Black chamber expands board; Kearney adds Ohio chamber role

The Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce has named five new members to its board of directors, and its CEO has added a part-time statewide role to his repertoire.

“Their unique skills and perspectives will make the AACC stronger,” said Eric Kearney, the chamber’s president and CEO, who last month was named director of diversity and inclusion for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. Kearney will continue as the local chamber’s CEO.

Eric Kearney

“I worked with Eric in the Ohio Senate and have known him for over 15 years,” said Ohio Chamber CEO Steve Stivers. “He is a great addition to our team at the Ohio Chamber. What he has accomplished in growing the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber is impressive, and I know his expertise will be extremely beneficial in this new position as we focus our attention on diversity and inclusion efforts.”

The new members of the local Black chamber board are:

  • Garri Davis, a native of Cincinnati, graduating from Walnut Hills High School. After high school, Garri graduated from Cincinnati State with a degree in financial management, from Wilberforce University with a bachelor’s degree in organizational management, and a master’s degree from Wesleyan University, where she graduated Cum Laude. She is the CEO of the Garri Davis Agency, which provides business development and leadership consulting and training to assist clients with solving complex business issues and increasing profits.
  • Shannon Lawson, a partner and commercial finance attorney for Keating, Muething & Klekamp. He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Delaware State University and a law degree from the University of Kentucky.
  • Marcus Margerum, the Interim Director of the Contemporary Arts Center. Marcus joined the Contemporary Arts Center in March 2021 as the deputy director and chief business officer. Prior to joining the Contemporary Arts Center, he held several leadership positions in the Atlanta attractions and hospitality industry. He has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Hampton University and an MBA in marketing from Clark Atlanta University.
  • Erica Parker, head of U.S. employee relations for DoorDash. She leads a team of employee relations professionals supporting 6,000 employees in North America, Mexico and Canada. She holds her B.S.B.A in human resources and marketing from Xavier University. In addition, she has her MBA in human resources management from Indiana Wesleyan University.
  • Marcus L. Thompson, a community development manager, vendor diversity for Skanska. Before that, he was with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, serving as the HYPE (Harnessing Young Professional Energy) programs leader. He has a bachelor’s degree in corporate communications from Seton Hill University.

In his position with the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of
Commerce, Kearney has led substantial reorganization efforts, including a 50 percent increase in
membership and the creation of a $300,000 endowment.

Kearney served as the state senator for Ohio’s 9th district from 2005 to 2014, where he was elected as the Ohio Senate Minority Leader and championed a number of causes, including adoption, children’s health, small business development and pension reform. He is also a managing partner of Kearney & Kearney, LPA.

In addition to politics and law, he has been a leader in the business community. He founded and built one of the largest African American-owned publishing companies, Sesh Communications, which publishes the Cincinnati Herald, the Northern Kentucky Herald, the Dayton Defender and other publications.

Kearney graduated from St. Xavier High School, then earned a B.A. in English from Dartmouth
College and a law degree from the University of Cincinnati, College of Law. He is married to Cincinnati City Council Vice Mayor Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, also a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School. They have two children, Celeste (a student at Dartmouth College) and Asher.

The Ohio chamber is the state’s leading business advocate and represents thousands of companies that do business in Ohio.

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