“Kay Coles James is the quintessential American success story. Her life story is truly remarkable. She is the right person to be the intellectual voice and face of The Heritage Foundation for the future.” 

—Ed Feulner, Heritage Founder and Trustee  

Kay Coles James

Kay Coles James was a member of Heritage's Board of Trustees from 2005 through 2018,
when she became president of The Heritage Foundation. James has a wealth of experience in public policy, having served as a leader in government, academia and the conservative movement during her 30-year career. She is a lifelong grassroots activist and has served in multiple roles at the local, state and national level.
James began her career in public service as a member of the National Commission on Children under President Ronald Reagan.
She later served as associate director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and as assistant secretary for public affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President George H.W. Bush. In 2001, James returned to the federal government to serve as President George W. Bush's director of the Office of Personnel Management. 
For the commonwealth of Virginia, she served as secretary of health and human resources and as a member of the
state board of education under Gov. George Allen. As secretary, she was responsible for the development and rollout of
welfare reform statewide. Earlier in her career, she served on the Fairfax County, Virginia, school board, one of the largest
and most competitive publich school systems in the nation.
In 2017, James and former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III led President Donald Trump's transition team for the Office of Management and Budget, Office of Personnel Management, and General Services Administration. 
During her career, James also served as dean of the School of Government at Regent University, as a senior fellow and director of The Citizen Project at The Heritage Foundation, as the senior vice president of the Family Research Council, and as the executive viec president and chief operating officer for One to One Partnership, a national umbrella organization for mentoring programs. She is the founder and president of The Gloucester Institute, an organization that trains and nurtures leaders in the African-American community.
A graduate of Hampton University, James is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees
and is the author of three books: her award-winning autobiography "Never Forget" (1993);
"Transforming America from the Inside Out" (1995); and "What I Wish I'd Known Before I Got Married" (2001).
James is married to Charles James Sr. and is a proud mother of three and grandmother of five.