The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Toni Fay

Communications executive Toni Fay was born on April 25, 1947 to George E. and Allie C. (Smith) Fay. Fay received her B.A. degree from Duquesne University in 1968. She obtained her M.S.W. degree, four years later, from the University of Pittsburgh. She also received her M.Ed. degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1973. Fay began her professional career in 1968 when she was hired as a caseworker for the New York City Department of Welfare. She was then named the director of social services for the Pittsburgh Drug Abuse Center in 1972. Fay was also appointed regional commissioner of the Governor's Council on Drugs & Alcohol for the state of Pennsylvania, serving in that capacity from 1973 to 1976. In 1977, she was named director of planning and development for the National Council of Negro Women. She was then hired as an executive vice president of D. Parke Gibson Associates, a public relations firm.

In 1982, Fay was named manager of community relations for Time-Warner, Inc. in New York. After only a year with the media conglomerate, she was promoted to the position of director of corporate community relations and affirmative action. She would go on to serve in that role for ten years before being appointed Time Warner’s vice president and corporation officer. After eight years as vice president, Fay launched her own management consultant firm TGF Associates in Englewood, New Jersey.

In addition to her corporate career, Fay was a member of the transition team for former U.S. President William Clinton in 1992. She was also appointed by President Clinton to the boards of the National Institute for Literacy and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Fay has served on a number of boards for civic, social and educational entities, including that of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, UNICEF, the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and Library, the Apollo Theatre Foundation, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Bethune Cookman College, the Coro Foundation, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, the U.S. Capitol Historical Society and the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation, among many others.

Toni Fay was interviewed by the The HistoryMakers on August 1, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.162

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/1/2012

Last Name

Fay

Maker Category
Middle Name

Georgette

Schools

Duquesne University

University of Pittsburgh

A Whizz Kids Preschool Inc Ii

A-Karrasel Primary Grade Center

Benjamin Franklin Junior High School

Teaneck Senior High School

P.S. 169 Robert F Kennedy School

First Name

Toni

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

FAY01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France, Morocco

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

4/25/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Englewood

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Communications executive Toni Fay (1947 - ) was vice president of Time Warner, Inc.

Employment

New York City Department of Welfare

Pittsburgh Drug Abuse Center

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

National Council of Negro Women (NCNW)

D. Parke Gibson Association

Time Warner, Inc.

TGF Associates

Favorite Color

Earth Tones

Timing Pairs
0,0:4058,57:6102,105:6540,112:6905,118:13122,203:14114,223:14548,231:16904,279:17214,285:17772,296:18144,303:18516,310:19756,335:21182,368:21740,379:27322,445:27618,450:28358,464:29468,488:29838,494:30282,502:33020,552:33538,560:37980,576:38920,587:40424,610:41458,626:42022,633:43432,652:46285,670:46620,676:48027,703:48362,709:48898,720:53789,822:55732,861:56067,867:58144,900:58680,909:60422,943:68618,1013:69458,1025:72483,1055:72909,1063:73761,1080:74258,1088:74755,1099:75678,1138:76175,1146:77595,1174:78021,1181:79725,1227:80009,1232:80932,1252:81784,1271:83701,1293:84127,1300:85192,1317:88902,1333:89790,1347:90456,1357:92158,1403:94452,1453:103782,1607:104522,1620:105262,1633:106520,1654:114390,1750:117414,1800:118206,1812:119286,1833:121374,1872:122238,1886:126670,1933$0,0:516,15:1032,22:1634,31:1978,36:3096,52:6250,81:7457,106:8096,119:10297,167:10723,175:11007,180:14202,230:14699,239:15409,255:17539,318:18178,329:18888,341:19243,346:26460,404:26790,410:27054,416:27450,424:29166,469:29760,479:30618,496:31674,519:36030,637:41830,672:42726,690:43878,717:45286,745:45862,761:46310,770:46566,775:46886,782:47398,796:49830,847:50278,856:51942,889:52198,894:52646,902:53286,915:57539,938:58178,949:58604,956:62935,1050:64142,1074:66201,1130:66911,1141:67550,1152:73233,1239:76709,1294:77262,1302:81799,1331:82380,1343:86754,1412:87557,1427:88068,1436:90477,1490:92520,1498:95220,1562:96645,1594:97020,1600:97545,1609:98070,1617:101326,1647:115338,1856:116994,1885:117282,1890:117642,1896:118290,1907:120018,1940:120378,1946:121386,1964:122898,2002:123258,2008:124626,2038:125274,2053:132790,2128:133430,2151:134870,2180:136470,2219:139270,2277:140470,2296:141350,2316:142870,2342:147280,2365:150605,2422:154350,2437:155022,2450:155406,2455:157902,2507:163270,2579:165370,2625:167170,2658:167545,2664:173298,2753:182630,2861:183725,2873:184674,2890:185331,2903:185623,2908:186426,2924:187375,2934:187813,2941:188689,2957:189127,2964:192120,3023:193507,3058:195624,3102:199598,3114:200372,3125:200802,3131:203636,3194:204548,3208:205384,3226:207740,3274:211768,3387:217392,3499:218000,3508:223836,3548:224750,3562
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Toni Fay's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Toni Fay lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes her maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Toni Fay describes how her maternal grandparents met

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Toni Fay describes her maternal grandfather and great uncle's occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Toni Fay remembers visiting her grandfather in New Jersey after the 1967 Newark riots

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Toni Fay describes her maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Toni Fay talks about her family's relationship to the Presbyterian Church

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Toni Fay recaps her maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Toni Fay describes her mother's childhood in Harlem, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Toni Fay talks about her father and paternal family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Toni Fay talks about her father and paternal family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Toni Fay describes her father's personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Toni Fay talks about her father's start of an African American high school football league

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Toni Fay talks about her father's draft into the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes her family's perspective toward the draft

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Toni Fay explains how her parent met and fell in love

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Toni Fay describes her childhood home in Harlem, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Toni Fay describes her parents' dispositions and considers her likeness to them

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Toni Fay describes experiencing discrimination in the Teaneck, New Jersey schools

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Toni Fay recalls her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Toni Fay describes her childhood activities in Harlem, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Toni Fay describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood in Harlem, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Toni Fay remembers beating Roosevelt "Rosey" Brown in ping pong

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Toni Fay talks about the distinction between Harlem and Washington Heights

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Toni Fay describes her experience at P.S. 169 elementary school in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Toni Fay describes her experience at Stitt Junior High School and moving to Teaneck, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Toni Fay describes playing in the band at Stitt Junior High School in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Toni Fay describes leaving New York City for Teaneck, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes how she avoided being held back from the eighth grade

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Toni Fay talks about her neighbors in Teaneck, Jersey, including the Isley family, and northern migration to the suburbs

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Toni Fay describes attending summer camp and other structured activities

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Toni Fay describes the racial discrimination she experienced in Teaneck, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Toni Fay talks about entertaining her parents' friends

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Toni Fay talks about her father's establishment of a football team in Teaneck, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Toni Fay recalls attending the March on Washington in 1963 and boycotting companies that were segregationist

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Toni Fay talks about Malcolm X and remembers visiting "Southern" cousins in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Toni Fay talks about her decision to attend Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Toni Fay explains why she elected not to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Toni Fay describes her undergraduate experience at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Toni Fay talks about HistoryMaker Ronald Davenport, then-professor in the Duquesne University School of Law

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes being accepted into graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Toni Fay talks about her graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Toni Fay talks about her graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Toni Fay talks about heading the Governor's Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Toni Fay talks about her parents' mentorship

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Toni Fay talks about C. Delores Tucker, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Toni Fay describes moving to San Francisco, California briefly after leaving her job in Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Toni Fay talks about C. Delores Tucker, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Toni Fay talks about moving back home after spending one year in San Francisco, California

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Toni Fay describes interviewing with and being hired by HistoryMaker Dorothy Height

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes initiatives she oversaw at the National Council of Negro Women

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Toni Fay describes being hired by the D. Parke Gibson Association public relations firm

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Toni Fay describes being hired at Time Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Toni Fay describes her experience at Time Inc. and relationship with executive William J. Trent, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Toni Fay describes making connections with Betty Shabazz, Coretta Scott King, and others through the Black Leadership Family

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Toni Fay talks about the members, requirements and objectives at the Black Leadership Academy

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Toni Fay describes the development of her literacy program at Time Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Toni Fay describes the literacy program she developed at Time Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Toni Fay talks about Time Inc.'s merger with Warner Communications Inc. in 1990

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes working on 'Songs of My People' photography book

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Toni Fay describes meeting HistoryMaker Quincy Jones and her involvement in the Listen Up Foundation

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Toni Fay talks about becoming Time Warner's first African American officer

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Toni Fay describes working on 'Americanos: Latino Life in the United States' and Gordon Parks' 'Half Past Autumn' at Time Warner

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Toni Fay talks about the external projects she worked on, including the Business Policy Review Council

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Toni Fay explains why the Business Policy Review Council stopped operating

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Toni Fay talks about her retirement from Time Warner

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Toni Fay talks about challenges surrounding the preservation of the Apollo Theater

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Toni Fay talks about her role in the revitalization of the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Toni Fay remembers HistoryMaker Ossie Davis

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Toni Fay describes her role on President Bill Clinton's transition team

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Toni Fay describes her literacy work with the Clinton Administration and Time Warner Inc.

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Toni Fay lists various boards she has served on over the years

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Toni Fay describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Toni Fay reflects considers what she might have done differently

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Toni Fay considers her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Toni Fay talks about her family

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Toni Fay shares her advice to young professionals

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Toni Fay describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Toni Fay narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Toni Fay narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
Toni Fay talks about heading the Governor's Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Pennsylvania
Toni Fay describes working on 'Songs of My People' photography book
Transcript
And I got--as I said, I think I've been blessed my whole career. All of a sudden, there was a brand new agency being started by Governor Milton Shapp in Pennsylvania. And it was to be the single-state agency for drug and alcohol abuse. Again, this was a whole new wave in the whole health and mental health arena nationally. So he started it, and the single-state agency was called the Governor's Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse. And for some reason, I was hired to be head of the whole region, which put me in charge of twenty-four counties in western Pennsylvania in allocating their drug and alcohol money for their county programs and other things. It's the first time I'm managing a staff, first time I was traveling statewide to look at programs. So I learned so much, and the first time I had to deal with administration, with panels. So I was taken from a community-based activity, thinking about, you know, we're just gonna improve the lot of people, to an administrative position dealing with budgets and money and plans and, and more racism, which was easier because outside of Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania], if you know western Pennsylvania and you should coming from Dayton [Ohio], I mean it's Appalachia in some places. I remember going to one of my counties and the, the county commissioner was blind. And I'm walking in to introduce myself, and he said, "Oh, yeah, I heard this, this colored gal got that job." I said, yes, and she's right here in front of you, you know (laughter). And what, and, and you have a request before me, you know. So, you know, I learned those--it was like the sum total of the things I had learned from Teaneck [New Jersey] (laughter), that I had to bring to that experience too. But it was a great job. I mean it propelled me totally out of traditional social work into now looking at this whole understanding of public health systems and administration and managing people.$There were two things going on that propelled me in getting my officer's stripe, which was unbelievable. First, I had this, "what the hell" attitude. I'm just gonna keep my head down and not stay in the gossip, rumor mill about who's on first, who's on second. My boss, who was then Jerry Levin [Gerald Levin], who became the chairman of Time Warner later on and did the AOL deal to our, our chagrin, Jerry said, call me only if you need me 'cause he was in his own political battle. So, you know, we were all just holding on. None of us were gonna put our hands up to say, "I'm leaving" 'cause they said, "Oh, at least let's get a package if we're gonna leave." So that's when I was approached to take on this project called 'Songs of My People.' I had gotten a call from a couple of the photographers that were looking at some way--quite frankly, they were a little outraged that this project around black women had traveled all around the United States and gotten such notoriety and there weren't any black photographers engaged in it. So many of them had gotten together, who were the top photographers in many of the newspapers around the country to say, let's do a day-in-the-life kind of concept. They brought it to me. I said, this is fabulous. Now, how am I gonna talk this company into it? I went to our book company and said, you all got to do this. They said, it sounds good. I said, I want us to get into the exhibition thing. We could travel this to all of our markets because in the newspaper--I'll never forget, when I went to the chairman, I said, "Look, Jerry, every paper is talking about records and synergy and movies and synergy. Not one is mentioning books, not one is mentioning magazines, not one is mentioning--it's all about now, this new entertainment complex. I have a book project that I wanna get all of our businesses engaged in." And it's gonna propel our agenda in terms of saying to the black community, we are here and the white community too. And think about all these museums. You like culture. Well, I sold it to Jerry to say--he said, "Toni, I like your thought." He said, but I don't even know how we're gonna pay for this. If we have to commit to fund an exhibition, all our money's tied up in this deal. Do you know how I got the exhibition funded? There was a line that the banks had not attached that was the retirement gift for Dick Munro, who was the outgoing CEO. That was the only line not attached in the deal we're paying for this merger (laughter). So if you ever see any literature from 'Songs of My People,' 'cause it traveled in over a hundred countries, you know, through the State Department [U.S. Department of State]. I mean it's just great. It always says, and "Is dedicated to Dick Munro through his retired," (laughter). It went on for five years. It was a major book, gangbusters exhibition. And what I liked most about it, and I think why people remember me and always come up to me and all of our executives in the company and said, "I'm one of the 'Songs of My People' photographers. They all got better jobs. Some became the press secretaries for Clinton [President William "Bill" Clinton] and everybody got promoted at their newspapers. And that's also how we got so much press 'cause when we would hit town, all of a sudden they could go to their publisher and say, look, I'm in this exhibition, and this is in our town. So you're gonna get some play. I mean it was just gangbusters. It was a landmark thing for the craft of photography. So that was one--