The 39th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast Celebration
"Illuminating the Elements of Meritocracy"
Paula Williams Madison
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 officer 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.
Paula Williams Madison is currently a partner in Williams Group Holdings LLC, a Chicago-based, family-owned company, which has significant investments in media (The Africa Channel), a sports franchise (the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks), and various real estate, consumer, financial and trading businesses.Chairman and CEO of the Sparks, she's also a member of the WNBA Board of Governors.
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.
In June 2012, she was featured on the cover of Broadcasting & Cable magazine’s “Women in the Game,” which profiled the twelve most powerful women in sports television. She was recently honored for her philanthropy by the Jenesse Center, a shelter for families plagued by domestic violence.
In 2005, Madison was named one of the “75 Most Powerful African Americans in Corporate America” by Black Enterprise magazine and was 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 Greater Los Angeles United Way, a past Chairman of the California Science Center Foundation, Vice Chair of National Medical Fellowships, the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, the Los Angeles Public Library Commission, Cardinal Spellman High School, and Chair of The Nell Williams Family Foundation.
A native of Harlem, Madison and her husband reside in Los Angeles.