FOUNDER & BOARD CHAIR
During her nearly 30-year career, Mrs. James has served on numerous boards and commissions, including the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, the Virginia Empowerment Commission, the National Commission on Children, the Medicaid Commission, the Carter-Baker Commission, the NASA Advisory Council, the Fairfax County School Board, the Virginia State Board of Education, the boards of Focus on the Family and Young Life, and the board of the Amerigroup Corporation, on which she chaired the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Mrs. James also served as secretary of the Republican National Convention in 1996 and twice chaired the Virginia State Republican Convention before co-chairing former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell’s transition team.
Mrs. James served under former 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. Mrs. James also served during that time as a senior fellow and director of The Citizenship Project at the Heritage Foundation, as dean of the School of Government at Regent University, as the senior vice president of the Family Research Council, and as the executive vice president and chief operating officer for One to One Partnership, a national umbrella organization for mentoring programs.
As Secretary of Health and Human Resources under former Virginia governor George Allen, Mrs. James designed and implemented Virginia's landmark welfare reform initiative, affecting fourteen state agencies and over 19,000 employees.
Mrs. James was appointed Director of the U. S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) by President George W. Bush in 2001 and led a department of 3,600 employees. As director, she served as President Bush's principal advisor in matters of personnel administration for the 1.8 million members of the federal civil service, and was responsible for all personnel practices and programs, including stewardship of over 650 billion dollars in federal retirement, health, life, and long-term care insurance assets. In this position, Mrs. James played an instrumental role in conducting one of the largest personnel mergers in history by 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.
During her time as director of OPM, Mrs. James served as one of the chairs of the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program (JFMIP) Principals, a joint undertaking of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the General Accounting Office, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Personnel Management to improve financial management practices in government. She also chaired of the Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCO) Council (a group composed of the top human resources officers from cabinet departments and other agencies), was a member of the President's Management Council, and by President Bush’s appointment, served on the White House Fellows Commission.
Today, Mrs. James is the founder and President 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.
She currently sits on the board of PNC Financial Services Group where she serves as a member of the Risk and Nominating and Governance committees. In previous years she has also served on the Personnel and Compensation Committee for PNC. Mrs. James serves on the National Board of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America where she serves on both the Growth and the Talent Committees. Mrs. James also sits on the Magellan Health Services board, where she serves on the Compensation committee. Mrs. James is a former board member of the Amerigroup Corporation where she chaired the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and the Compensation Committee. She is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors and has done continuing board education at The Harvard School of Business. Her volunteer boards include the Heritage Foundation Board of Trustees, and the T.C. Walker and Woodville/Rosenwald School Foundation. Mrs. James previously sat on the Virginia Commonwealth University board where she chaired the Academic and Student Affairs Committee.
A graduate of Hampton University, Mrs. James is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, including a Doctor of Laws from Pepperdine University, 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, Mrs. James has appeared on network morning shows and several national news and talk programs. She is the author of three books: her award-winning autobiography Never Forget (1993); Transforming America from the Inside Out (1995); and What I Wish I’d Known Before I Got Married (2001).
Most importantly, Kay Coles James is the wife of Charles James, Sr. and the proud mother of three grown children and five grandchildren.
KAY COLES JAMES
Founder and Board Chair
Kay Coles James, The Gloucester Institute’s founder and board chair, currently serves as President of one of America's most influential think tanks, The Heritage Foundation. Mrs. 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 under the administrations of former U.S. president George H. W. Bush (1989-1993), former Virginia governor George Allen (1994-1998), and former U.S. president George W. Bush (2001-2009), and has served dozens of organizations in the corporate, nonprofit, and academic arenas.