Distinguished Alumna 1998
Ginger Simpson Conrad

Ginger Simpson Conrad of Redondo Beach, Calif., was known by her given name Dorothy when she attended Cameron in the early 1950s. The local native is a Lawton High grad.

During the first week of classes at Cameron in 1951, a headline in the Collegian announced that she had recorded the highest score in school history on the English placement exam.

While at Cameron, she worked at the Collegian and belonged to the Pep Pirates. She received an associates degree in speech and English in 1953 and later earned her bachelors in theatre from Valparaiso University. She became active in community theater groups, designing costumes and appearing in a variety of roles.

Conrad's magazine career began in 1969 as assistant to the head of Bobit Publishing. She became responsible for the production of 14 trade publications, several of which covered transportation. In 1980 she became associate publisher for IEEE Computer Society.

When Congress passed the 1982 Surface Transportation Act requiring federally funded transportation projects to meet a 10 percent goal with minority-owned businesses, she saw a niche for a new publication. She started Minority Business Entrepreneur (MBE) magazine with a second-hand typewriter and an old typesetting machine. Conrad handled advertising, writing, editing and layout, while her husband, Jim, typeset the stories for the first issue.

Today the Los Angeles-based magazine has seven employees and a 60,000 circulation, reaching minority and female business owners nationwide, along with corporations and government agencies concerned with minority and women's enterprise development.

MBE examines affirmative action procurement and contracting programs in the public and private sectors, and features success stories of entrepreneurs whose accomplishments inspire others.

A nationally known expert on business development issues, Conrad has appeared on syndicated television shows and has served as a keynote speaker and panelist at numerous events.

She was named 1992 Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration's Los Angeles District and received the 1993 Media Recognition Award by the National Minority Business Council. In 1997 Conrad received the MED Week Cornerstone Media Award and recently was recognized by the Black Business Association for entrepreneurial achievements.

She serves on the board of the Minority Business Development Group of the National Association of Purchasing Management and has been appointed to NASA's Minority Business Resource Advisory Committee.

She is also co-founder and publications director of the bimonthly Women's Business Exclusive, a national newsletter for entrepreneurs.

Conrad has three sons and a daughter.