Phylis Eagle-Oldson dedicated a significant portion of her career to the cause of diversity in media. She served as President and CEO of the Emma L. Bowen Foundation (EBF) for nearly 15 years before retiring in 2015. She also served as an officer and member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors from 1994 to 1999. During her tenure, Ms. Eagle-Oldson drew on her ties to the cable industry to lead extraordinary efforts to raise EBF’s profile. Under her leadership, the number of sponsoring companies grew from 17 in 1999 to more than 40 in 2014. Ms. Eagle-Oldson credits her prior experience at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) for moving EBF from a passion-driven media-sponsored initiative to an organization playing an integral role in the placement of young professionals of color into the media industry. Under Ms. Eagle-Oldson’s direction, EBF developed a multi-year internship program that prepared students for work that went far beyond the basics. “We want to encourage companies to not only hire EBF grads, but to continue supporting their professional development right up to the C-level and the board level… so companies get the benefit of a broad perspective at the levels where strategic decisions are made. And it makes good business sense. When you look at the demographics of our country, if you don’t do it, you're not paying attention to what the business model is,” she once said in an interview. Prior to joining EBF, Ms. Eagle-Oldson served as NCTA’s Vice President for Administration and Finance from 1985 to 1999, and in other roles there since 1980. She was inducted in the Minority Media and Telecommunication Council Hall of Fame in 2004, and was the 2007 recipient of the Everett C. Parker Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in the cause of diversity. She was also the recipient of the United Church of Christ’s 2007 Donald H. McGannon Award for leadership in diversity. She was recognized by the Alliance for Women in Media in 2011, the organization’s 60th anniversary, as one of the top 60 women in media.
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