Stephenson Posthumously Honored By Business Leader Magazine
Each year Business Leader magazine compiles a list of the top 100 contributors to the Triangle for that year. The 8th Annual Impact 100 list came out earlier this month and featured Capitol Broadcasting Company legend Scottie Stephenson as its leading business community member. CBC’s Vice President of Community Relations Paul Pope also received a nomination and recognition on the list. Below are the magazine excerpts about both.
Louise “Scottie” Stephenson
CBC Corporate Secretary
Each year Business Leader profiles a list of dedicated members of the business community through their personal mottos and greatest accomplishments. This year the first entry is the epitome of an Impact 100 nominee. It is, in itself, an introduction to the endeavors of those dedicated members of the Triangle.
A positive and lasting impact on the community…those words apply to no one more than Louise S. Stephenson, icon and matriarch of Capitol Broadcasting Company and the Triangle community. She is to Raleigh broadcasters what Amelia Earhart is to aviators.
This nomination is not about what Scottie gave to the Triangle this year, because she fell ill at the end of 2001 and never recovered enough to return to her desk, even though her white sweater still hung on her chair, waiting for her to come back. This nomination is about how her passing on April 15, 2002, reminded us of over a half-century of dedication and determination from a tough-as-nails Southern lady.
Stephenson came to work at WRAL-AM Radio in 1944 where she wrote ad copy, answered the phones, posted the daily casualty list during WWII, gathered birth announcements from the local hospital and became the “Lost & Found” lady on the air.
Stephenson never went to college but was a veritable encyclopedia of knowledge. Stephenson morphed into whatever was needed, learning an entire field of information at the drop of a hat. She mastered the difficult and overwhelmingly complex task of coordinating WRAL’s FCC documents. During the fight to get Raleigh’s first television license for WRAL, she sat through grueling questioning by hotshot DC lawyers, never flinched and stood firm as an equal member of a five-person team and came home victorious.
Accomplishments: Under my leadership, the Interfaith Food Shuttle and Meals on Wheels were able to form a partnership to build a community kitchen. This is a great example of what a collaborative effort can do. In 2003, there will be a new facility built to feed more hungry people in our community. I also helped get the national affiliation for the Triangle Urban League. Motto: Our youth are our hope for the future, we must invest in and protect our future. Remember when someone helped you.
She worked for CBC longer than any other employee, including its founder, A.J. Fletcher, logging in 58 years of active service that ended only with her death. Forty-nine of those years she sat on the CBC Board and served as Corporate Secretary. She served in that capacity for all 12 of CBC’s current subsidiaries and for a myriad of companies CBC acquired and sold over the years.
Stephenson made an impact on the community as well, working as an advocate for the arts and the underprivileged. She spent 16 years on the board of the Tammy Lynn Center for severely disabled children. She volunteered for the Raleigh Fine Arts Society and the North Carolina Symphony and chaired the Communications Committee of the Raleigh Junior Women’s Club for several years. She coordinated The Raleigh Golden Age Club’s annual Christmas luncheon for over four decades and saw that luncheon grow from 50 to over 1,500 people.
Although no one could ever properly thank Stephenson for her many contributions, several awards were bestowed upon her throughout the community. She was the first recipient of the Junior Women’s Club’s Outstanding Working Member Award, and the YWCA inducted her into their Wake County Academy of Women, naming her Business & Professional Woman of the Year in 1992.
As her years at the company grew, CBC had to create gifts for her years of service at the annual long-term employee’s luncheon. She so far outranked others in longevity that the company presented her with several unique rewards, including a marked parking space by the door. After her death, CBC President & CEO Jim Goodmon permanently affixed her parking sign at the company’s locations on Hillsborough Street and at the television station on Western Boulevard as a reminder of her legacy and contributions. He wanted future employees to ask, “Who is Scottie Stephenson?” and thus learn her story of determination, quality and excellence.