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Barbara Heineback

Barbara Heineback was born in New York City on December 29, 1944; she went on to make history by becoming the first African American woman to serve as a press officer to a First Lady.

Heineback attended Howard University where she received her B.A. degree in journalism from the school of communications. From there, Heineback went on to attend the University of Stockholm in Sweden where she received a certificate of Language Arts in Swedish. She married Swedish Foreign Service officer Bo Heineback who later served as Swedish ambassador to several countries. She gave birth to their son in 1973.

Upon returning to the United States, Heineback made history be becoming the first African American woman to serve as a press officer to former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. From there, Heineback went on to become the director of public relations and later, the public and investor relations director for Comsat, a communications satellite corporation. Next, Heineback served as the director of development for Scripps Memorial Hospital, where she was credited with raising significant funding for the hospital. From there, Heineback went on to become the chief of protocol for the America’s Cup, an international sailing race. In 1996, Heineback launched her firm, Talking Point, to manage the marketing and communications needs of several prominent clients. Heineback served as a consultant through her firm to non-profit, corporate, and private clients around the globe. Heineback also served as a strategic consultant for President Bill Clinton’s Administration; the NAACP; Scripps Healthcare; Silicon Graphics; Biotechs; the Bi-national Emergency Medical Care Committee; and the San Francisco Library.

Heineback published a newspaper column for the Savannah Morning News, as well as a number of social and political commentary articles for other papers. She served on the board of directors of Frederick County Mental Health Association; the International Eye Foundation; the San Francisco World Affairs Council; and the San Francisco Foreign Affairs Committee.

Accession Number

A2005.181

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/2/2005

Last Name

Heineback

Maker Category
Schools

St Peter Of Alcantara School

John J Daly Elementary School

John Philip Sousa Elementary School

Forest Hills High School

Howard University

First Name

Barbara

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

HEI02

Favorite Season

Winter

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Australia

Favorite Quote

Gee Golly Willikers.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/29/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pie (Lemon Chiffon), Salad

Short Description

Public relations executive Barbara Heineback (1944 - ) owns a public relations and communications firm, Talking Point, and was the first African American press officer, working under First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

Employment

Bee Talkingpoint

Scrippts Memorial Hospital

Communications Satellite Corporation

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Barbara Heineback's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Barbara Heineback lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Barbara Heineback describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Barbara Heineback describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Barbara Heineback describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Barbara Heineback describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Barbara Heineback recalls holidays with her family in Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Barbara Heineback recounts her search for her family history

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Barbara Heineback describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Barbara Heineback recalls fond memories of her time with her father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Barbara Heineback describes her paternal family's farm in Leesburg, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Barbara Heineback describes her early education at St. Peter of Alcantara in Port Washington, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Barbara Heineback describes her childhood neighborhood and daily life in Port Washington, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Barbara Heineback compares her birth in New York City to her son's in Stockholm, Sweden

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Barbara Heineback remembers her childhood activities and pastimes

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Barbara Heineback remembers neighbors from her childhood in Port Washington, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Barbara Heineback talks about her parent's involvement in the Sands Point community of Port Washington, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Barbara Heineback remembers her father nearly losing the family farm

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Barbara Heineback recalls her time at Sands Point Elementary School in Port Washington, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Barbara Heineback describes her childhood personality

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Barbara Heineback remembers her influential piano teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Barbara Heineback remembers attending Port Washington Baptist Church in Port Washington, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Barbara Heineback remembers her father's influence and advice

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Barbara Heineback remembers her childhood aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Barbara Heineback recalls working full time at CBS News her senior year at Howard University in Washington, D.C., pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Barbara Heineback recalls working full time at CBS News her senior year at Howard University in Washington, D.C., pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Barbara Heineback recalls living in Stockholm, Sweden

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Barbara Heineback remembers the birth of her son, Erik Heineback, in Stockholm, Sweden

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Barbara Heineback talks about her divorce and return to the United States

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Barbara Heineback remembers her hiring as Rosalynn Carter's advance agent

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Barbara Heineback describes her first few days as an advance agent for Rosalynn Carter

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Barbara Heineback remembers averting a major mishap during her early days as an advance agent for Rosalynn Carter

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Barbara Heineback describes the hectic lifestyle of a presidential advance agent

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Barbara Heineback recalls the election of President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Barbara Heineback recounts how WALB-TV rescinded a job offer after hiring her

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Barbara Heineback talks about moving to Washington D.C. to serve as Rosalynn Carter's press officer

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Barbara Heineback describes her experiences as a press officer for First Lady Rosalynn Carter

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Barbara Heineback recalls a difficult public relations situation while working for First Lady Rosalynn Carter

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Barbara Heineback reflects on her rewarding experiences working for First Lady Rosalynn Carter

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Barbara Heineback talks about her resignation as press officer for First Lady Rosalynn Carter

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Barbara Heineback talks about her work for First Lady Rosalynn Carter's initiatives in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Barbara Heineback remembers how she met her first husband

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Barbara Heineback talks about the complications in her marriages

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Barbara Heineback talks about her career in public relations and fundraising

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Barbara Heineback reflects upon her decision to work for a biotech firm in Silicon Valley, California

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Barbara Heineback talks about her plans for the future

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Barbara Heineback reflects upon balancing motherhood and career

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Barbara Heineback offers advice for aspiring public relations specialists

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Barbara Heineback describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Barbara Heineback outlines her concerns for the United States

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Barbara Heineback talks about her values

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Barbara Heineback describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Barbara Heineback reflects upon the importance of history

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Barbara Heineback reflects upon her legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

3$1

DATitle
Barbara Heineback remembers averting a major mishap during her early days as an advance agent for Rosalynn Carter
Barbara Heineback recalls a difficult public relations situation while working for First Lady Rosalynn Carter
Transcript
Now mind you, I should back up a little bit to Tri City [Tri Cities, Michigan]. I had a career choice. I had gotten everything set up at the airport for the first lady's [sic. future first lady] arrival. And my job, which I don't think I had explained, was basically to get the word out, to get press, to make sure that we have support people at the airport and rally building and all for Mrs. [Rosalynn] Carter to come in, for some press to be out there to interview her, to answer questions. Let them know what the president, what the candidate [James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.] is promoting and thinking and doing all of that presidential campaign building. And at this point, you're talking 1979, 1980 [sic.], there was no yardstick to go by. No one had written the 101 rules and all. So it's all sort of on the job training and learning and figuring it out and what should we be doing and going by your mother wit and what you know about politics and what makes sense. Because as you can see, I was sort of wound up, pointed in the right direction, and just told go for it. And that's what I did. Well as I was on my way to the airport a few hours before Mrs. Carter was to arrive, to get my people there and build the press pen and do all of those things, I realized that I had made a wrong turn. The hotel was about fifteen miles from the airport. Because this was pretty much rural, rural country and it was the closest airport, which was fifteen mi- I mean the closest hotel was about fifteen miles from the airport. So when I realized I was headed in the wrong direction, I make a U-turn on this road that has a straight edge and not the normal ditches that I was accustomed to from the East Coast. And my whole wheel went over the side and the whole bottom of the car just came down flat right on the road. And I thought well this ends my little sweet career. I can hear John [ph.] now, "I told you she couldn't handle it." And so I didn't know what to do other than pray. So I just kind of put my head down for a minute and said please Lord, don't let this be the end of my little two-day short career right here. Prayer works. I promise you when I looked up, I saw Farmer Jones over in a field on his tractor. And I said that man's gonna save my life. I jumped out the car and I'm doing this. And naturally he saw this car that had--I mean he saw what happened. He knew what it was. And so within two or three minutes he'd gotten himself to the road, he's pulling me out, turned around and all, car was fine. And that took maybe ten minutes or so, fifteen to get all of that done. And by the time he got there, his wife had been in the house baking cookies. She gave me a whole sheet of cookies. She comes out in a box. She found out who I was. She brought me two or three cookies. When she found out who I was and where I was going and I was headed to the airport to meet Mrs. Carter, she said, "Oh, let me bring you the whole batch." So she puts everything very beautifully in this box and I go tootling off to the airport. And when I arrived, it was like, "Well where have you been?" 'Cause I'm a little late. And I said, "Back at the hotel baking cookies." And I just left it right there, said you don't wanna know. So that was the skinny on that.$Let's come back to your discussion of what was occurring as you were working for then President [James Earl] Jimmy Carter [Jr.]. What were some of the most challenging moments that you had and what were some of the most rewarding?$$One of the more challenging moments I had while working for Mrs. Carter [First Lady Rosalynn Carter], and this was on the campaign train just before Election Day, maybe--Election Day is always the first Tuesday in November, this is probably the third or fourth week of October when everything is building toward a crescendo and both sides are trying to find whatever they can find on the other candidate and dish. Well it so happens that the candidate Jimmy Carter had just been interviewed by--what's the magazine, the girlie--Playboy magazine. And in the magazine article Jimmy Carter, you know, Mr. Christian, Mr. man on the--at the fish pond, goody-goody-two-shoes, straight and narrow, had admitted to Playboy magazine yes I have lusted after other women. Story broke while Rosalynn was in her jet. By now she's been, you know, donated, not donated, but she's flying around in the candidate's wife's jet, her plane, to hopscotch from spot to spot on the campaign trail. She was--and this was before the day of cell phones and all of that. You've got to go back technologically, that you don't know the news that's taking place while you're in the air until you're on the ground. You did not have--you did not have televisions and all of this in the friendly skies with you at the time. Skies were still friendly, but they just were not technologically advanced. Suffice it to say when Rosalynn landed in--we were in Texas. I don't think it was San Antonio [Texas], but we were somewhere, maybe in Austin, Texas because she was going to meet Lady Bird Johnson. And it was her first meeting with Lady Bird. Rosalynn was so excited and all to meet the first lady of Texas. And an ex-first lady of the United States. And we thought that was gonna be the story and the coverage and all. Now mind you, I need to back up and share that up until then, Rosalynn's coverage was never more than a dozen people at any event in terms of the news, you know the news coverage. She might have the local newspaper, local television station, maybe a local radio and one or two others, a spattering of some other newsies that might have shown up at any given time. So to have five people at the airport, couple of cameras or certainly not, not--I don't even think we'd ever had a dozen people anywhere. You know, five or six. Just a handful of press people covering her activities at the time. Because this story about Jimmy having lusted after other women that had broken while Rosalynn was flying from Chicago [Illinois] to Texas where I was to meet her at the airport. When she got down on the ground, Atlanta [Georgia] is calling me, "[HistoryMaker] Barbara [Heineback] build a press pen." Now at that point I don't think I even knew what a press pen was. You know, I just asked the press to stand over here or stand over there and four, five or six people, they do as they're told and it's all very controllable. But suddenly I've got about forty press people here. So I had to actually get cordon rope and all and build a pen, build a place for them to stay, for them to be contained. And so when she had her wheels down, I had to go on board and share with her what had happened, what had broken. And in the meantime, I had written some suggested comments, what she might want to say and how she would handle that. So that clearly was one of my most challenging experiences.$$What kinds of responses did you write?$$I'm saving that one for my book.$$Okay.$$We're still kind of getting that chapter just as it should be. But it was a telling period and a very challenging one, you know, for me, for the situation. And took some thoughtfulness and really trying to measure and balance and consider as much as I could as quickly as I could and make sure at the end of the day that everyone comes out smelling at least if not like a rose, as they should and, you know with longevity and all, how will this play? And, and just sort of allowing your mind to fast forward and cover as many what ifs as humanly possible, and then take that and make a couple of decisions very quickly.$$Could you share what she ultimately did say to the press?$$I wouldn't want to misquote her and I honestly do not remember just yet, you know right, right off the top. But it, it worked.