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Denise Bradley-Tyson

Marketing executive and entrepreneur Denise Bradley-Tyson was born on December 5, 1958, in Chicago, Illinois to Lacey Bradley and Howard Bradley. Her family moved to Newark, Ohio, where she was raised, and where she graduated from Newark High School in 1977. Bradley-Tyson earned her B.A. degree in economics and communications from Stanford University in 1981, beginning her career in marketing and communications for HBO and Levi Strauss & Co. before attending Harvard Business School, where she earned her M.B.A. degree in 1986.

Bradley-Tyson worked as the business manager for CBS News’ Chicago Bureau until 1991, when she was recruited by Paramount Pictures to work on production finance for “The Arsenio Hall Show.” In 1993, Bradley-Tyson successfully pitched QVC on its first African-themed merchandising program, “The African Marketplace.” She moved on to Warner Brothers’ consumer products division as brand licensing manager, where she developed the merchandising strategy for Michael Jordan’s film, Space Jam. She would become director of international marketing for Warner Brothers, supporting the firm’s international offices and developing their marketing campaigns. She moved to London in 2000, where she was recruited by the Southbank Centre, Europe’s largest centre for the arts, to oversee audience development for the largest African contemporary art exhibition in Europe, “Africa Remix.” During her time in London, she also served on the steering committee of the Arts Council England under Prime Minister Tony Blair. Bradley-Tyson left London in 2005 when she was recruited to become the founding executive director of the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, California. She brought the museum national and international recognition in its inaugural years. In 2015, Bradley-Tyson founded Inspired Luxe, an online curated shopping company.

Bradley-Tyson has garnered several honors in her career both for her business and marketing acumen, as well as her passion for the arts. She was presented a "Profile of Excellence" award by ABC-7, San Francisco, featured as a role model in Morrie Turner's syndicated cartoon, "Wee Pals," and named by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the Bay Area's Most Influential Women of 2007. Bradley-Tyson serves as President of the San Francisco Film Commission, and serves as Vice Chair of San Francisco Travel’s Tourism Diversity Committee.

Bradley-Tyson lives in San Francisco with her husband, Bernard Tyson, Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente.

Denise Bradley-Tyson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 17, 2015.

Accession Number

A2015.009

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/17/2015

Last Name

Bradley-Tyson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Denise

Schools

Stanford University

Harvard Business School

Newark High School

Conrad Elementary School

Lincoln Junior High School

First Name

V.

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

BRA15

Favorite Season

Anytime

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Italy

Favorite Quote

If You Can Conceive It, You Can Achieve It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Interview Description
Birth Date

12/5/1958

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Bay Area/San Francisco

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Gumbo, Grits, Fried Catfish, Fried Chicken, Caviar

Short Description

Marketing executive and entrepreneur Denise Bradley-Tyson (1958 - ) served as the founding executive director of the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, California. She also developed the merchandising strategy for Michael Jordan's Space Jam and the marketing campaign for the Africa 05 art initiative.

Employment

British Broadcasting Corporation

Ogilvy and Mather

Home Box Office

Levi Strauss and Company

Chase Manhattan Bank

CBS News

Paramount Pictures Corporation

Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc.

Warner Home Video

Hayward Gallery

Museum of the African Diaspora

Inspiredluxe.com

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Denise Bradley-Tyson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Denise Bradley-Tyson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Denise Bradley-Tyson talks about her parents' personalities and how they met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Denise Bradley-Tyson lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Denise Bradley-Tyson recalls the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Denise Bradley-Tyson remembers her community in Newark, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes her early personality

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Denise Bradley-Tyson talks about her early education

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes the racial demographics of Newark, Ohio

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Denise Bradley-Tyson remembers her father's death from lung cancer

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Denise Bradley-Tyson talks about her home life

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Denise Bradley-Tyson recalls her early influences

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Denise Bradley-Tyson remembers her college aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes her experiences at Stanford University in Stanford, California

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Denise Bradley-Tyson talks about the black community at Stanford University

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Denise Bradley-Tyson remembers her college internships

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Denise Bradley-Tyson recalls her aspirations and influences at Stanford University

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Denise Bradley-Tyson recalls her first work experiences after graduation

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes her decision to attend Harvard Business School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Denise Tyson-Bradley talks about the Harvard Business School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Denise Tyson-Bradley remembers her peers and professors at the Harvard Business School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Denise Tyson-Bradley recalls her decision to pursue a career in the media industry

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Denise Tyson-Bradley describes her role at CBS News

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Denise Tyson-Bradley recalls joining the Paramount Pictures Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Denise Tyson-Bradley talks about the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Denise Tyson-Bradley remembers launching an African merchandising program on QVC

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Denise Tyson-Bradley recalls joining Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Denise Tyson-Bradley recalls her role as director of international marketing for Warner Home Video

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Denise Tyson-Bradley talks about the African American entertainment executives

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Denise Bradley-Tyson remembers moving to London, England

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Denise Bradley-Tyson recalls her work on the Africa 05 project

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes her experiences as an expatriate in London, England

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Denise Bradley-Tyson recalls joining the Museum of the African Diaspora

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Denise Bradley-Tyson recalls launching the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, California

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes her role at the Museum of the African Diaspora

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Denise Bradley-Tyson recalls her decision to leave the Museum of the African Diaspora

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Denise Bradley-Tyson remembers the deaths of her parents

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Denise Bradley-Tyson talks about her marriage to Bernard J. Tyson

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Denise Bradley-Tyson reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Denise Bradley-Tyson shares her plans for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Denise Bradley-Tyson reflects upon the legacy of her generation

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Denise Bradley-Tyson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Denise Bradley-Tyson reflects upon the black experience

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Denise Bradley-Tyson reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Denise Bradley-Tyson narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Denise Bradley-Tyson narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

8$5

DATitle
Denise Tyson-Bradley recalls joining Warner Brothers Entertainment Inc.
Denise Bradley-Tyson recalls launching the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, California
Transcript
And so I went from there [QVC, Inc.] to working at Warner Brothers [Warner Brothers Entertainment, Inc.]. Again leveraging my experience in terms of, and love of product and merchandising to ending up working in Warner Brothers consumer products. Where I was charged with I, you know, working with the team to help revitalize the Looney Tunes franchise. And it was done through Michael Jordan's 'Space Jam.' And so, I developed the branding strategy for that movie, for Warner Brothers consumer products which was hugely successful. From there I went to--$$Now, how large was the, your budget for that? And how much, how, what does success mean, in terms of revenue?$$They made over 100 million [dollars] from the licensing products associated with the movie, which then was a big number. Well it made in several hundred million I'm sorry, several hundred million on the, the licensing. The licensing was a much bigger sort of revenue generator I think than the movie itself. But, then a lot those movies exist to sell merchandise.$$(Unclear) this was, this was really a new trend at that point don't you think? I mean this and that, you're talking about in some respects is that called product placement?$$Sort of. It was licensing development where you are granting companies the right to put, you know, Looney Tunes on a t-shirt, on a toothbrush. And probably the closest analogy that sort of, you know, in terms of tapering to the present time is you look at all the, the product tie ins. And product that's been developed around the 'Star Wars' movie ['Star Wars: The Force Awakens']. So, everything that you can think of from, you know, cradle to grave we were selling. You know, with the Looney Tunes image you were paying a whole lot more if it included Michael Jordan. Always very savvy about his use of his image.$$In fact he just, he just won a big case and donated the money to--$$To Chicago [Illinois] charities.$$Um-hm.$$I think that was just announced yesterday.$Well, you would have been a real find for a startup black museum [Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, California],$$Um-hm.$$Um-hm. And were they interested in your marketing background too in the, the merchandising and things like, was that?$$All that came into play and--$$So, so talk about what did you to launch the museum, 'cause it's one thing to have a building, it's another thing to open an institution. So, tell, tell us what you did?$$You know, we had lots of PR [public relations]. And you know, lots of access and large part that's to people like, you know, Belva [HistoryMaker Belva Davis]. Even though, I had worked with another local PR firm. As you know, San Francisco [California] said it's a little town with a big footprint. But, everything from, you know, I secured a cover story in The New York Times arts section to a piece in the Financial Times. I guess in some respects, you know, a visionary, but we also I mean in terms possibilities. You know, just as I was when I was growing up in terms of if you believe it you can achieve it. To, you know, the logo were already served, they had already been working with a firm out of L.A. [Los Angeles, California] to come up with the, the logos and the branding. So, it was a question of how the, you know, the implementation in terms of, of applying those across merchandise. How I opened the, with my staff, opened the gift store for the institution. Established the pricing model, the opening hours, I mean the hours of operations. I mean it truly was a, a start up, yeah.$$So, the, the whole thing is that this would have been the first of its kind on the West Coast, right?$$Um-hm.$$And I think there, there had been a conscious decision to go after, to focus on the diaspora--$$Um-hm.$$--with it, right?$$Um-hm.$$So, with, how--$$And the thing that I was particularly attracted to about what they were doing too as someone who had lived abroad and traveled extensively is that in someone who feels very passionately about education. And, you know, using the arts as a tool to educate and break down barriers so that they were--the museum was committed to again connecting the cultural dots. You know, showing first and foremost that we are all African. And how culture emanated from Africa, how it manifests itself in terms of its people migrated, you know, throughout the world. And, so that was a very powerful, for me, that was a very powerful mission that the museum had.$$And what did it take so, how long did it take from the time you were hired to the museum opening?$$It was very short. I was hired in--I think I was hired in April or May, but then wrapped things up--I started in June and we opened in December.$$That's a quick turnaround.$$Um-hm. As I said, you know a lot of things were already in place. And they already had a wonderful, you know, Lizzetta Collins was the curator, Dr. Lizzetta Collins [Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins], and had put together wonderful opening exhibit. So, again my job was sort of, you know, then starting to work with the, the board on the gala. And you know, all the wonderful things that go along with the keeping a nonprofit going on the fundraising side.$$And, and how much did you, how much did you raise, ultimately?$$For our first gala (unclear) I think we raised over, around five hundred thousand [dollars] on that one. But, then there's sort of the ongoing, in terms of finding you know underwriters for the ongoing institution. And, you know, for exhibitions schedule. But, these things become and you look at a place like, you know, the Studio Museum [Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York], which has such a wonderful team in place. Both, in terms of, you know, under [HistoryMaker] Thelma Golden but as well as, you know, their board. In terms of, having their model down so you look to places like that to borrow from best practices. In terms of, you know, people who've been doing it at such a high level for a long time.