KAY COLES JAMES
Founder and President of the Gloucester Institute
Author of Never Forget and Transforming America: From the Inside Out
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. James has served four US Presidents, three Governors, and numerous other political leaders. As a commentator and lecturer, James has appeared on network morning shows and several national news and talk programs. She has educated and inspired audiences all over the US and internationally. She is the author of three books; her award winning autobiography, Never Forget (1993); Transforming America: From the Inside Out (1995); and a third book, What I Wish I Had Known Before I Got Married (2001).
James was appointed Director of the U. S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) by President George W. Bush. As President Bush's principal advisor in matters of personnel administration for the 1.8 million members of the Federal civil service, 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.
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. James was also appointed by the President to serve on the White House Fellows Commission.
Prior to coming to OPM, James held in a variety of roles in the public and private sectors. 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. As Secretary, she designed and implemented Virginia's landmark welfare reform initiative affecting fourteen state agencies and over 19,000 employees.
Before serving in the Allen Administration, 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.
During her nearly 30-year career in the public arena, James has served on numerous boards and commissions. She chaired the National Gambling Impact Study Commission and the Virginia Empowerment Commission. She also served on the National Commission on Children, The Medicaid Commission, The Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform, The NASA Advisory Council, The Fairfax County School Board, The Virginia State Board of Education and the Boards of Focus on the Family, Young Life, The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities. James served as the Secretary of the Republican National Convention (1996), twice chaired the Virginia State Republican Convention, co-chaired Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell’s transition team, and served with the Romney Readiness Project.
Today, James is 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.
A graduate of Hampton University, James is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees; she received 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.
Most importantly, Kay Coles James is the wife of Charles James, Sr. and the proud mother of three grown children and five grandchildren.