From Wellesley to Wendy’s: How Janet Hill became the ‘General’

Janet Hill, principal at Hill Family Advisors and former special assistant to the Secretary of the Army, sits down with Women of Washington radio show hosts Aileen Black and Gigi Schumm to discuss the importance of diversity in American corporations.

Hill also talked about her early days at Wellesley College with her famous classmate, Hillary Clinton.

Photo Credit: Gigi Schumm

“I met her in 1965 shortly after I arrived at Wellesley. She was very friendly…she was very well put together and had a solid sense of self when the rest of us were dorking around. She was passionate about public policy…she was a leader of the entire class, if not the entire campus. And when we graduated in 1969, we predicted she would be the first female President of the United States”, Hill said.

Janet is no stranger to having famous people around. Janet is the wife of NFL great Calvin Hill and the mother of retired NBA player Grant Hill. During her interview, she shares funny stories of Grant growing up and talks about why they refer to her as the “General.”

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Janet also discusses the lack of women on corporate boards — just 23 of the Fortune 500 CEOs are female.

“I don’t know why this is the case,” Hill said. “It has nothing to do with qualifications. Women are just as qualified as men to serve on corporate boards.”

Hill said she believes it is the responsibility of those in hiring positions at corporations to hire more women and minorities.

“We have a rich talent pool of women and minorities if recruiters and those doing the hiring would expand the pool. But if they’re only going to look at white men to fill positions, they’re only going to hire white men. So, they may get some of the best people, but they’re not going to get the best people if they don’t widen the entire pool.”

Hill also looks back on her career path and her most influential mentors. She said that Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s, had an enormous influence on her life.

“He taught me the value of common sense,” she said. She also cited the importance of her mother, who advised her to “extend the benefit of the doubt to people I don’t know.”

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