POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—On Thursday, December 9, at 4:00pm in Rockefeller Hall, Room 200, Vassar College’s Africana Studies Program will host a public conversation with alumna Paula Madison, executive vice president of diversity for NBC Universal and a company officer for GE. Madison is a member of the Vassar College Board of Trustees and former president of the Alumnae and Alumni Association of Vassar College. Joining her in this conversation will be English professor Kiese Laymon and students Tanay Tatum ’12 and Kendall Coleman ’11.
Madison is the recipient of the National Association of Black Journalist’s (NABJ) 2010 Legacy Award. Aside from her responsibilities at NBC, Madison is also active in numerous professional and community organizations, including the NABJ, the African American Alumni of Vassar College, the National Medical Fellowships, Inc., and the Center for Public Integrity.
An 18-year GE veteran, Madison was named a company officer in June 2007. In May of that same year, NBC Universal President and CEO Jeff Zucker appointed her as the company’s chief diversity officer. When the announcement was made, it was the first time in the history of NBC Universal that a senior executive had diversity as his or her sole responsibility. As the liaison between the company and key national and local leaders, Madison also serves as the diversity spokesperson for NBC Universal. Madison is responsible for working with the company’s business executives to ensure the organization is an industry leader in developing the programs and culture that will enable the company to better reflect the makeup of its increasingly diverse, globally-based customers, clients and audiences.
From November 2000 to May 2007, Madison was the president and general manager of KNBC. She was the first African American woman to become general manager at a network-owned station in a top five market. In April 2002, when NBC purchased the Telemundo network, she added a new title and responsibilities to her repertoire when she was named regional general manager of the Spanish language network’s Los Angeles stations, KVEA and KWHY.
During her tenure at KNBC, Madison’s commitment to rigorous journalism and her avid dedication to the community helped the station earn numerous prestigious industry awards, including local area Emmy, Golden Mike and Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for “Best Newscast” and “Best Investigative Reporting.” Madison has also received a significant number of honors for corporate leadership and community outreach. In 2006, Madison received the Walter Bremond Pioneer of African American Achievement Award, a prestigious honor given by the Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade. She was named one of the 75 Most Powerful African Americans in Corporate America by Black Enterprise Magazine in 2005 and has been included in the Hollywood Reporter’s “Power 100.” Among her many other awards, Madison 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.”
Madison joined KNBC from WNBC, NBC’s station in New York, where she was the station's vice president and news director. After graduating from Vassar College in 1974 with a double major in Black (now Africana) studies and history, Madison began her career as reporter and editor at newspapers in New York and Dallas/Fort Worth.