Difference between revisions of "Gertrude Michelson"

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{{person
 
{{person
|wikipedia=
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|wikipedia=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gertrude_Michelson
|description=US businesswoman
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|description=US businesswoman.Deputy Chair of the [[Federal Reserve Bank of New York]]; on the board of the military think tank [[RAND Corporation]],
|image=
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|image=G.G. Michelson 2011.png
 
|nationality=US
 
|nationality=US
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|religion=Jewish
 
|birth_date=June 3, 1925
 
|birth_date=June 3, 1925
 
|birth_place=
 
|birth_place=
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|alma_mater= Pennsylvania State University,Columbia Law School
 
|death_date=January 10, 2015
 
|death_date=January 10, 2015
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|spouses=Horace Michelson
 
|death_place=
 
|death_place=
 
|constitutes=businesswoman
 
|constitutes=businesswoman
}}'''Gertrude Geraldine Michelson''' also known as '''G. G. Michelson''' was an American businesswoman.  
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}}'''Gertrude Geraldine Michelson''', also known as '''G.G. Michelson''' was an American businesswoman. She was the first woman to head the board of trustees of an [[Ivy League]] university ([[Columbia University|Columbia]]), She was Deputy Chair of the [[Federal Reserve Bank of New York]]; and sat on the board of the military [[think tank]] [[RAND Corporation|RAND]] and the [[Markle Foundation]], and corporations like [[General Electric]] and [[Macy's]].
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==Early life and education==
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Gertrude Geraldine Michelson was born Gertrude Geraldine Rosen in [[Jamestown, New York]], on June 3, 1925,<ref name=SlaterSlater>https://archive.org/details/greatjewishwomen00slat/page/334/mode/1up</ref> to Celia (née Cohen) and Thomas Rosen, Jewish immigrants from near [[Vilnius|Vilna]] in the [[Russian Empire]]. Michelson was the youngest of three children, and when she was eleven her mother died of [[tuberculosis]]. During her youth, the family traveled around the United States,<ref name=JWA/> spending time living in the [[Southwestern United States|Southwest]] in hopes that the air would heal Celia's illness, though Michelson and her siblings spent time in an orphanage while treatment was sought. After Celia died, the family moved to [[Upstate New York]].<ref name=NYTObit2>https://web.archive.org/web/20150114081941/https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/14/business/gg-michelson-macys-executive-who-broke-glass-ceilings-dies-at-89.html</ref>
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Michelson studied [[Industrial and organizational psychology|industrial psychology]] at [[Pennsylvania State University]], graduating in 1945 aged nineteen,<ref name=JWA/><ref name=NYT89/> before attending [[Columbia Law School]]. She achieved her [[Bachelor of Laws|LLB]] as one of six women in the class of 1947.<ref name=light>https://www.forbes.com/sites/larrylight/2020/04/13/macys-and-the-100th-anniversary-of-the-19th-amendment/</ref> Michelson, seeking self-improvement, had been inspired to study law by men she met who talked about their ambitions to do so, though her father disapproved.<ref name=JWA/><ref name=NYT89/>
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She was awarded an honorary PhD in [[policy analysis]] by [[RAND|Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School]] in 2002,<ref name=NYTObit1/><ref name=marklehonorarydegrees>https://www.markle.org/about-markle/media-release/markle-foundation-names-g-g-michelson-board-directors</ref> as well as from [[Adelphi University]], [[College of New Rochelle|New Rochelle College]], and [[Marymount Manhattan College]] ([[Doctor of Law]]s).<ref name=JWA/><ref name=marklehonorarydegrees/>
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==Career==
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Michelson did not want to practice law, and instead joined the executive training program at [[Macy's]] upon graduation. She was attracted to the chain because of its large female workforce.<ref name=JWA/> She stayed with Macy's and saw a series of promotions.<ref name=light/> She came up through [[Human resource management|human resources]] and in 1963 became the organization's first female vice president, as VP for employee personnel. In the 1970s she became a senior vice president and took on many national positions, including negotiations with a union representing 20,000 of the company's employees; according to the ''The Women's Book of Records'' she was the only woman at the time to be working with such a major union.<ref name=JWA/>
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In 1970, she was appointed to Macy's New York Executive Committee and Board of Directors, becoming the first woman to sit on it, and in 1980 joined the [[Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York]] before being elected its vice-chair in 1985 and chair in 1989, becoming the first woman to head the governing board of an [[Ivy League]] university.<ref name=NYTObit1>https://www.legacy.com/amp/obituaries/nytimes/173809704</ref><ref name=JWA>https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/michelson-gertrude-geraldine</ref> She chaired Columbia's board until 1992. During her time on the board, it decided to allow women to attend Columbia,<ref name=NYTObit1/> something Michelson pushed for.<ref name=WWD/> She was Chair Emerita of Columbia's Board of Trustees, and was presented the Alumni Medal in 2011, having previously received the James Kent Award, Lawrence A. Wien Prize for Social Responsibility, and Frederick A. Barnard Award; she also sat on the Dean's Council.<ref>https://news.columbia.edu/news/memoriam-gg-michelso</ref><ref>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEU79d7vkjU</ref><ref>https://www.law.columbia.edu/news/archive/wien-prize-awarded-cardozo-and-michelson</ref>
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During her career she sat on the board of directors of major companies in different industries, including Macy's; [[General Electric]]; [[Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company|Goodyear Tire]]; publisher [[Harper (publisher)|Harper and Row]]; food conglomerate [[Quaker Oats Company|Quaker Oats]]; insurance provider [[Chubb Limited|Chubb]]; hardware manufacturer [[Stanley Black & Decker|Stanley Works]]; investment bank [[Irving Trust]];<ref name=JWA/> financial provider [[Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America|TIAA-CREF]]; mediation provider [[American Arbitration Association]]; and the historically black and female [[Spelman College]].
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She was on the board of the military [[think tank]] [[RAND Corporation]] and the [[Markle Foundation]].
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She was also a governor of the [[NYSE American|American Stock Exchange]].<ref name=NYTObit1/> In part due to being the first female board member of General Electric, the company awarded her the Sandra Day O'Connor Board Excellence Award in 2009.<ref name=SlaterSlater/><ref>https://directwomen.org/honoree/general-electric/</ref> She also held roles in public service, including Deputy Chair of the [[Federal Reserve Bank of New York]]; Director of the [[Partnership for New York City|New York City Partnership]]; Director of the [[Better Business Bureau]] of Metropolitan New York; and on the [[New York State Financial Control Board|Emergency Financial Control Board]] as well as various city commissions,<ref name=NYTObit1/><ref name=NYTObit2/>; and for charitable organizations including the [[Helena Rubinstein#Death and legacy|Helena Rubinstein Foundation]]; and [[Catalyst (nonprofit organization)|Catalyst]], which presented her with the Catalyst Award for Contribution to Corporate Leadership. She was also involved with the women's advocacy [[Legal Momentum|NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund]].<ref name=JWA/><ref>http://docshare01.docshare.tips/files/13780/137802510.pdf</ref>
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She was a mentor to male executives including Macy's [[Chief executive officer|CEO]]s [[Terry Lundgren]] and [[Edward Finkelstein]], [[Bloomingdale's]] CEO [[Michael Gould (chief executive)|Michael Gould]],<ref name=WWD/> and General Electric CEO [[Jeff Immelt]].<ref name=Immelt/> Though cited as a female trailblazer who broke many [[glass ceiling]]s for herself and other women,<ref name=NYTObit2/><ref name=light/><ref name=Immelt>Immelt, Jeff (2021). ''Hot Seat: Hard-won Lessons in Challenging Times.'' Amy Wallace. Hachette. ISBN 9781529358704. "Sometime during [the attacks on 9/11] I called up G.G. Michelson, the pioneering R. H. Macy executive who was then on GE's board of directors, for a reality check. Michelson was a rock. She'd broken through many a glass ceiling [...] I sensed that, as somebody who'd weathered the worst storms, she'd give solid advice. When I told her how I was analyzing GE's priorities, she was encouraging."</ref><ref>https://www.sec.gov/news/speech/gender-parity-in-the-american-boardroom.html</ref> Michelson preferred to stay out of the spotlight. In 1989 she told ''The New York Times'' that "sometimes it's better to let others view what you've achieved in historical terms, while you just do the best you can as an individual."<ref>https://www.womeninretail.com/women-retail-pioneer-g-g-michelson-dies-at-89/|access-date=May 16, 2021</ref><ref name=NYT89>https://web.archive.org/web/20150114120417/https://www.nytimes.com/1989/06/21/nyregion/education-columbia-trustee-head-a-low-key-trailblazer.html</ref>
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==Personal life==
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While studying at Columbia Law, Michelson met her husband Horace Michelson, whom she married in 1947 while they were still students. He introduced her to the [[New York Yankees]], of which she became an ardent fan. Reportedly, Horace was supportive of his powerful wife and often attended events organised for wives at business events the couple attended. They had two daughters, Martha and Barbara; Martha died while a student at [[Goddard College]], and Barbara studied at [[Le Cordon Bleu]] and became a baker. Horace (d.&nbsp;2002) was a corporate lawyer, and served in the [[United States Army|Army]] during [[World War II]], receiving the [[Purple Heart]], [[Bronze Star Medal|Bronze Star]], and [[Silver Star]].<ref name=NYTObit1/><ref name=JWA/>
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She was a member of the [[Economic Club of New York]],<ref name=JWA/> and a founding member of the [[International Women's Forum]].<ref>https://www.legacy.com/amp/obituaries/nytimes/173841287</ref>
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Michelson died at her home in [[Greenwich Village]], New York City, on January 10, 2015 following a long illness. She did not have a funeral service.<ref name=WWD>https://wwd.com/business-news/human-resources/gertrude-michelson-former-macys-executive-dies-8098472/</ref>
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{{SMWDocs}}
 
==References==
 
==References==
 
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Latest revision as of 23:26, 25 January 2022

Person.png Gertrude Michelson  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(businesswoman)
G.G. Michelson 2011.png
BornJune 3, 1925
DiedJanuary 10, 2015 (Age 89)
NationalityUS
Alma materPennsylvania State University, Columbia Law School
ReligionJewish
SpouseHorace Michelson
Member ofEconomic Club of New York, RAND/Board of Trustees
US businesswoman.Deputy Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; on the board of the military think tank RAND Corporation,

Gertrude Geraldine Michelson, also known as G.G. Michelson was an American businesswoman. She was the first woman to head the board of trustees of an Ivy League university (Columbia), She was Deputy Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and sat on the board of the military think tank RAND and the Markle Foundation, and corporations like General Electric and Macy's.

Early life and education

Gertrude Geraldine Michelson was born Gertrude Geraldine Rosen in Jamestown, New York, on June 3, 1925,[1] to Celia (née Cohen) and Thomas Rosen, Jewish immigrants from near Vilna in the Russian Empire. Michelson was the youngest of three children, and when she was eleven her mother died of tuberculosis. During her youth, the family traveled around the United States,[2] spending time living in the Southwest in hopes that the air would heal Celia's illness, though Michelson and her siblings spent time in an orphanage while treatment was sought. After Celia died, the family moved to Upstate New York.[3]

Michelson studied industrial psychology at Pennsylvania State University, graduating in 1945 aged nineteen,[2][4] before attending Columbia Law School. She achieved her LLB as one of six women in the class of 1947.[5] Michelson, seeking self-improvement, had been inspired to study law by men she met who talked about their ambitions to do so, though her father disapproved.[2][4]

She was awarded an honorary PhD in policy analysis by Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School in 2002,[6][7] as well as from Adelphi University, New Rochelle College, and Marymount Manhattan College (Doctor of Laws).[2][7]

Career

Michelson did not want to practice law, and instead joined the executive training program at Macy's upon graduation. She was attracted to the chain because of its large female workforce.[2] She stayed with Macy's and saw a series of promotions.[5] She came up through human resources and in 1963 became the organization's first female vice president, as VP for employee personnel. In the 1970s she became a senior vice president and took on many national positions, including negotiations with a union representing 20,000 of the company's employees; according to the The Women's Book of Records she was the only woman at the time to be working with such a major union.[2]

In 1970, she was appointed to Macy's New York Executive Committee and Board of Directors, becoming the first woman to sit on it, and in 1980 joined the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York before being elected its vice-chair in 1985 and chair in 1989, becoming the first woman to head the governing board of an Ivy League university.[6][2] She chaired Columbia's board until 1992. During her time on the board, it decided to allow women to attend Columbia,[6] something Michelson pushed for.[8] She was Chair Emerita of Columbia's Board of Trustees, and was presented the Alumni Medal in 2011, having previously received the James Kent Award, Lawrence A. Wien Prize for Social Responsibility, and Frederick A. Barnard Award; she also sat on the Dean's Council.[9][10][11]

During her career she sat on the board of directors of major companies in different industries, including Macy's; General Electric; Goodyear Tire; publisher Harper and Row; food conglomerate Quaker Oats; insurance provider Chubb; hardware manufacturer Stanley Works; investment bank Irving Trust;[2] financial provider TIAA-CREF; mediation provider American Arbitration Association; and the historically black and female Spelman College.

She was on the board of the military think tank RAND Corporation and the Markle Foundation.

She was also a governor of the American Stock Exchange.[6] In part due to being the first female board member of General Electric, the company awarded her the Sandra Day O'Connor Board Excellence Award in 2009.[1][12] She also held roles in public service, including Deputy Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Director of the New York City Partnership; Director of the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan New York; and on the Emergency Financial Control Board as well as various city commissions,[6][3]; and for charitable organizations including the Helena Rubinstein Foundation; and Catalyst, which presented her with the Catalyst Award for Contribution to Corporate Leadership. She was also involved with the women's advocacy NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund.[2][13]

She was a mentor to male executives including Macy's CEOs Terry Lundgren and Edward Finkelstein, Bloomingdale's CEO Michael Gould,[8] and General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt.[14] Though cited as a female trailblazer who broke many glass ceilings for herself and other women,[3][5][14][15] Michelson preferred to stay out of the spotlight. In 1989 she told The New York Times that "sometimes it's better to let others view what you've achieved in historical terms, while you just do the best you can as an individual."[16][4]

Personal life

While studying at Columbia Law, Michelson met her husband Horace Michelson, whom she married in 1947 while they were still students. He introduced her to the New York Yankees, of which she became an ardent fan. Reportedly, Horace was supportive of his powerful wife and often attended events organised for wives at business events the couple attended. They had two daughters, Martha and Barbara; Martha died while a student at Goddard College, and Barbara studied at Le Cordon Bleu and became a baker. Horace (d. 2002) was a corporate lawyer, and served in the Army during World War II, receiving the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Silver Star.[6][2]

She was a member of the Economic Club of New York,[2] and a founding member of the International Women's Forum.[17]

Michelson died at her home in Greenwich Village, New York City, on January 10, 2015 following a long illness. She did not have a funeral service.[8]


 

Event Participated in

EventStartEndLocation(s)Description
Bilderberg/199010 May 199013 May 1990New York
US
Glen Cove
38th Bilderberg meeting, 119 guests


References

  1. a b https://archive.org/details/greatjewishwomen00slat/page/334/mode/1up
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/michelson-gertrude-geraldine
  3. a b c https://web.archive.org/web/20150114081941/https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/14/business/gg-michelson-macys-executive-who-broke-glass-ceilings-dies-at-89.html
  4. a b c https://web.archive.org/web/20150114120417/https://www.nytimes.com/1989/06/21/nyregion/education-columbia-trustee-head-a-low-key-trailblazer.html
  5. a b c https://www.forbes.com/sites/larrylight/2020/04/13/macys-and-the-100th-anniversary-of-the-19th-amendment/
  6. a b c d e f https://www.legacy.com/amp/obituaries/nytimes/173809704
  7. a b https://www.markle.org/about-markle/media-release/markle-foundation-names-g-g-michelson-board-directors
  8. a b c https://wwd.com/business-news/human-resources/gertrude-michelson-former-macys-executive-dies-8098472/
  9. https://news.columbia.edu/news/memoriam-gg-michelso
  10. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEU79d7vkjU
  11. https://www.law.columbia.edu/news/archive/wien-prize-awarded-cardozo-and-michelson
  12. https://directwomen.org/honoree/general-electric/
  13. http://docshare01.docshare.tips/files/13780/137802510.pdf
  14. a b Immelt, Jeff (2021). Hot Seat: Hard-won Lessons in Challenging Times. Amy Wallace. Hachette. ISBN 9781529358704. "Sometime during [the attacks on 9/11] I called up G.G. Michelson, the pioneering R. H. Macy executive who was then on GE's board of directors, for a reality check. Michelson was a rock. She'd broken through many a glass ceiling [...] I sensed that, as somebody who'd weathered the worst storms, she'd give solid advice. When I told her how I was analyzing GE's priorities, she was encouraging."
  15. https://www.sec.gov/news/speech/gender-parity-in-the-american-boardroom.html
  16. https://www.womeninretail.com/women-retail-pioneer-g-g-michelson-dies-at-89/%7Caccess-date=May 16, 2021
  17. https://www.legacy.com/amp/obituaries/nytimes/173841287
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