint Vincent

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about her decision not to attend law school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls her position at WPIX-TV in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers working at the Seamen's Society for Children and Families in Staten Island, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about learning martial arts

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers working at a drug prevention program in Queens, New York, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers working at a drug prevention program in Queens, New York, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her role at New York Air in Queens, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers New York Air's merger with Continental Airlines

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls joining Times Mirror Cable Television, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls the start of her career in diversity development

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her work in management development at the Times Mirror Company

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers her promotion to corporate officer at the Times Mirror Company

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls the Times Mirror Company's hostile takeover by Tribune Media

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers becoming the senior vice president of diversity at Fox Entertainment Group

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls creating the diversity division at Fox Entertainment Group

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about Peter Chernin's support for diversity development

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls developing relationships with the presidents of Fox Entertainment Group

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers creating the diversity advisory board at Fox Entertainment Group

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes the diversity and development staff at Fox Entertainment Group

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her apprenticeship and mentorship programs

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls presenting her accomplishments to Rupert Murdoch

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers receiving the NAACP President's Award

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about her retirement from News Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls the start of her activism in Africa

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers founding ForAfrica

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls meeting with African leaders to develop programs for ForAfrica

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes ForAfrica's early leadership development programs

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers traveling to Africa with Ramsey Jay, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about ForAfrica's international studies program

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about ForAfrica's potential impact on African Americans

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - H. Mitsy Wilson reflects upon her life, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - H. Mitsy Wilson reflects upon her life, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - H. Mitsy Wilson reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her relationship with her second husband

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about her second husband's relationship with her daughters

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes the challenges faced by African Americans in Corporate America

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - H. Mitsy Wilson narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - H. Mitsy Wilson narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

7$8

DATitle
H. Mitsy Wilson recalls her position at WPIX-TV in New York City
H. Mitsy Wilson remembers becoming the senior vice president of diversity at Fox Entertainment Group
Transcript
I have a note here that you worked at WPIX-TV [New York, New York]?$$Yes (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) In--okay.$$(Laughter) Channel 11. I know, like, I did- didn't even know anything then. I, you know, graduated from school [College of Mount Saint Vincent, Riverdale, New York] and went in this for interview. And there was a woman who was heading up commercials at the time. And she needed an assistant, and they were only taking college grads. And she interviewed me and said, "Fine." The wonderful thing about it is--and who is the African American woman that was on Channel 11? Alma, oh, Alma Johnson, I think it was. She actually had a program on Channel 11 ['Black Pride'], and I had a wonderful opportunity to meet her. She kind of mentored me along the way in terms of understanding TV. But I, you know, I started out typing, you know, being an assistant to the head of commercial insertion. And then one day, I looked at the folks that were working and said, "Look, I can do more than this." So I became a commercial inserter. And that was interesting at that point because everything was done by typewriter. So you'd get a show, and they'd say the show is twenty-three minutes. And you'd have to fill the rest with commercials and public service announcements. So they tell you, "Okay, the show starts at eight o'clock, and the first break is at 8:01, 8:07." So then I'm typing in 8:07:00:00 to eight--and if it's ten seconds, fifteen seconds, it's got to be exact. So, and you're doing this by--manually. You know, you're not, there's no program there to help you do it. And I would sit back--and they were kind enough to give me the daytime programs because you couldn't screw up the evenings. If you screwed up the evenings with commercials, you were in trouble. So I got the daytime programs. And on Channel 11, I did kid programs, 'Howdy Doody' ['The Howdy Doody Show'] and all of that, Captain Joe Bolton and, so it wasn't that bad if you, you know, you were blank in those areas. But I will tell you, I used to sit there and watch, and my heart used to pound. Because if it went to black, it meant you messed up, and you didn't, you didn't allow enough time, or you may--had too much time in there. And the next day you'd just have your ops meeting, and, "What happened?" So I did that for a while. I enjoyed it, but my heart wasn't into it. And again, I didn't know what opportunities they had at TV. Had I known, I would have stayed.$So I got a phone call. Bonnie Hill [Bonnie Guiton Hill], who was corporate vice president of com- community and public affairs for Times Mirror [Times Mirror Company], a ver- a wonderful woman--she worked in the Reagan [President Ronald Wilson Reagan] White House and then came to us--called me on the phone and said, "Mitsy [HistoryMaker H. Mitsy Wilson], I just got a phone call from a headhunter. You know, Fox [Fox Entertainment Group] is looking for a head of diversity for their company. They have just signed an MOU, a memorandum of understanding with the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People]. And I think you'd be perfect for the job." And I said, "Fox, the Fox," (laughter)? That was the only thing I could say. "Rupert Murdoch's Fox," (laughter)? And I said, "(Makes sound)." She said, and she was so good. This is where it helps to have mentors and people who can help you move through your journey. The first thing she said to me is, "I hear what you're saying. But before you sit back and say, 'I don't think so,' I think what you need to do is hear them out. Find out what the company's about, find out, find out what they want they want you do to. I think you'd be great at it, anyway." So I said, "Okay, I'll do that." I met with the headhunter and went through a series of interviews. I then went to Fox and had about eight interviews at Fox--legal, the president of this company, president here--I mean I was, I was meeting everyone. And then I finally got a phone call saying that my--I'm a finalist and that I will now meet with the president of Fox, who was Peter Chernin at the time, and I might also be meeting with Rupert Murdoch. And at that point, they said to me, "And if you're not interested, please let us know now. Because I don't, we don't want to put you up for this and then have you go into, you know, the president and you know, the chairman, and say no." So I spent quite a bit of time to looking at, you know, what's this organization about, you know? What are some of the things they're doing, you know? And I had to separate--at that point, Fox Entertainment was its own stand alone company, and it was not connected to News Corp [News Corporation; News Corp]. So Peter ran Fox Entertainment as their chairman. And then Rupert ran News Corp. Peter was the CEO of News Corp, but they were stand alone units. So I sat back and I said to myself, "If it's Fox, I can do it." You know, and I looked at what the memorandum of understanding was asking for, and it's everything I've done in my career. So I felt comfortable with that. Now it was just a matter of going in and meeting with Peter Chernin and see do we agree? How is this going to work? I went in, met with him, had a wonderful interview, wonderful meeting with him. I was so impressed with him, and I think part of it is because he was a New Yorker (laughter). So you've got to understand, you know, the New York [New York] mentality. But he sold me on the job. Gail Berman, who I reported to when I got there--a go getter, definitely another New Yorker, who saw things outside of the box. You could tell she was committed to diversity in some of the work she'd done before she came to Fox. But Peter was the one that sold me on that, on, on the position. So I took the position as senior vice president of diversity and development.