Paula Madison shares how to be a champion at the Open Society Foundation's Innovation and Impact Forum for Black Male Achievement.
Introduction by Kenneth H. Zimmerman, Open Society Foundations
Paula Williams Madison, Madison Media Management LLC and Williams Group Holdings LLC
Paula Williams Madison is Chairman and CEO of Madison Media Management LLC, a division of Williams Group Holdings LLC, a Chicago-based investment company wholly owned by her family. Madison Media Management LLC is a Los Angeles limited liability company which invests primarily in emerging media, entertainment and communication businesses.
Williams Group Holdings manages its significant investments in media (The Africa Channel), a sports franchise (WNBA’s Los Angeles team, The LA Sparks), banking (LA’s Broadway Federal Bank), and various real estate, consumer, financial and trading businesses.
Chairman of The LA Sparks, she’s also a member of the WNBA Board of Governors. Madison recently retired from NBCUniversal, where she had been Executive Vice President of Diversity as well as a Vice President of the General Electric Company (GE).
During her 22 years with NBCU, she held a number of successful leadership roles, including President and General Manager of NBC4 Los Angeles, Los Angeles Regional General Manager for NBCU’s Telemundo TV stations and Vice President and News Director of NBC4 New York. In 2007, she was appointed to lead diversity for NBCU. It was the first time a company ofcer assumed a full-time responsibility as the business-lead for diversity. That same year, Madison was named a Company Officer for GE, then the parent company of NBCU, now operated by the Comcast Corporation.
After Vassar College, her early career was spent as a newspaper reporter in New York and Texas, then a TV news manager and executive in Dallas, Tulsa and Houston. Finally, she returned to her native New York City as NBC4’s Assistant News Director, becoming the station’s Vice President and News Director in March 1996.
Her career as a journalist led to a 1996 Peabody Award for NBC4 New York’s investigation, "A License to Kill." Madison’s continued dedication to quality journalism helped NBC4
Los Angeles earn numerous Emmy, Golden Mike and Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards. Honored for corporate leadership and community outreach, Madison was named one of the "75 Most Powerful African Americans in Corporate America" by Black Enterprise Magazine in 2005 and included in the Hollywood Reporter’s "Power 100."
A marathoner, Madison also received the "Citizen of the Year Award" from the City of Los Angeles Marathon in 2004 and the Anti-Defamation League’s "2003 Deborah Award." Ebony Magazine listed her in the "Power 150 in Media."
In 2010, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa appointed her one of five Library Commissioners for the nation’s second largest public library system.
Madison is a Board Member of the Friends of the California African American Museum, Greater Los Angeles United Way, the Los Angeles Library Foundation, Chairman of the California Science Center Foundation, Vice Chair of National Medical Fellowships, the Center
for Public Integrity, the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, the Los Angeles Public Library Commission, Cardinal Spellman High School, Vassar College Board of Trustees and Chair of The Nell Williams Family Foundation.
A native of Harlem, Madison and her husband reside in Los Angeles.
Kenneth H. Zimmerman
Ken directs the Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs. A lawyer with more than two decades of leadership in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, he has devoted his career to justice and equality, focusing on access to opportunity for people of color and low- income communities. Prior to Open Society, he was a litigation partner heading the pro bono practice group at Lowenstein Sandler PC. He was on the presidential transition team preparing the Obama Administration’s strategy for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He was also chief counsel to New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine (2006 to 2008) and the first executive director of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. Zimmerman began his career as a legal services lawyer in Oakland, California, and a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. He received his B.A. from Yale University and J.D. from Harvard Law School, both magna cum laude.
Paula Williams Madison, Chairman and CEO of Madison Media Management LLC, declares that black males must take pride in their family, heritage, and community. According to Madison, the insistence that "shame not be brought upon our families", is the key to societal enfranchisement.