Posts by Josette Robinson

glass_wall

A few days ago it was announced that Marvin Ellison, formerly of Home Depot will be taking the reigns as CEO of struggling retailer JCPenney.  The announcement was met with strong reception driving up the company’s stock prices.  Ellison is credited for being a driving force behind Home Depot’s comeback after the housing crisis and the market is hoping he can engineer a repeat performance for the department store.  Alongside reports of Ellison’s success was also mention of the fact that he is the first African American CEO JCPenney has had in its 112-year history, and is now the seventh(!) black CEO in the country.

As a woman of color that is in a senior position at my organization, it is inspiring to see that Ellison’s performance and leadership qualities were heavily touted within coverage of his appointment.  Ellison is clearly qualified for the job and has a proven track record of success.   As I read further I came across an interesting article on ThinkProgress.org that discussed a study examining women or people of color in corporate leadership positions.  The author shared that, “women and people of color are more likely to be promoted to the top of struggling companies, a phenomenon that has been dubbed the ‘glass cliff’.”  No matter what previous performance period researchers looked at, return on equity was significantly negative before a woman and/or a person of color became CEO at a Fortune 500 company between 1996 and 2010, even with a variety of factors that could have an impact taken into account.”

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Written on October 17th, 2014 by
Categories: Business, From the News, Main Street | No Comments »

Adidas JS RoundhouseToday, after severe criticism that the shoe makes light of slavery from consumers and from civil rights activists like the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Adidas has reportedly pulled production of the JS Roundhouse Mid Shackle Shoe, designed by knowingly outlandish designer Jeremy Scott.  The sneakers are brightly designed with actual yellowish-orange rubber shackles that fit around the ankles. While initially defending the sneaker that Adidas hoped to be “so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles,” the German shoemaker has now decided against the August store release and recanted its actions with the following statement:

"The design of the JS Roundhouse Mid is nothing more than the designer Jeremy Scott's outrageous and unique take on fashion and has nothing to do with slavery," the statement said. "We apologize if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace."

But many people, of all races, are not buying it.  Jesse Jackson thinks the shoes are an “attempt to commercialize and make popular more than 200 years of human degradation.”   I agree with him to an extent.  I personally think these shoes are ridiculous, and there is nothing fashionable about them, but you can bet your bottom dollar there would’ve been thousands of teens (and I’m sure the majority African American) sleeping outside Foot Locker to pick these up if they were released as planned, and that is what really bothers me.

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Written on June 19th, 2012 by
Categories: From the News | 3 Comments »

In a story today on Gawker an employee of LA-based Mercury Public Affairs, a firm retained by Walmart, was exposed as a poser who infiltrated local labor group meetings by identifying herself as a reporter.  Stephanie Harnett allegedly tried to get the inside scoop on behalf of her client, which is trying to open a store in LA’s Chinatown area.  We all know Walmart has been in the news recently for its alleged role in some other not-so-ethical issues in Mexico where the chain is looking to expand its presence. With such a high profile reputational blunder having just been made, I’m sure you’re wondering, as am I, just how much of this story is true and if it is, how the company could allow this to happen on its watch.

Well, according to the updates on Gawker, Walmart is blaming Mercury saying they did not authorize the scheme and the PR firm is taking full responsibility by pointing the finger at Ms. Harnett who was described by one managing director as a “junior member of our team who made an immature decision." Somehow, I’m having a tough time believing that Ms. Harnett came up with this little scheme all by herself. My disbelief aside, Mercury later confirmed to Gawker that Ms. Harnett had in fact been fired.

Unfortunately, this story further perpetuates the negative perception that many have of the PR industry and it doesn’t do much for Walmart’s brand as their corporate ethics have continued to be called into question.  That being said, what continues to bother me is the nagging feeling that Stephanie Harnett is being thrown under the cart so Walmart can save face.

I’d be curious to hear your thoughts. Please share in the comments. CJP

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Written on June 14th, 2012 by
Categories: From the News, Public Relations | 2 Comments »

I’ve been fascinated by the media drama that resulted from Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen’s comment that Ann Romney “never worked a day in her life.” While I don’t condone the personal attack on Ann Romney or think that stay at home “Lululemon” moms do nothing, I have a strong opinion on this as someone who was raised by a very hardworking mom.  This and a recent conversation I had on parents who really steer the path of their children’s lives early on (getting them into the top pre-schools, etc.), got me thinking…does the fact that one is raised by a working mom or stay-at-home mom who might be more hands on in steering their lives influence their success-level in life?

As I mentioned, my mom was very hard-working  and passed on that same work ethic to me, but she wasn’t the PTA mom and our house wasn’t the one where everyone congregated while fresh baked cookies were in the oven. I went to public schools all my life until I attended Fordham University (a private school) and I think I turned out alright. BUT what if my mom didn’t work so much and had the financial resources to really “groom me,”  would it be CJ-R (as in “Robinson”) Communications on the door?  I’m guessing that French feminist philosopher Elisabeth Badinter, author of recently released The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women, which argues that over parenting is holding women back, would scream NO!

Honestly, I don’t think it matters. While I do think upbringing plays a role in how we develop into adulthood, I also feel we are the masters of our own destiny. If I had to choose, I’d say I want to be a mom that brings home the bacon and cooks it, but life happens and if I can’t do that, I’ll be a guiding force in my kids life regardless. . . just like my mom was for me. What do you think? Take the poll below. CJP


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Written on April 24th, 2012 by
Categories: From the News, Miscellaneous Musings | 2 Comments »

Photo Credit: Kirsten Luce, The New York Times

The NYPD seems to have an ongoing issue of reputation management with how they are perceived by the public they serve. Some may argue this reputation is unfounded and others would deem it accurate and well-deserved. From my perspective, it appears that quite a bit of the NYPD’s reputational issues stem from racially charged occurrences, and while this can be an uncomfortable topic for some, it truly fascinates me. I don’t think anyone can dispute just how tough and dangerous a job these officers have, but does that give them the option to choose who they protect and serve?

One recent bit of news in particular that made me shake my head in disbelief were the racial slurs plastered all over a Facebook group entitled "No More West Indian Day Detail,” where officers regarded parade revelers as “animals” and “savages” and wished they would “kill each other.” My first reaction at reading this in the news was one of surprise, not because I couldn’t fathom people - cops or otherwise - being racist, but because they were dumb enough to create a Facebook group with this trash. How do you litter a public domain with such hateful language as a civil servant that the public looks to for protection? Their rationale, “It’s not racist, if it’s true.”

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Written on December 22nd, 2011 by
Categories: From the News | 1 Comment »