CINCINNATI – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center has added six new members to its board of directors and re-elected current chair Kenneth B. Robinson to serve an additional year in the role.
The new members are Robert W. Jones, president and CEO of Realm Capital Ventures; Robert W. McDonald, partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP; Roy A. Mitchell, principal in the firm of Kunimura Mitchell & Company LLC; Michael Moore, president and CEO of Black Achievers, Inc.; Jaia Thomas, Los Angeles-based sports and entertainment attorney and Meggan E. Thompson, wealth management banking specialist, AVP with Merrill Lynch.
The Freedom Center described the selections as a way to expand the talent on its board and the geographic reach of the museum. Additional details about each of the board members is below.
“The breadth and diversity of talent and expertise of our board of directors is a vital asset to our organization,” said Woodrow Keown, Jr., president and COO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
“We’re excited to welcome our new board members into the organization as we pursue a bold vision as a community, national and global leader in the pursuit for freedom,” he continued. “We’re fortunate to be able to tap into their experience and passion to elevate our work.”
Robinson is a founding member of the Freedom Center’s board of directors, dating back to 2000. He brings more than 45 years of business and executive leadership experience to the Freedom Center board, including 39 years at the Procter & Gamble Company.
Keown credited Robinson with helping the Freedom Center increase its organizational capabilities and refine its strategic vision over the past two years. His work has helped “set a path for our bold future,” Keown added.
“We’re grateful for Ken’s commitment to the Freedom Center as he continues to be a dedicated supporter and invaluable guiding force,” Keown added.
“I look forward to continuing this work together over the next year.”
Incoming board members
- Robert W. Jones brings 35 years of corporate leadership experience to the Freedom Center board, including 30 years at GE. He retired in 2020 as senior executive in human resources for GE Aerospace. Prior to that, he held human resources leadership roles with GE Capital and GE Plastics. Currently, Jones leads Realm Capital Ventures, a private investment firm. In addition to the Freedom Center, he serves on the boards and in advisory roles for Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio, Talbert House, University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business and the Minority Business Accelerator.
- Robert W. McDonald is the chair of Taft’s Cincinnati Business practice group, garnering a reputation as a leading advisor in the areas of venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings and sports law. In addition to the Freedom Center, he serves on the board of the Interlex Group, the League of American Orchestras, InnovateOhio, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Main Street Ventures.
- Roy A. Mitchell has more than 40 years of experience in business taxation, including 10 years with the IRS. He has also taught courses in management, accounting, tax and finance at Wilberforce University near Dayton, Ohio, and Raymond Walters College. He’s also involved in the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber Small Business Advisory Board, Springdale Tax Review Board and Ohio/IRS Liaison Forum.
- Michael Moore founded Black Achievers, Inc. to build a network of Black professionals who can work together to make the world a better place. The nonprofit currently has over 5,000 members in Cincinnati and nearly 30,000 nationwide. Prior to founding Black Achievers, Inc., Moore managed a $5 million business unit in the engineering field for a Fortune 500 company and oversaw a team of developers as an IT Project Manager for Fifth Third Bank.
- Jaia Thomas was born in Cincinnati and now resides in Los Angeles. She has more than 15 years of experience as a sports and entertainment attorney. She structures, reviews and negotiates an array of agreements on behalf of talent in the television and film industries. Thomas is also the founder of Diverse Representation, working to ensure more Black athletes and entertainers are hiring Black agents, attorneys, managers and publicists, and to expand opportunities for Black professionals in sports and entertainment. In addition to the Freedom Center, she served on the inaugural advisory committee for former NFL player Eric Reid’s foundation. She’s an adjunct professor at UCLA and is involved with the California African American Museum.
- Meggan E. Thompson has more than a decade of financial and wealth management experience. She has consistently elevated her Merrill Lynch branch’s revenue and customer experience and is described as being skilled in employee development and retention.