Kay Cole James


Kay Cole James




May 3, 2008

Biographical Sketch

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 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, 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.

Additionally, in this role, James served as the Chair 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 working in cooperation with each other and other agencies to improve financial management practices in government. She was also chair of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council (CHCO), a group comprised of the selected officers from cabinet departments and other agencies, and a member of the President's Management Council. James was appointed by the President to serve on the White House Fellows Commission.

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 led that board to successfully complete its report to the President, Congress, and the states on time and under budget. Most recently, 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 and The Amerigroup Corporation. She was a member of the Medicaid Commission and the NASA Advisory Council.

She currently sits on the board of PNC Financial Services Group where she serves as a member of the PNC Risk Committee. Additionally, James serves on the board of The Salvation Army, The Heritage Foundation, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

James has 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. While there, she designed and implemented Virginia's landmark welfare reform initiative and for 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.

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, most recently receiving a Doctor of Laws from Pepperdine University, and awards including 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, 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).

Most importantly, Kay Coles James is the wife of Charles James, Sr. and the proud mother of three grown children and five grandchildren.

(Source: The Gloucester Institute)


Cedarville, commencement, Kay Cole James

Kay Cole James