November 30, 2023
Freedom Center adds six new board members
Robert W. Jones, Robert W. McDonald, Roy A. Mitchell, Michael Moore, Jaia Thomas, Meggan E. Thompson join board; Kenneth B. Robinson re-elected chair
CINCINNATI – The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center elected six new members to its Board of Directors, expanding its board talent and geographic reach. At the meeting, current board chair Kenneth B. Robinson was re-elected to serve in the role an additional year.
“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 & 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. We’re fortunate to be able to tap into their experience and passion to elevate our work.”
First Row: Robert W. Jones, Robert W. McDonald, Roy A. Mitchell
Second Row: Michael Moore, Jaia Thomas, Meggan E. Thompson
The Freedom Center’s incoming board members are:
- Robert W. Jones, president and CEO of Realm Capital Ventures. 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 and, prior to this, held human resources leadership roles with GE Capital and GE Plastics. Currently, he 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, partner, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP. 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, principal in the firm of Kunimura Mitchell & Company LLC. Mitchell brings over 40 years of experience in business taxation to the Freedom Center board, including 10 years with the IRS. He has also taught courses in management, accounting, tax and finance at Wilberforce University and Raymond Walters College and is involved in the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber Small Business Advisory Board, Springdale Tax Review Board and Ohio/IRS Liaison Forum.
- Michael Moore, president and CEO of Black Achievers, Inc. 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. He is also the author of Achieve Your Dreams, The 9 Principles of African American Success. 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, Esq. Thomas is a Cincinnati-born, Los Angeles-based sports and entertainment attorney with over 15 years of experience on both the east and west coasts. 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, is an adjunct professor at UCLA and is involved with the California African American Museum.
- Meggan E. Thompson, wealth management banking specialist, AVP with Merrill Lynch. Thompson brings more than a decade of financial and wealth management experience to the Freedom Center board. She has consistently elevated her branch’s revenue and customer experience and is also skilled in employee development and retention. Thompson is a passionate community connector and relationship builder dedicated to fostering diversity, inclusion, growth and engagement.
Returning chair Kenneth B. 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. Before retiring in 2016, Robinson was Vice President of Global Diversity & Inclusion and spent 13 years as Chief Audit Execution & Global Risk and Compliance Leader (2006 to 2015) and Chief Audit Executive (2002 to 2006). Since retiring from P&G, Robinson has lent his expertise in accounting and auditing as a board member for several organizations, including Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Paylocity, the Financial Accounting Foundation and Exelon.
“We’re grateful for Ken’s commitment to the Freedom Center as he continues to be a dedicated supporter and invaluable guiding force,” said Keown. “With his support and leadership over the past two years, we have increased our organizational capabilities, refined our strategic vision and set a path for our bold future. I look forward to continuing this work together over the next year.”
About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at freedomcenter.org, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery, endslaverynow.org.