Mrs. Kay Coles James has an extensive background in crafting public policy and leading 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.
She currently sits on three corporate boards including, PNC Financial Services Group where she serves as a member of the Risk, Nominating and Governance committees. Mrs. James serves on the National Board of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America where she sits 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.
Mrs. James has far-reaching experience and respect in the public sector. Under President George H. W. Bush, she served 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.
Following her time in the Bush administration, Mrs. James was appointed as Secretary of Health and Human Resources under former Virginia Governor George Allen. In this role Mrs. James designed and implemented Virginia’s landmark welfare reform initiative, affecting fourteen state agencies and over 19,000 employees.
In 2001, Mrs. James was appointed as Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) by President George W. Bush and led a department of 3,600 employees. As director, she served as the President’s principal advisor in matters of personnel administration for the 1.8 million members of the federal civil service and was responsible for the stewardship of over 650 billion dollars in federal employee’s 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 merged into the new Department of Homeland Security. During this time, she also chaired the Chief Human Capital Officers Council (CHCOC), was a member of the President’s Management Council, and was appointed by President Bush to serve on the White House Fellows Commission.
During her time in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, she assisted in crafting a national drug policy. During her time as Virginia’s Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Mrs. James created and implemented the largest welfare reform program in state history. In this role, Mrs. James also influenced housing policies regarding the youth, elderly, and low-income. Additionally, Mrs. James served as Director of Community Education and Development for Housing Opportunities Made Equal in Richmond, VA. Mrs. James has also crafted education policy during her time on the Virginia State Board of Education and the Fairfax County School Board.
Mrs. James has also served 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.
During her nearly 30-year career, Mrs. James has served on numerous boards and commissions. They include the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, the Virginia Empowerment Commission, the National Commission on Children, the Medicaid Commission, the Carter-Baker Commission on Election Reform, the NASA Advisory Council, the Fairfax County School Board, the Virginia State Board of Education, Focus on the Family Board of Directors, Young Life Board of Directors, the National Advisory Board of the Salvation Army and the Virginia Commonwealth University, Board of Visitors. Mrs. James also currently sits on two volunteer boards, the Heritage Foundation Board of Trustees and the T.C. Walker and Woodville/Rosenwald School Foundation.
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).
Mrs. James has been and continues to be very engaged politically. She has campaigned for Republican candidates in every presidential election and was on the 2016/17 Republican Presidential Transition Team for President Trump. In this role she was charged with a portfolio of all of the Management and Budget Agencies of the Federal Government as well as all enterprise wide systems for the government. Mrs. James also served on the Presidential Transition Team for President George W. Bush and presidential candidate Governor Mitt Romney. She has chaired the transitions and served as a key adviser for three republican gubernatorial candidates in Virginia including Governor Bob McDonnell. Mrs. James served as Secretary of the Republican National Convention in 1996 and twice chaired the Virginia State Republican Convention.
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.
Most importantly, Kay Coles James is the wife of Charles James, Sr. and the proud mother of three grown children and five grandchildren.