Kay Coles James
Kay Coles James has an extensive background in nearly every sector of America’s economy. She has worked at the local, state and federal levels of government and has served dozens of organizations in the corporate, non-profit and academic arenas.
Ms. James is currently the President and Founder of The Gloucester Institute, an organization which trains and nurtures leaders in the African American community. The Gloucester Institute is committed to providing an intellectually safe environment where ideas can be discussed and transformed into practical solutions that produce results.
Ms. James has served in a number of public offices, most recently as Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). As President Bush's principal advisor in matters of personnel administration for the 1.8 million members of the Federal civil service, Ms. James led a department of 3,600 employees with responsibility for all personnel practices and programs, including stewardship of over $650 billion in Federal retirement, health, life and long-term care insurance assets.
Ms. James played an instrumental role in designing the process and system through which nearly 170,000 employees from 22 different agencies, each with different cultures and human resources services and represented by 17 separate labor unions, merged into the new Department of Homeland Security—one of the largest personnel mergers in history.
During her nearly 30-year career in the public arena, Ms. James has served on numerous boards and commissions. She chaired the National Gambling Impact Study Commission and led that board to successfully complete its report to the President, Congress, and the states on time and under budget. Most recently, Ms. James co-chaired Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell’s transition team. She has also served on the National Commission on Children; Fairfax County School Board; the Virginia State Board of Education, Focus on the Family Board; Young Life. She was a member of the Medicaid Commission and the NASA Advisory Council.
Today Ms. James sits on the board of PNC Financial Services Group, where she serves as a member of the PNC Risk Committee. She is a board member of the Amerigroup Corporation and chairs its Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Additionally, Ms. James serves on the board of The Salvation Army, The Heritage Foundation and Virginia Commonwealth University.
Ms. James has held in a variety of roles in the public and private arenas. She served as a Senior Fellow and Director of The Citizenship Project at the Heritage Foundation, Dean of the School of Government at Regent University, and Secretary of Health and Human Resources for former Virginia Governor George Allen. While there, she designed and implemented Virginia's landmark welfare reform initiative and for 14 state agencies and over 19,000 employees.
Before working in the Allen Administration, Ms. James was Senior Vice President of the Family Research Council. She was also the Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer for One to One Partnership, a national umbrella organization for mentoring programs. She served under President George H. W. Bush as Associate Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and as Assistant Secretary for public affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
A graduate of Hampton University, Ms. James is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, including a Doctor of Laws from Pepperdine University, and awards such as the University of Virginia's Publius Award for Public Service, and the Spirit of Democracy Award for Public Policy Leadership from the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. As a commentator and lecturer, Ms. James has appeared on every network morning show and several national news and talk programs. She is the author of three books; her award winning 1993 autobiography Never Forget; Transforming America: From the Inside Out (1995); and a third book on the subject of marriage (2001).