PRESS ROOM: The HistoryMakers Kicks Off Black History Month on PBS with a One-On-One Interview Program: An Evening with Ken Chenault as part of its Groundbreaking Business Initiative

Viewers will hear about Ken Chenault from Oprah Winfrey, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffett, NBA legends and Hall of Famers Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr. and many others

Over the next two to three years, according to Richardson, The HistoryMakers will focus on adding 150 additional interviews of noted African American business leaders to its collection – increasing its BusinessMakers category to 500. (Image of Ken Chenault, Black Enterprise / YouTube)
Over the next two to three years, according to Richardson, The HistoryMakers will focus on adding 150 additional interviews of noted African American business leaders to its collection – increasing its BusinessMakers category to 500. (Image of Ken Chenault, Black Enterprise / YouTube)

Chicago, Illinois – The HistoryMakers announces the one-on-one interview program, An Evening with Ken Chenault. The hour-long program provides a rare, inside, look into the life and career of one of America’s most successful CEOs – Ken Chenault. The program is hosted by CBS sportscaster and NFL network host James “J.B.” Brown and serves up a master class on corporate and civic leadership featuring interviews from those who know and have worked with Chenault during his phenomenal career.

Viewers will hear from Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffett; former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns; Merck CEO Kenneth C. Frazier; Lazard Freres Senior Managing Director Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.; Media legend Oprah Winfrey; Co-Founder and Co-Executive Chairman of The Carlyle Group David Rubenstein; former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Harvard President Larry Bacow and former Harvard University President Drew Faust; NBA legends and Hall of Famers Julius “Dr. J” Erving and Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr.; Chair of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts Katherine Farley; his sons Kenneth and Kevin Chenault and his wife, Kathryn Chenault, among many others. An Evening With Ken Chenault peers behind the veil of Chenault’s rise to the head of one of the world’s most successful companies, and sheds light on his effective leadership as well as his legacy.

“We’re excited to have produced the ‘must see’ program,” says Julieanna Richardson, Founder and President, The HistoryMakers. Having the opportunity to showcase the life and career of the most preeminent business leaders of our time – Ken Chenault presents a unique master class on corporate and civic leadership.

Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett describes Chenault “as one of the greatest leaders of our time. He is a leader, he is competitive, and he is smart. The real test of leadership is when you go up the mountain and your troops follow you,” says Buffett. “They follow you because they believe in you and they believe you do see the value over the top mountain. If they don’t see it, they will still follow.”

Chenault when asked about his legacy ends the program saying: “My most important legacy that I can leave is that I made a meaningful difference in people’s lives, I hope I have been a catalytic agent for change,” says Chenault. “I firmly believe that none of us should be satisfied by the status quo—you should always try to change the status quo.”

Check your local listings for An Evening with Ken Chenault starting Sunday, February 3.

Over the next two to three years, according to Richardson, The HistoryMakers will focus on adding 150 additional interviews of noted African American business leaders to its collection – increasing its BusinessMakers category to 500.  Some of those already interviewed include Johnson Publishing founder John H. Johnson, former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, Motown founder Berry Gordy, RadioOne founder Cathy Hughes, and Ariel Investments President, Mellody Hobson.

Currently, the history of African Americans in business make up less than one percent of Harvard Business School case studies, and there are no dedicated exhibits or collection of African American business leaders in any of the nation’s repositories.

“It is critical to show the world that African Americans have had an active role to play in both entrepreneurship and in corporate America,” said Richardson.  “This story has been overlooked for far too long and deserves to be highlighted.”

BusinessMakers interviews will give The HistoryMakers unique context that can be aggregated and packaged for delivery in a variety of distribution formats for different audiences such as corporations, higher education, museums and media.

The HistoryMakers, a 501 (c) (3) national non-profit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, is dedicated to recording and preserving the personal histories of well-known and unsung African Americans. It is the largest video oral history archive of its kind, and the only massive attempt, since the WPA Slave Narratives of the 1930’s, to record the African American experience in the first voice.

In 2014, it was announced that the Library of Congress would serve as the permanent repository for The HistoryMakers Collection. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, interviewed by The HistoryMakers in 2010, added, “The HistoryMakers archive provides invaluable first-person accounts of both well-known and unsung African-Americans, detailing their hopes, dreams and accomplishments—often in the face of adversity, this culturally important collection is a rich and diverse resource for scholars, teachers, students and documentarians seeking a more complete record of our nation’s history and its people.” To date, the organization has interviewed more than 3,200 HistoryMakers, with the goal of creating an archive of 5,000 interviews (30,000 hours) for the establishment of a one-of-a-kind digital archive.

For more information, visit The HistoryMakers website at: http://www.pbs.org/program/evening-ken-chenault/ and to view trailer of An Evening With Ken Chenault, click here: https://www.pbs.org/show/evening-ken-chenault/

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