The Wright Museum Changes Board Leadership, Adds Trustees - The Charles H. Wright Museum Blog

The Wright Museum Changes Board Leadership, Adds Trustees


Nikia Washington

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The Wright Museum Changes Board Leadership, Adds Trustees

Announcements and introductions made at museum's annual membership meeting

DETROIT, MI – December 10, 2015: The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History announced the results of elections for the leadership of its Board of Trustees during its annual membership meeting, held Thursday, December 3, 2015. The event, which was free and open to the public, also introduced four new trustees added to its board in 2015. 

Lynn Weaver, vice president of Human Resources for Yazaki North America, Inc., secretary of the museum's board and chair of its nominating committee, made the announcement of transitions for the board's top two officers. Current chair Elizabeth "Betty" Brooks and vice chair Kieth Cockrell of Bank of America complete their tenures at the end of 2015. Newly elected to fill these positions are chairman-elect Eric Peterson, U.S. vice president, diversity dealer relations for General Motors Company; and vice chair-elect Pamela Alexander, director of community development for Ford Motor Company. 

Said outgoing board chair Betty Brooks, "I take immense pride in the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and its growth over the past decade… My greatest point of pride, however, is helping to assemble a Board of Trustees that is second to none. I truly feel that The Wright Museum is equipped with the Wright board to do great things in its next half-century, and beyond." 

Chairman-elect Eric Peterson had words of praise for Brooks. "If you know Betty, it's hard to top the enthusiasm and passion she exudes… I am motivated by her example as I humbly accept the opportunity to fill such grand shoes." About the museum, he stated, "Over the last few years, the board has been focused on supporting the museum's leadership to stabilize and grow the financial base of the organization. We're pleased with our progress and as we step into the next half-century, we look forward to continuing its legacy and positioning this institution as a national treasure and world-class institution." 

Weaver also introduced four new trustees who joined the museum's board in 2015. They are Kelli Coleman, executive vice president, GlobalHue; George R. Hamilton, president, Hamilton Consulting International; Tony Saunders, chief restructuring officer and chief financial officer, Wayne County; and Howard Sims, founder and chairman, SDG Associates. They join The Wright's 33-member board, comprised of the following: 

Pamela Alexander, Ford Motor Company

Rumia Ambrose-Burbank, VMS365 & Sol DeFrio

Jon Barfield, LJ Holdings Investment Company

Michael Bickers, PNC Bank

Yvette Bing, H.T. and Associates Incorporated

Elizabeth "Betty" Brooks

Darrell Burks

Kieth Cockrell, Bank of America

Kelli Coleman, GlobalHue

James P. Cunningham, Williams Williams Rattner & Plunkett, P.C.

Matthew A. Davis, Chase Bank

Walter E. Douglas Sr., Avis Ford

Kala Gibson, Fifth Third Bank

Rod Gillum, Jackson Lewis, LLP.

Joyce Hayes Giles

Kelly Green, The Jackson Group at Morgan Stanley

George Hamilton, Hamilton Consulting International

Ronald Hewitt

Hiram Jackson, Real Times Media, Inc.

John James, James Group International

Dennis Johnson, Comerica Bank

Tom Lewand, Sr., City of Detroit

James W. McGinnis, Ph.D, Law Offices of

James McGinnis

Eric Peterson, General Motors Company

Maureen Roberts

Tony Saunders, Wayne County, Michigan

Jimmy Settles, United Auto Workers

Suzanne Shank-Werdlow, Siebert Brandford Shank & Co.

Howard Sims, SDG Associates

Gary Spicer, Sr., Law Offices of S. Gary Spicer, Sr.

Joni Thrower, Jamjomar, Inc.

Carolynn Walton, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Lynn Weaver, Yazaki North America, Inc 

According to Juanita Moore, president & CEO of The Wright, the museum's 50th anniversary year has been extremely productive, with the museum partnering with more than 150 organizations and entities to present over 350 programs during the past 12 months. She credited the support of its trustees, the museum's staff, and dedicated volunteer corps in making this ambitious schedule possible.

Vice chair-elect Pamela Alexander remarked, "For the museum to have weathered the recession and emerged stronger than ever during its anniversary year is fantastic, especially for the donors, funders, and members who have supported The Wright. Betty Brooks helped insure the institution's stability and service to the community during this transformative period."

Brooks is well known and beloved in the community, having served on numerous boards, including those of the Detroit Historical Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan Opera Theatre, and Reading Works. She stated that to serve on The Wright's board was something very special, and she was, "extremely grateful to have had the honor and opportunity." Clearly overcome with emotion, Brooks concluded her remarks by stating, "I see (the museum's) impact, in the summer's festive crowds, the togetherness of a family's Sunday visit, and the sparkle of a child's smile as they are lifted up by their community and taught that their voice, and achievements, matter. I will continue to support this great museum, and look forward to its next half-century of accomplishment." Brooks will continue to serve on the board, which voted to name her chair emeritus.

Peterson promised to continue the trajectory of growth the museum has seen over the past few years. "We can – and will – aim to be the best…and provide a standard of quality that will take us from being the largest, to the leading, museum of African American history in the world."

About the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Founded in 1965 and located at 315 East Warren Avenue in Midtown Detroit's Cultural Center, The Wright Museum is the world's largest institution dedicated to the African American experience. For more information visit

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