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Macdonald, Eleanor 1910-2004

MACDONALD, Eleanor 1910-2004

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born September 1, 1910, in Wanstead, Essex, England; died February 11, 2004. Businessperson, consultant, and author. After a successful career in business management, Macdonald ran the Women in Management consulting firm, which helped train women to compete in the male-dominated business world. Thrust into business of necessity after her father went bankrupt, she joined forces with her brother Ian to open and operate fencing schools in London and Croydon during the 1930s. With the onset of World War II, she volunteered her services to the British War Office's Censorship Department, where her innate skills in organization and management caused her to rise through the ranks. She eventually headed departments managing research, censorship, and intelligence for the government and advised the Minister of Information. Her skill in intelligence work led to her being appointed M.B.E., something that was extremely infrequent at the time for a woman. After the war, Macdonald went back to college and earned a bachelor's degree from the University of London in 1947, while also earning an income as a staff controller for the department store Selfridge's in London. Finding a job with the cosmetics company Atkinson's, a Unilever subsidiary, Macdonald next went into product marketing and development. Her continuing gift in management was useful in employee development, and she was promoted to director of a number of other Unilever companies, including ten years with the United Africa Company. As a sidebar, Macdonald also helped provide cosmetics to women in hospitals to improve their morale and self-esteem, and she led an effort to train African women in childcare and dressmaking. Leaving Unilever in 1969, Macdonald founded her own consulting firm, Women in Management, for which she served as president until 1989. Honored with an honorary doctorate from Bradford University, and appointed to the Order of the British Empire, she was the coauthor of The Art of Fencing (1938) and Live by Beauty (1960), and the author of The Successful Women at Home and in Society (1963) and An Autobiography of a Pioneer Business Woman: Nothing by Chance (1987).



Times (London, England), March 1, 2004, p. 24.

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