Linda Johnson Rice
Throughout her extraordinary life as a woman entrepreneur in the media and beauty industry she has given voice to millions and helped tell the story of the African-American experience in America, with all its many trials and triumphs. Now, audiences can hear as she shares the invaluable lessons she’s gained by building a world-renowned business brand, as well as her view of how far we’ve come as a nation and where we go from here.
As the current Chairman Emeritus and board member of Ebony Media Operations, Inc., which publishes Ebony and Jet magazines, Linda Johnson Rice has decades of experience in building globally recognized brands. Rice spent much of her career managing Johnson Publishing Company, which under her leadership, remained the No. 1 African-American owned publishing company in the world. Her principal focus remains overseeing Fashion Fair Cosmetics – the No. 1 company in the world for makeup and skin-care products made especially for women of color.
Her leadership has earned her a place on the Chicago Sun-Times' list of Chicago’s 100 Most Powerful Women and the Top 10 Women in Media, as well as Crain’s list of the 20 Most Powerful Women in Chicago. “She has a broad and deep network of power-movers," says Dick Parsons, former chairman and CEO of New York-based Time Warner, Inc.
Smart and soulful, humorous and big-hearted, Linda captivates audiences with delightful stories from her interactions with some of the most iconic pop-culture figures who graced the pages of Ebony and Jet over the years, as well as with her own touching story of running a beloved family business that has grown to become a true national treasure.
- Dream, but Don’t Fall Asleep: a Message for Young People on What it Takes to Dream Big and Dare to Try
For many young people – especially young women – examples of large accomplishments are ubiquitous in popular culture. Yet, examples of how to reach them are not. Linda’s mother and father reached the heights of success and became examples of African American achievement for millions, especially to Linda as a young girl. More importantly, however, they gave her concrete examples of the hard work and the many middle steps it takes to reach such success. They set her on a journey to college and graduate school, and taught her to work her way up from the smallest jobs within the family company to ones of increasing responsibility and importance. Linda shares her story for younger audiences, particularly those in high school, about how to find the mentors that guide the way to success. And she encourages young people to earn the hard-won qualities necessary to realize their full potential. It is a story meant for strivers of all ages, and an inspirational message for everyone who dreams big and dares to try.
- Don’t Brace for Change; Embrace It: Adapting to Change In a Transformational Business Market
As Chairman of Johnson Publishing Company (JPC), the largest African-American owned publishing firm in the United States, Linda Johnson Rice will take us through the choices she made to implement bold changes at her iconic company during a pivotal moment in its history. Learn how Rice made the critical business decisions to transition from CEO to Chairman, hire female senior executive talent, and navigate the changing media landscape to maintain relevancy and market share. Leave the meeting inspired to embrace change in your professional life!
- Progress in Pictures: How Ebony and Jet told the story of the African-American Journey, From the Great Migration to the Present
When Ms. Rice’s father founded Johnson Publishing Company in 1942 thanks to a $500 loan, he sought to create an equivalent magazine to Life that would tell the story of the black experience in America. Over the next 75 years, in both vivid prose as well as indelible pictures, the pages of Ebony and Jet captured the stories of African-Americans, from the famous to the family next door.
Ms. Rice will tell the story of how JPC helped shape the Civil Rights movement by informing and inspiring its audience, a mission which continues to reach millions of readers each month. Her speech will be punctuated by material from the company’s invaluable media archives – a treasure house of more than six decades worth of iconic cultural treasures, including feature interviews, photo profiles and performances from celebrities, newsmakers and famous Black Americans in the sciences, business, sports, politics, culture, civil rights, education, medicine, and more. Ms. Rice’s presentation tells a comprehensive and compelling story of America, its past and its present.
- Education and Social Elevation: The Story of Johnson Publishing Company and Expanding African American Educational Opportunities
Education is the great equalizer, which is why the era of Civil Rights legislation began in earnest with Brown v. Board of Education. In the march toward equality, social justice and educational access must walk hand-in-hand in order to ensure a brighter future for all our children. Yet, economic and cultural barriers remain formidable obstacles for many minorities seeking to fulfill their academic potential and pursue the American Dream. These students need both knowledge and role models—education and inspiration—to succeed.
Ms. Rice will share how the history of Johnson Publishing Company, since its founding in 1942, has built partnerships between business, government and academia in order to expand access to education for minority scholars and widen the circle of opportunity for Americans of color.