Over the course of her eclectic career, Hermene Hartman has distinguished herself as a media pioneer. She's the founder of Chicago's leading African American magazine, N'DIGO, making her one of the few African American women in a publishing leading role. She is the daughter of Herman Hartman, the first black Pepsi-Cola distributor in the United States, and Mildred Bowden, a retired administrator of Cook County Hospital.
Hartman's career began during the civil rights movement while working for Operation BREADBASKET with Rev. Jesse Jackson. She coordinated the organization's Black Expo. She later produced public service programming for WBBM-TV Chicago and taught behavioral sciences at the college level from 1973 to 1984.
Her move into the publishing industry came after her tenure as vice chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago, the nation's second-largest community college system. She was the first woman to serve in this capacity, overseeing media and community relations, as well as marketing and publications. During this time, Hartman recognized the need for honest representations, rather than stereotypical images, of African American culture in mainstream media.
In 1989, she founded N'DIGO. As a writer, Hartman became well known for her publisher's page, which offers insightful social commentary about important issues in the African American community.
Hartman has also successfully operated The Hartman Group, a full-service public relations firm, since 1977. She has received many honors and awards of excellence for her contributions to the business and African American communities. Hartman holds master's degrees in sociology and education as well as an M.B.A. from the University of Illinois.