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Sheila Robinson

Marketing chief executive and publisher Sheila A. Robinson was born on September 20, 1961 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She graduated from Parkland Senior High School in Winston-Salem in 1979, and went on to receive her B.A. degree in pre-law/political science from North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina in 1986. Robinson later received her Masters of Entrepreneurship (M.S.E.) degree from Western Carolina University in 2011, as well as a Chief Learning Officer Certificate from the University of Pennsylvania in 2013. In 2012, she entered the Chief Learning Officer Ed.D. program at the University of Pennsylvania. She has also completed Stanford University’s Professional Publishing Program.

From 1987 to 1989, Robinson worked for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company as a market research assistant. In 1990, she was hired by DuPont, where she went on to serve as a marketing director with the company’s apparel division. When her division at DuPont was sold in 2004, Robinson established Robinson & Associates Communications, LLC and became founder and publisher of North Carolina Career Network magazine. In 2007, Robinson expanded Career Network nationally and launched Diversity Woman magazine, where she served as chief executive officer and publisher. Robinson also hosted the Diversity Women's Business Conference and founded Iamaleader.org, the nonprofit extension of Diversity Woman in 2012.

In 2009, Robinson was honored with a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Image Award for her career achievements and for being a positive role model for young women. She was named in 2009 as one of the Top 50 Women in Magazine Publishing by Publishing Executive. Robinson was also the keynote speaker at the 2008 wives luncheon at the NFL Pro Bowl, and was honored as the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce Minority Business Person of the Year in 2011. Her Diversity Woman magazine was nominated for The 2011 North Carolina Small Business of The Year.

Robinson is a member of the National Association for Female Executives and the National Association for Women Business Owners, and serves on the boards of Women in Periodical Publishing and Business and Professional Women. She is the author of Lead By Example: An Insiders Look at How to Successfully Lead in Corporate America and Entrepreneurship, which was published in 2014.

Sheila Robinson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 15, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.180

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/15/2014

Last Name

Robinson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Annette

Schools

Parkland Sr. High

Hill High

Griffith Elementary

Diggs Elementary

Mineral Springs Elementary

North Carolina Central University

Western Carolina University

University of Pennsylvania

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Sheila

Birth City, State, Country

Winston-Salem

HM ID

ROB27

Favorite Season

Fall

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Near The Ocean

Favorite Quote

What Someone Else Says Or Does, Is A Reflection Of Who They Are And What You Say Or Do, Is A Reflection Of Who You Are.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

North Carolina

Birth Date

9/20/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Burlington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Marketing chief executive and publisher Sheila Robinson (1961 - ) was the founder, publisher and CEO of Diversity Woman magazine and author of the book Lead By Example: An Insiders Look at How to Successfully Lead in Corporate America and Entrepreneurship.

Employment

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

DuPont Company

Robinson & Associates Communications, LLC

North Carolina Career Network Magazine

Diversity Woman Magazine

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Sheila Robinson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Sheila Robinson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Sheila Robinson describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Sheila Robinson describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Sheila Robinson talks about how her parents met and their personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Sheila Robinson lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Sheila Robinson describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Sheila Robinson remembers her neighborhood in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Sheila Robinson recalls Jefferson Davis Diggs Elementary School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Sheila Robinson describes the sights and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Sheila Robinson remembers her favorite elementary school teachers, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Sheila Robinson remembers her favorite elementary school teachers, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Sheila Robinson lists the high schools she attended

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Sheila Robinson describes her early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Sheila Robinson remembers joining her high school cheerleading team

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Sheila Robinson recalls facing discrimination on the cheerleading team, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Sheila Robinson recalls facing discrimination on the cheerleading team, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Sheila Robinson describes her social activities at Parkland Senior High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Sheila Robinson remembers her early career aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Sheila Robinson recalls attending North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Sheila Robinson describes her first impressions of North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Sheila Robinson recalls her experiences at North Carolina Central University

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Sheila Robinson remembers her early work experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Sheila Robinson talks about the decline of the tobacco industry

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Sheila Robinson recalls her transition to the textile industry

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Sheila Robinson talks about her work with E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Sheila Robinson remembers her challenges at E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Sheila Robinson recalls her transition to the marketing department of DuPont Textiles and Interiors

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Sheila Robinson describes her experiences as marketing assistant at DuPont Textiles and Interiors

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Sheila Robinson recalls leaving E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Sheila Robinson talks about the highlights of her career at E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Sheila Robinson remembers her mentors and opportunities at E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Sheila Robinson recalls founding the North Carolina Career Network magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Sheila Robinson remembers rebranding her magazine as Diversity Woman

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Sheila Robinson describes the mission of Diversity Woman magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Sheila Robinson talks about the success of Diversity Woman magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Sheila Robinson recalls founding the I Am A Leader organization

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Sheila Robinson recalls pursuing a doctorate at the Wharton School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Sheila Robinson describes her book, 'Lead By Example'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Sheila Robinson describes her public speaking career

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Sheila Robinson shares her plans for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Sheila Robinson reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Sheila Robinson reflects upon her professional legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Sheila Robinson describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Sheila Robinson talks about her family

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Sheila Robinson describes how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

4$1

DATitle
Sheila Robinson recalls founding the North Carolina Career Network magazine
Sheila Robinson describes her public speaking career
Transcript
Now in 2005, you founded Robinson and Associates Communications, LLC?$$Yes.$$And tell us what that, what you intended to do?$$Well, I, it, it came about, I had never thought I would ever try to have my own business. It came about after numerous rejections. I had an incredible load of experience from DuPont [E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company] and I went out to all of these organizations. I can remember the president of the division I was in, a $6.5 billion industry, was used, as a reference. I had the greatest references, I had fascinating interviews but I was not given an opportunity, particularly in the area that I was living in and the last time that I was told, "You have a boatload of experience and more marketing and brand marketing that we could ever need at this organization but I'm concerned you're not the right fit," you know. I knew then that I was no longer going to go job hunting, that I needed a break, I was going to do something different, I needed to explore. I don't know if I'm going to explore going back to school, explore relocating to another area, explore, you know, just, I had to just stop because the rejection was just more than, two years of rejection, it just seemed like it, I had been out there two years looking for a job because I had started looking in advance when they told us we would be laid off, and I had this vision when I was at DuPont to start a magazine to support women in business. It's sort of like an Essence and a Black Enterprise but for women and then I thought, well, you know, I want to help anyone with their careers because there was something I had always been known for, if someone asked me how to do their resume or practice for an interview and I've always had this love, love affair with magazines and I took my passion for magazine journalism to, and my passion for helping others advance in their careers. I brought it to one and I had designed the template and the idea before I left DuPont and one of my friends told me that I should explore that vision I had for the publication and I told her, you know, there was no way that I had any funding to do that and she said, "Well I didn't tell you to do it, I just told you to explore it," and I did. I, at that time, I thought it was a great shift going on in North Carolina, we were shifting from becoming a tobacco and a textile industry, the two industries I had just gotten laid off from, to a biochemistry, biotechnology and a logistics and I thought, why not come up with a North Carolina career publication and talk about all of these different industries and opportunities that are taking place in my state. And so that's what I was passionate about. I was, I wanted to bring awareness to how our industries had shifted in this area and put it into a magazine and help people that had been laid off, significant layoffs like I had been in the textile and tobacco industry, and help them get jobs in other industries and long story short, North Carolina Career Network was in the market in 2005 and it was just a little small regional publication that got a lot of attention, including being on the newsstands and Borders bookstores [Borders Group, Inc.] and Barnes and Noble bookstores [Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Inc.].$$Okay, okay. So, so did you distribute any in the black churches or the, or any of the other, well, black colleges [historically black colleges and universities (HBCUS)] or--$$No, because it, at that time, it was not a, it was not just for African Americans. It was for anyone in the State of North Carolina, men and women, and so I distributed it at the chamber of commerce [North Carolina Chamber]. I started, I knew from having events at DuPont, how successful I could be if I had an event. So I had an event and I distributed it there because I knew how to create promotional events from my experience there and that was the way I got it out.$Well tell us about your public speaking career.$$Well my public speaking career took off unexpectedly. It actually started at DuPont [E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company], a funny story where I was at a PR [public relations] event and the agency we were working with said, "Sheila [HistoryMaker Sheila Robinson]," and this was an event I was doing with Queen Latifah in front of Bloomingdale [Bloomingdale's] store and E! Entertainment was there and she said, "I have an opportunity to get you on camera," and normally they just want the celebrities and the stars but I know where she was like, "You got a chance to plug Lycra, you know. This is how you do it," and I was like, "Okay." So they put the mic to my phone, to my mouth and all I could see is Queen Latifah, lights, cameras, paparazzi and I freeze. I freeze, and the next day they, my boss, enrolls me in a course for public speaking, ten thousand dollars. They fly me to New York [New York], and I'll tell you how this fascinating career was I had at DuPont and I started doing public speaking, being a spokesperson for the company at DuPont. That's how I had the opportunity to do the on air interview with Sara Blakely of Spanx [Spanx, Inc.], and in, rolled over into entrepreneurship. Schools started asking me to come speak to the students and college students and then as my business grew, organizations have asked me to speak. And so one of the things I learned, when the publishing industry, anyone that is in publishing that, that, that's watching this now or even any consumer will know that this industry, the print industry, has hit a fall and one thing that I learned at Stanford University [Stanford, California] was, if you're going to stay in publishing, then you have to have multiple streams of revenue. So, it was an idea to create an additional arm to my business and at that time, I worked with a very small agency on creating a packet and sending it out and we sent it out to the NFL [National Football League] in New York and I got hired to speak at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii and it was just awesome. I was interviewed, I was hired by the vice president of the NFL, out of New York, and I was the keynote luncheon speaker for the wives doing the Pro Bowl and they had asked me to speak on entrepreneurship and how, at that time, women, entrepreneurship for women was very, very good and I think the league was really wanting to inspire and support any spouse or mate that had access to this disposable income and to put it and invest it in someone, where they could pay off in the future and it was great thinking on their part because so many times you hear about, you know, they blew their money and had, you know, millions of dollars gone down the drain but, you know, they had programs in place to help the players and their spouses invest for the future. So, speaking engagements such as that, as well as corporations that have diversity programs or women's conferences and I continue to do that today.