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Dorothy Terrell

In honor of BusinessMakers: Breakout Leaders, we salute Dorothy Terrell, former President and CEO of Sun Express, who speaks about internet commerce, her career, and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City.

Dorothy Terrell serves as Vice Chair of the New World Symphony’s Board of Trustees as well as that of the Pérez Art Museum Miami. As a corporate executive, Ms. Terrell previously served on boards for publicly traded companies such as General Mills, Herman Miller, Sears, Lightbridge (telecommunications) and privately held Endeca Technologies. In addition to the NWS Board of Trustees, which she joined in 2018, Terrell serves on the boards of the SEED School, Miami and Black Angels Miami and is an honorary trustee of the Massachusetts General Hospital. She was a Founding Board Member of The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy and the Commonwealth Institute.

Dorothy Terrell
Franklin Sirmans, Director of Perez Art Museum Miami; Deryl McKissack, president and CEO of McKissack & McKissack; and Dorothy Terrell

In 1984, Terrell was promoted to plant manager of the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) plant in Roxbury, Massachusetts. She was the first African American woman to hold this position. Primarily manufacturing keyboards, Terrell reduced the new product cycle from ninety days to seventy-five days and reduced manufacturing costs by more than 30%. Terrell also served as DEC’s group manager of interconnect/packaging from 1987 to 1991. Terrell joined Sun Microsystems, Inc. in 1991 as president of Sun Express, and as a corporate officer through 1997. At Sun Microsystems, she led the company in asset management performance and grew revenues to over $300 million per year. After 1997, Terrell served simultaneously as senior vice president of worldwide sales for NMS Communications and president of Platform Services Group. Terrell temporarily left First Light Capital as a partner and became president and CEO of Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), a national nonprofit organization that promotes economic prosperity in America’s inner cities through private sector engagement with local residents.

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