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Rice, Linda Johnson 1958–

Linda Johnson Rice 1958

Publishing company executive

Earned a Business Degree

Donated Time and Money to Others

Established JPC Goals for the 1990s

Promoted to President and CEO

Sources

Linda Johnson Rice knew from the age of six that she wanted to work with her mother, Eunice W. Johnson, and her father, John H. Johnson, at the eponymously-named publishing company they founded in 1942. Still she had to wait until the mature age of seven to begin training for her chosen career. Since that tender age she has worked herself into the posts of president and chief executive officer of Johnson Publishing Company (JPC), the largest black-owned publisher of magazines in the United States. The Chicago-based company has more than 2,000 employees, owns Ebony and Jet magazines in addition to a number of radio stations; syndicates television shows; markets Fashion Fair and Ebone cosmetics and hair-care products, and, beginning in 1993, sells clothing for black women through a joint-venture with the Spiegel Co. under the name E-Style.

Born on March 22, 1958, in Chicago, Illinois, Rices childhood playground was the fashion department of Ebony magazine, where she regularly visited her mother, then the secretary-treasurer and fashion editor. William Berry, a journalism professor who was an editor with Ebony for seven years, recalled to the USC News, She was always asking you questions, trying to figure out what you were doing. Rice even attended meetings in which editors were making important decisions such as what photo to put on the magazines cover. Wed struggle over different pictures, Berry noted, and then Linda would say something like, Well, so-and-sos not frowning in that picture. I like that one better. And sometimes you thought, You know, shes right. By the time Rice was in college, she was getting even more involved with the company, helping with the selection of gowns for the Ebony Fashion Fair, the companys traveling fashion show.

Going into the family business was solely Rices decision; John H. Johnson never pushed his daughter into the business, but he tried to set an example for her that she might want to emulate, reported Ebony magazine. It was after completing her undergraduate work at the University of California-Los Angeles that she started working closely with her father. At first I was like a sponge, sitting in all the editorial meetings, watching how he made decisions, she told Working Woman. Rice was present at every important meeting Johnson had and reviewed every piece of incoming mail, along with her fathers response to those correspondents.

The more Rice learned, the more she wanted to know and become involved with all aspects of the publishing company, including advertising, circulation, and Fashion Fair Cosmetics. Although she was the unchallenged heir to her fathers empire, she gained self-confidence and a more analytical approach to management problems by going to business school. She didnt need it [a graduate business degree] for me but for herself, Johnson told writer Renee Edelman in Working Woman. It is difficult to establish credibility [in the business world], he said, and the masters degree was a way to answer any possible critics.

Earned a Business Degree

While taking graduate business courses at night at the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at

At a Glance

Born on March 22, 1958, in Chicago, IL; adopted by John H. (owner of a publishing company) and Eunice W. Johnson (editor); married S. Andre Rice, 1984 (divorced 1994); children: Alexa Christina. Education: University of Southern California, Los Angeles, BA, 1980; Northwestern University, MBA, 1987.

Career: Johnson Publishing Co., Chicago, IL, vice president, 198087, president and chief operating officer, 19872002, president and chief executive officer, 2002-.

Memberships: National Association of Black Journalists; Womens Board, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago; Board of trustees: Museum of Contemporary Art, University of Southern California; board of directors: Continental Bank Corp, Magazine Publishers of America, Bausch & Lomb, Kimberly-Clark Corp, Omnicom, Viad Corp, Quaker Oats Co., Northwestern Memorial Corp., National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Princess Grace Foundation.

Awards: From Whence We Came Award, Allstate Insurance Co., 1999; Phenomenal Woman Award, 2000.

Addresses: Office Johnson Publishing Company, 820 5. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605.

Northwestern University, Rice traveled to Europe for the couture showings and helped select models for the show. Rice also helped direct Fashion Fair Fashions, a mail order catalog featuring quality clothing targeted to women who read Ebony. Later she would use her business connections to lure entertainers onto the syndicated television show Ebony/Jet Showcase that her company began producing.

Of her education at Northwestern, Rice told Ebony that although it was difficult juggling her responsibilities at Johnson Publishing and going to school at night, she believed that Northwestern helped prepare her for her position. We did a lot of case study work, which is really the Harvard Business School method also. It really taught you how to think through a problem. How to recognize what the problem is. How to come up with different strategies to solve the problem. How to look at the competition and the barriers to entry, as they call it. And then how to come up with a conclusion for it. And I think that was very important, she said.

Rices father, John H. Johnson, promoted his daughter to the number two spot with Johnson Publishing after she received her master of business administration in management degree from Northwestern University in 1987. Johnson had founded the business in 1942. Using a $500 loanhis mothers furniture served as collateralhe sent 20,000 people a letter offering subscriptions to a new black magazine, Negro Digest. From that early base, Johnson built an empire in publishing, broadcasting, cosmetics, and, in a separate company, life insurance.

Rices brother, John Jr., two years older than she, was never a rival for a role in the company. According to Working Woman, John Jr. didnt want to be a publisher like his father. Instead, he chose photography and adventure sports such as racecar driving and skydiving. John Jr., who had suffered from sickle-cell anemia since childhood, died in December of 1981 at age 25.

The senior Johnson, who was 69 when he handed day-to-day responsibility for JPC operations over to Rice, continued to set strategy and policy at the company, in his capacity as chairperson, chief executive, and publisher. Some business experts questioned whether Ricestill in her thirtieswas capable of running the multi-million-dollar company; others expressed more confidence in her abilities to Business Week reporter Lois Therrien. Clearly she is ready, said Earl G. Graves, editor and publisher of Black Enterprise. She certainly has the sophistication and training for the job.

Donated Time and Money to Others

Rices single-minded devotion to working in the family business did not mean she does not enjoy her leisure time. An avid horseback rider since childhood, she has won awards in equestrian hunting and jumping events and still enjoys riding. She also swims and plays tennis, and she seldom misses a Chicago Bulls home basketball game. Like her parents, Rice is an avid art lover and collector and devotes considerable time to charitable concerns, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago and the United Negro College Fund. She sits on the board of directors of such companies as Bausch & Lomb, Kimberly-Clark Corp., Viad Corp., Quaker Oats Co., and numerous others. Rice is also the member of the board of trustees for the Museum of Contemporary Art and University of Southern California.

In an extensive interview in Ebony magazine celebrating JPCs 50th anniversary in 1992, Rice said that being involved with charitable endeavors, whether as a volunteer or a contributor, is important for everyone. Thats where it starts, she said. It has got to start with someone who can give hands-on time to somebodyto a child, to an elderly person, to a handicapped person. To someone who is illiterate, just sit down for an hour and teach them how to read. Thats where it all starts. You cant just take, take, take. Well never progress as a group of people without giving back.

In the same interview with Ebony senior staff editor Lynn Norment, Rice talked about her management style, her goals, and her aspirations as the company prepared for its next half-century. What I learned from [my father] is that you must pay a great deal of attention to details, she said. I dont think you have to oversee every individual blade of grass, but you should know the fundamentals of how to make that grass grow. Thats the only way for you to supervise and know if the person you are giving directions to is doing the right thing. Youve got to know how to do what they are doing.

People have this image about black companies sometimes, that they are not as professional, that they are not as well organized, Rice continued in the Ebony interview. I dont think thats true at all if you look at us, if you look at Black Enterprise, if you look at Essence, if you look at Soft Sheen, and H.J. Russell & Co. These are first-class companies. People are amazed. And its not only white people who are amazed, but black people are amazed, too. There is something wonderful about working in the environment in this company, looking around and seeing other black people who are your coworkers, whom you have good feelings about, and who are professionals. Johnson Publishing Co. has always had a first-class image. And until the day I die, I want to keep that image.

Established JPC Goals for the 1990s

Rice, who gets up at six in the morning to be in her office by 7:30 a.m., had ambitious plans for the continued growth and expansion of JPC. She wanted to expand the circulation of the business with direct-mail campaigns and advertising, extend the cosmetics company internationally to reach women of color around the world, and develop television specials and documentaries. One such venture in the broadcast media was the Ebony/Jet Guide to Black Excellence, a videotape series created to motivate and inspire black youth. Actor Charles Dutton, former Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder, Maxima Corporate chief Joshua Smith, Childrens Defense Fund Founder/President Marian Wright Edelman, and author and poet Maya Angelou are featured in the series, which is narrated by actor Avery Brooks.

The videotape series focused on entrepreneurship, leadership, entertainment and the arts, and includes accompanying guidebooks for parents, educators, and young people. We feel this series is especially significant for black youth in their formative years because it features black achievers to whom they can relate, said Rice at a press conference announcing the video guides. It features black achievers who have overcome many of the same obstacles they may be facing nowblack achievers who tell them in a very inspiring way how they made it and indeed how [viewers] can make it too.

In a 1990 interview with Fortune magazines Brian Dumaine, Rice summed up her outlook for African-American business people. There are more opportunities today for the black entrepreneur than in many years, she said. They have learned how to acquire capital, how to put together business plans, and how to start enterprises. There is still some discrimination in lending practices, and certain bank officers will have petty prejudices. A black entrepreneur has to be equally if not more prepared than a white to get his fair share of loan money.

Rice has been the recipient of several awards. In 1999 she was honored with the From Whence We Came Award from the Allstate Insurance Company. The following year she was recognized for her leadership with a Phenomenal Woman Award. Upon receiving the award, Rice made it a point to recognize her mother and grandmother, as well. I accept this award not only for that which you have so kindly noted I have achieved in corporate America, but I also accept in honor of the phenomenal women who came before me, she was quoted as saying in Jet.

Promoted to President and CEO

In the spring of 2002 Rice was named president and chief executive officer of JPC. Health problems had kept her father out of the office for a year, and, after an Ebony editors meeting, he gave Rice a letter thanking her for taking the reins in his absence. The letter went on to say, according to the USC News, In light of all youve done, I want you to have the title of CEO. Rices promotion was announced at an Ebony-sponsored luncheon to honor black women in the media on April 12, 2002.

One of the few women to take control of a family publishing empire, Rice introduced a different managerial style to JPC. My father is the entrepreneur, and Im more of an operations person, Rice was quoted as saying in USC News. When youre an entrepreneur, you have a vision for the birth and growth of a business. When the business gets to this size, you focus on how to manage the growth. However, Rice planned few significant changes in the way JPC is run. It would be a mistake to come in and alter a lot of things, she commented in the USC News. We have a tried-and-true formula, but we are always making subtle changes. In the future, Rice hoped to devote more coverage to such issues as education, economic parity, and drug abuse.

As the publishing industry faced a challenging timein 2002 advertising revenues were at the lowest the industry had seen in yearssuch subtle changes would be necessary for success. Yet with more than 2,500 employees, JPC maintained its family business atmosphere. Managers keep their office doors open and many employees stay with the company for thirty years or more. This is more than a business, Rice told Folio: The Magazine for Magazine Management, in 1994. This is my life. This is my family.

Sources

Books

Whos Who Among African Americans, 16th Edition, Gale, 2003.

Periodicals

Business Week, July 13, 1987, p. 40.

Ebony, September 1987, p. 26; November 1992, pp. 208215.

Folio: The Magazine for Magazine Management, July 1, 1994, pp. 7274.

Fortune, March 26, 1990, p. 52.

Jet, November 19, 1984, pp. 1017; July 6, 1987, p. 6; November 9, 1992, p. 6; December 30January 6,1992; March 8,1999, p. 32; May 1, 2000, p. 22; December 18, 2000, p. 23; April 29, 2002, p. 16. Working Woman, February 1990, pp. 8485; May 1992, p. 67.

On-tine

Jetsetter, USC News, www.usc.edu/dept/pubrel/trojan_family/winter02/jetsetter.html (accessed September 8, 2003).

Johnson Publishing Company President Elected to Quaker Oats Board, Quaker Oats Official Website, www.quakeroats.com/qfb_News/PressRelease (accessed September 8, 2003).

Laurie Freeman and Jennifer M. York

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Freeman, Laurie; York, Jennifer. "Rice, Linda Johnson 1958–." Contemporary Black Biography. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. 23 Jul. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Freeman, Laurie; York, Jennifer. "Rice, Linda Johnson 1958–." Contemporary Black Biography. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. (July 23, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2874300060.html

Freeman, Laurie; York, Jennifer. "Rice, Linda Johnson 1958–." Contemporary Black Biography. 2004. Retrieved July 23, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2874300060.html

Rice, Linda Johnson 1958–

Linda Johnson Rice 1958

Publishing company executive

At a Glance

Earned a Business Degree

Donated Time and Money to Others

Established JPC Goals for the 1990s

Sources

Linda Johnson Rice knew from the age of six that she wanted to work with her mother, Eunice W. Johnson, and her father, John J. Johnson, at the eponymously-named publishing company they founded in 1942. Still, she had to wait until the mature age of seven to begin training for her chosen career. Since that tender age she has worked herself into the posts of president and chief operating officer of Johnson Publishing Company (JPC), the largest black-owned publisher of magazines in the United States. The Chicago-based company has more than 2,000 employees, owns Ebony and Jet magazines, owns a number of radio stations, syndicates television shows, markets Fashion Fair and Ebone cosmetics and hair-care products, and, beginning in 1993, sells clothing for black women through a jointventure with the Spiegel Co. under the name E-Style.

Rices childhood playground was the fashion department of Ebony magazine, where she regularly visited her mother, then the secretary-treasurer and fashion editor of the magazine. By the time Rice was in college, she was getting even more involved with the company, helping with the selection of gowns for Ebony Fashion Fair, the companys traveling fashion show. While taking graduate business courses at night at the J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, Rice traveled to Europe for the couture showings and helped select models for the show. Rice also helped direct Fashion Fair Fashions, a mail order catalog featuring quality clothing targeted to women who read Ebony. Later she would use her business connections to lure entertainers onto the syndicated television show, Ebony/Jet Showcase, that her company began producing.

Rices adoptive father, John H. Johnson, promoted his only daughter to the number two spot with Johnson Publishing after she received her Master of Business Administration in Management degree from Northwestern University in 1987. Johnson had founded the business in 1942. Using a $500 loanhis mothers furniture served as collateralhe sent 20,000 people a letter offering subscriptions to a new black magazine, Negro Digest. The magazine, which eventually became Black World, closed in 1975, having fallen from a peak circulation of 100,000 to 15,000.

From that early base, Johnson built an empire in publishing, broadcasting, cosmetics, and, in a separate company, life insurance. Rices brother, John Jr., two years older than she, was never a rival for a role in the company. According to Working Woman, John Jr. didnt want to be a publisher like

At a Glance

Born March 22,1958, Chicago, IL; daughter of John H. (owner of a publishing company) and Eunice W. Johnson; married S, Andre Rice, 1984; children: Alexa Christina. Education: University of Southern California, Los Angeles, B.A., 1980; Northwestern University, M.B.A., 1987.

Johnson Publishing Co., Chicago, IL, vice president, 198087, president-chief operating officer, 1987, Executive producer, Ebony/Jet Showcase; board of trustees, Museum of Contemporary Art; Womens Board, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago; board of directors, Continental Bank Corp.; board of directors, Magazine Publishers of America; board of directors, Bausch & Lomb.

Addresses: Office Johnson Publishing Company, 820 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605.

his father. Instead, he chose photography and adventure sports such as race car driving and skydiving. John Jr., who had suffered since childhood from sickle-cell anemia, died in December of 1981 at age 25.

Earned a Business Degree

Of her education at Northwestern, Rice told Ebony that although it was difficult juggling her responsibilities at Johnson Publishing and going to school at night, she believes that Northwestern helped prepare her for her position. We did a lot of case study work, which is really the Harvard Business School method also. It really taught you how to think through a problem. How to recognize what the problem is. How to come up with different strategies to solve the problem. How to look at the competition and the barriers to entry, as they call it. And then how to come up with a conclusion for it. And I think that was very important, she said.

The senior Johnson, who was 69 when he handed day-today responsibility for JPC operations to Rice, continues to set strategy and policy at the company, in his capacity as chairperson, chief executive, and publisher. Some business experts questioned whether Rice, still in her thirtieswas capable of running the multi-million-dollar company; others expressed more confidence in her abilities to Business Week reporter Lois Therrien. Clearly she is ready, said Earl G. Graves, editor and publisher of Black Enterprise. She certainly has the sophistication and training for the job.

Both she and her father agree, going into the family business was Rices decision; John H. Johnson never pushed his daughter into the business, but he tried to set an example for her that she might want to emulate, reported Ebony magazine. It was after completing her undergraduate work at the University of California-Los Angeles that she started working closely with her father. At first I was like a sponge, sitting in all the editorial meetings, watching how he made decisions, she told Working Woman. Rice was present at every important meeting Johnson had and reviewed every piece of incoming mail, along with her fathers response to those correspondents.

The more Rice learned, the more she wanted to know and become involved with all aspects of the publishing company, including advertising, circulation, and Fashion Fair Cosmetics. Although she was the unchallenged heir to her fathers empire, she gained self-confidence and a more analytical approach to management problems by going to business school. She didnt need it [a graduate business degree] for me but for herself, Johnson told writer Renee Edelman in Working Woman. It is difficult to establish credibility [in the business world], he said, and the masters degree was a way to answer any possible critics.

Donated Time and Money to Others

Rices singleminded devotion to working in the family business does not mean she does not enjoy her leisure time. An avid horseback rider since childhood, she has won awards in equestrian hunting and jumping events and still enjoys riding. She also swims and plays tennis, and she seldom misses a Chicago Bulls home basketball game. Like her parents, Rice is an avid art lover and collector and devotes considerable time to charitable concerns, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago and the United Negro College Fund. She also is a trustee of the Museum of Contemporary Art.

In an extensive interview in Ebony magazine celebrating JPCs 50th anniversary in 1992, Rice said that being involved with charitable endeavors, whether as a volunteer or a contributor, is important for everyone. Thats where it starts, she said. It has got to start with someone who can give hands-on time to somebodyto a child, to an elderly person, to a handicapped person. To someone who is illiterate, just sit down for an hour and teach them how to read. Thats where it all starts. You cant just take, take, take. Well never progress as a group of people without giving back.

In the same interview with Ebony senior staff editor Lynn Norment, Rice talked about her management style, her goals, and her aspirations as the company prepared for its next half-century. What I learned from [my father] is that you must pay a great deal of attention to details, she said. I dont think you have to oversee every individual blade of grass, but you should know the fundamentals of how to make that grass grow. Thats the only way for you to supervise and know if the person you are giving directions to is doing the right thing. Youve got to know how to do what they are doing.

People have this image about black companies sometimes, that they are not as professional, that they are not as well organized, Rice continued in the Ebony interview. I dont think thats true at all if you look at us, if you look at Black Enterprise, if you look at Essence, if you look at Soft Sheen, and H.J. Russell & Co. These are first-class companies. People are amazed. And its not only white people who are amazed, but black people are amazed, too. There is something wonderful about working in the environment in this company, looking around and seeing other black people who are your coworkers, whom you have good feelings about, and who are professionals. Johnson Publishing Co. has always had a first-class image. And until the day I die, I want to keep that image.

Established JPC Goals for the 1990s

Rice, who gets up at six in the morning to be in her office by 7:30 a.m., has ambitious plans for the continued growth and expansion of JPC. She wants to expand the circulation of the business with direct-mail campaigns and advertising; extend the cosmetics company internationally to reach women of color around the world; and develop television specials and documentaries. One such venture in the broadcast media is the Ebony/Jet Guide to Black Excellence, a videotape series create to motivate and inspire black youth. Charles Dutton, star of televisions Roc; former Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder; Maxima Corporate chief Joshua Smith; Childrens Defense Fund Founder/President Marian Wright Edelman; and author and poet Maya Angelou are featured in the series, which is narrated by actor Avery Brooks.

The videotape series focuses on entrepreneurship, leadership, entertainment and the arts, and includes accompanying guidebooks for parents, educators, and young people. We feel this series is especially significant for black youth in their formative years because it features black achievers to whom they can relate, said Rice at a press conference announcing the video guides. It features black achievers who have overcome many of the same obstacles they may be facing nowblack achievers who tell them in a very inspiring way how they made it and indeed how [viewers] can make it too.

In a 1990 interview with Fortune magazines Brian Dumaine, Rice summed up her outlook for African American business people. There are more opportunities today for the black entrepreneur than in many years, she said. They have learned how to acquire capital, how to put together business plans, and how to start enterprises. There is still some discrimination in lending practices, and certain bank officers will have petty prejudices. A black entrepreneur has to be equally if not more prepared than a white to get his fair share of loan money.

Rice added: In the 1990s, blacks could do very well in franchising, including starting their own. Youll also see more and more as broadcast journalists and as owners of radio and television stations. Black entrepreneurs owe it to themselves and to their heritage to tap the labor pool in the inner cities and hire other blackswhether as shipping clerk or a general counsel. Its a shame to see these kids on the street using their brains to sell drugs instead of to get a better education. In my own peer group I see lots of entrepreneurial energy. If my generation doesnt make it, its our own darn fault.

Of her own responsibility to move Johnson Publishing Company forward for the next 50 years, Rice told Ebony: Its not a responsibility that I dwell on every day. I just try to do my work and make the best decisions I can during the day, and then I go to bed at night with a good frame of mind and a good conscience.

Sources

Business Week, July 13, 1987, p. 40.

Ebony, November 1992, pp. 20815; September 1987, p. 26.

Fortune, March 26, 1990, p. 52.

Jet, November 19, 1984, pp. 1017; July 6, 1987, p. 6; November 9, 1992, p. 6; Dec. 30-Jan. 6, 1992.

Working Woman, February 1990, pp. 8485; May 1992, p. 67.

Laurie Freeman

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Freeman, Laurie. "Rice, Linda Johnson 1958–." Contemporary Black Biography. 1995. Encyclopedia.com. 23 Jul. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Freeman, Laurie. "Rice, Linda Johnson 1958–." Contemporary Black Biography. 1995. Encyclopedia.com. (July 23, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2871100057.html

Freeman, Laurie. "Rice, Linda Johnson 1958–." Contemporary Black Biography. 1995. Retrieved July 23, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2871100057.html

Rice, Linda Johnson 1958–

Linda Johnson Rice
1958

President and chief executive officer, Johnson Publishing

Nationality: American.

Born: May 22, 1958, in Chicago, Illinois.

Education: University of Southern California, BA, 1980; Northwestern University, MBA, 1987.

Family: Daughter of John H. Johnson (publisher and chairman of Johnson Publishing) and Eunice W. Johnson (secretary-treasurer of Johnson Publishing and producer-director of Ebony Fashion Fair); married André Rice, 1984 (divorced 1994); children: one.

Career: Johnson Publishing, 19801985, fashion editor of Ebony ; 19851987, vice president; 19872002, president and chief operating officer; 2002, president and chief executive officer.

Awards: Phenomenal Woman Award, 2000; Alumni of the Year, Kellogg School of Management.

Address: Johnson Publishing, 820 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60605; http://www.ebony.com.

Linda Johnson Rice was the first African American woman to be named chief executive officer of a company listed among the top five of the Black Enterprise 100s, the nation's largest black-owned companies. Johnson Publishing, founded by Rice's father, John H. Johnson, had more than $400 million in sales as of 2002 and was the number one black-owned, privately held publishing company in the world, worth $350 million and employing more than 2,500 people. The company opened the eyes of mainstream American businesses to the multibillion-dollar influence of the African American consumer market by convincing mainstream companies that they would be well served by advertising in magazines aimed at black readers. At the same time, the company played a key role in establishing the careers of many African American professionals in publishing and advertising.

EARLY LIFE

Born in Chicago, Rice developed interests as an equestrian and opera singer. However, she always had a keen interest in the family business. From the age of six, she often went straight from school to the Johnson Publishing headquarters south of Chicago's downtown loop. "It was a giant baby-sitter," Rice recalled (USC Trojan Family Magazine, Winter 2002). As she grew, the young Rice began to play a role in the family business. Her father would often include her in meetings with editors debating about which photos to feature as Ebony covers, and the precocious schoolgirl participated actively in the discussions. In addition, Rice would often travel with her mother to France and Italy to shop for haute couture for the Ebony Fashion Fair, a traveling fashion show that raised money for charity.

Rice attended the University of Southern California (USC), earning a BA in journalism in 1980. She collected her first full-time paycheck in 1980 when she became the fashion editor at Johnson Publishing. Over the next several years she held the titles of vice president, president, and chief operating officer. At the same time, she attended Northwestern University's J. L. Kellogg School of Management, earning an MBA in 1988. Rice's early years at Johnson Publishing were noted by William Berry, a University of Illinois journalism professor who was an editor at Ebony for seven years: "I've watched her career over the years, and she's retained the availability of an ordinary person who has extraordinary access to power and capital" (USC Trojan Family Magazine, Winter 2002).

BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENTS

After her promotion to CEO in 2002, Rice oversaw the production of Ebony and Jet magazines and was executive producer of a television show, Ebony/Jet Showcase. In addition, she developed an aggressive advertising campaign for Fashion Fair Cosmetics, which included special events, more gifts with purchases, and glitzier signage in stores. Without changing any of the products, she attempted to further brand them in various arenas, such as video and television.

Rice sat on several corporate boards of directors, including Continental Bank Corporation, Kimberly Clark, and Bausch & Lomb. She was also on the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, the board of directors of Magazine Publishers of America, the Museum of Contemporary Art Board of Trustees, and the USC Board of Trustees. She was also a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP STRATEGIES

Johnson Publishing's change in leadership from John H. Johnson to Linda Johnson Rice was managed sensitively and smoothly, said employees, because of Rice's vision and ability to inspire. In her first few months as CEO, she spent a large portion of each day meeting with groups of employees at all levels of the company. "My door is hardly ever closed," she said. "I'm not the type of CEO that runs a dictatorship, because I don't think that gets you anywhere" (USC Trojan Family Magazine, Winter 2002). Like her father, Rice took pride in knowing the details of the company, approving story lists for each issue and making the final decisions on Ebony covers. According to Rice, "Out of 12 covers a year, you want 12 hits. You want something out there that is appealing and eyecatching. I'd be crazy not to look at them" (USC Trojan Family Magazine, Winter 2002).

With the transition in leadership came a change in managerial style. Rice described her father as an entrepreneur with a fiery temper and the vision required for the birth and growth of a business, while she described herself as a more patient operations person dedicated to managing the size and growth of an established business. Even with more than 2,500 employees nationwide, Johnson Publishing maintained a family atmosphere that reflected the company's leadership, keeping an open-door policy, hand-signing paychecks, and retaining many employees 30 years or longer. Rice was also dedicated to maintaining a healthy mix of business and family time, making a habit of eating Sunday dinners at various local restaurants with her daughter and friends.

BUSINESS STRATEGIES AND PHILOSOPHY

Rice responded to critics that claimed Ebony and Jet were not serious reflections of African American issues by stating, "We are not an investigative magazine. We are a feature magazine. We are not here to pick apart African Americans. We are here to celebrate, and uplift, and inspire" (USC Trojan Family Magazine, Winter 2002). Nonetheless, Rice planned to devote more space in both magazines to the issues of economic equality, education, and drug abuse.

Not a believer in complacency or stagnation, Rice said her drive was inspired both by seeing employees work hard to put out the magazines and hearing the positive responses of readers. "My father built an incredible business, and I don't want to let him down," she said (USC Trojan Family Magazine, Winter 2002). Despite several offers, Rice never considered selling the family business, maintaining the spirit of family pride in ownership and control that outweighed the spirit of capitalism.

Rice took the reins to guide the company through a turbulent time in publishing, with advertising revenues throughout the industry the lowest in years. Although Ebony and Jet overwhelmingly dominated the black publishing market in 2002, they faced mounting competition from emerging niche magazines, such as Essence, Vibe, and Black Enterprise. Despite the proliferation of magazine titles, however, Jet had a circulation of more than 950,000, and Ebony maintained a circulation of more than 10 million readers and 1 million subscribers.

At the same time, Fashion Fair Cosmetics competed with major makeup manufacturers such as Estée Lauder for consumers of various ethnic backgrounds. However, Fashion Fair Cosmetics, the largest black-owned cosmetics firm in the world, selling in 2,500 stores on three continents, was the world's number one line of makeup and skin care products for women of color. In addition, as of 2004 more than 300,000 patrons attended the Ebony Fashion Fair per year, and the show had raised a total of $49 million for charity, the majority of which was used for scholarships for 475 students.

See also entry on Johnson Publishing Company in International Directory of Company Histories.

sources for further information

Bengali, Shashank, "Jetsetter," USC Trojan Family Magazine, Winter 2002, http://www.usc.edu/dept/pubrel/trojan_family/winter02/jetsetter.html.

Bennett, Lerone, Succeeding against the Odds: The Inspiring Autobiography of One of America's Wealthiest Entrepreneurs, New York: Warner Books, 1989.

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Lee McQueen

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McQueen, Lee. "Rice, Linda Johnson 1958–." International Directory of Business Biographies. 2005. Encyclopedia.com. 23 Jul. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

McQueen, Lee. "Rice, Linda Johnson 1958–." International Directory of Business Biographies. 2005. Encyclopedia.com. (July 23, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3448500479.html

McQueen, Lee. "Rice, Linda Johnson 1958–." International Directory of Business Biographies. 2005. Retrieved July 23, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3448500479.html

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