On April 26, 2010, Mr. Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., Esq. of Charlotte, North Carolina, was chosen to lead the 23 year old Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF). The announcement was made by James Clifton, Chairman, Board of Directors, and Dr. N. Joyce Payne, Founder of TMCF.
In making the announcement, Mr. Clifton and Dr. Payne said on behalf of the Board of Directors, “Johnny Taylor exemplifies the kind of transformative leadership, strategic acumen and fundraising skills needed to move the fund to a new level of national prominence, a new era of innovation. In short, Mr. Taylor’s nearly two decades of broad senior-level corporate experience, commitment to higher education and significant not-for-profit governance, fundraising and operations experience will prove invaluable as we continue to meet the needs of our universities and students -- our core constituency.”
Mr. Taylor is a recognized leader in the nonprofit world having served as the Chairman of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), one of the world’s largest membership organizations with nearly 230,000 members in over 100 countries. Mr. Taylor spent the last several years with IAC/InterActiveCorp – first as Senior Vice President of Human Resources and then as the President and CEO of IAC’s identity search engine, RushmoreDrive.com. Before joining IAC, Mr. Taylor was a Partner in the McGuireWoods law firm and President of that firm’s HR consulting business; he served as General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Compass Group USA; and has held several senior human resources and legal executive roles with Viacom subsidiaries, Blockbuster Entertainment and Paramount Pictures.
Mr. Taylor took some time to chat with BlackGivesBack about his first key tasks to accomplish in his new role, and shared his goals for the organization:
What is your first task to accomplish as the new President and CEO?
"My first task to accomplish is to assess the level of talent within our organization; I need to make sure we have the best people, in the right positions, helping to achieve our mission. My first (in terms of importance) thing to accomplish is to develop a strategy around increasing our general market brand awareness. Ultimately, we need to get to the point where people understand who we are, what we do, and why we matter."
What are your short and long term goals for the organization?
"First, we are going to develop a comprehensive marketing campaign to help establish awareness. In the short-run, we will engage basic tactics like really honing in on and articulating a succinct and compelling tag line that will help the public know and remember us. Longer term, we will develop a comprehensive multi-media (TV, radio, online, and print) campaign designed to build brand awareness and to serve as a call-to-action.
Secondly, we are going to work on developing our programmatic capability. Ultimately, our goal is to deliver high-quality initiatives designed to address deficits or needs in Black Higher Education. From graduation and retention rates in our member institutions, to increasing the number and quality of Black graduates in teaching, math, science, engineering, and technology, we will design and deliver ground-breaking programs that attempt to identify and solve real-life issues impacting Black students, this nation and, ultimately, the world.
Lastly, we are going to develop a much stronger position as a policy and advocacy organization. When issues arise impacting or involving Black Higher Education, TMCF will have well-reasoned positions and will use those positions to influence policy. In that same vein, we will advocate on behalf of our 47 public HBCUs, six law schools, and their 235,000 students when necessary to make sure their voice is heard and that they receive their fair share of resources."
In addition to his reputation as a strong business executive, Mr. Taylor has demonstrated a significant commitment to higher education and HBCU education in particular. Mr. Taylor has served on the Board of Trustees of Johnson C. Smith University and Drake University, the University of Miami’s President’s Council and the Board of Visitors of Queen’s University. Equally important, he has earned a reputation as a prolific fundraiser in political and higher education circles, including serving as the UNCF Annual Campaign Co-Chair for Johnson C. Smith University, the TMCF Charlotte Regional Dinner Co-Chair, the TMCF 2007 Annual National Awards Gala in NYC, and raising significant funds for various congressional and presidential campaigns.
Mr. Taylor received his Bachelor of Science in Communication, with general honors, from the University of Miami, and a Master of Arts in Mass Communication with honors, from Drake University; and Doctor of Jurisprudence with honors, from the Drake University Law School, where he served as Research Editor of the Drake Law Review and argued on the National Moot Court Team. He is a member of the Florida, Illinois and Washington, D.C. bars, and holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification.
“I could not be more excited about the opportunity to lead the nation's pre-eminent organization committed to preparing the best and brightest leaders from our nation's public historically black colleges and universities. I will work tirelessly alongside the presidents of our 47 member institutions, our incredibly committed corporate and governmental partners, and hard-working and talented TMCF Board of Directors and staff to build upon the legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall,” Johnny Taylor stated in accepting the position. “I am humbled by this awesome challenge, responsibility and opportunity.
Just recently, Mr. Taylor issued a statement about the nomination of Elena Kagan for the U.S. Supreme Court, where she would be the fourth female appointment. He shared, “We, at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, are extremely supportive of Ms. Kagan’s nomination for a number of reasons; but two standout as particularly meaningful – she served as a law clerk to Justice Marshall and she served on the Board of Directors of the College Fund bearing Justice Marshall’s name. Ms. Kagan’s career has embodied the meaning and tradition of Thurgood Marshall’s life’s work to support the Constitutional mandate of inclusion and equal protection under the law for all Americans, particularly in higher education.”
The TMCF will host its 23rd Anniversary Awards Dinner on November 1, 2010 in New York City. For more information about the gala and the Fund, visit www.thurgoodmarshallfund.org.