Lauded Civil Rights Organization Changes Governance Structure First Time in 88 Years
The National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (NCNW) announced Shavon Arline-Bradley was hired to serve as the organization’s first president and chief executive officer. After 88 years, the organization changed its governance structure to work more efficiently.
“We are excited to have hired Shavon as our new president and CEO. She is an extraordinary communicator, and her expertise in the areas of public health and social justice is impressive,” said Dr. A. Lois Keith, newly elected board chair of NCNW. “She will exceed expectations because these are the areas in which NCNW would like to continue, as we bridge the generational gap.”
Rev. Arline-Bradley, who is also an ordained minister, brings 21 years of experience in healthcare, equity diversity & inclusion (EDI), government affairs, and executive leadership. She is the founding principal and CEO of R.E.A.C.H. Beyond Solutions, a public health, advocacy, and executive leadership firm promoting EDI, political and organizational strategy, risk management, government affairs, and technical assistance. Under her leadership, the firm’s gross profit grew exponentially in 5 years by broadening its client base to include federal government, foundation, corporate, non-profit, and political candidate entities in the United States and the Netherlands.
Prior to starting her firm, she served as senior advisor and director of external engagement during the Obama Administration in the Department of Health & Human Services for the 19th U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, where she worked with congressional and global leaders to advance the administration’s public health agenda of building bi-partisan policies and solidifying public-private partnership opportunities to advance domestic and global health.
Before her tenure in the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General, at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) headquarters, Rev. Arline-Bradley served as the executive vice president of strategic planning & partnerships, as well as former chief of staff, where she managed over $30 million portfolio, and senior director of health programs for 2,200 chapters and over 500,000 members.
Because of her passion for advancing EDI and improving the health and social outcomes of the most vulnerable, Rev. Arline-Bradley co-founded The Health Equity Cypher Group, a collective of health leaders advancing EDI and executive leadership in all sectors.
She is a community advocate serving as president & chairman of Delta for Women in Action, a 501(c)4 organization, the vice-chair of the NAACP Board of Directors Health Committee, and the immediate past co-chair of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., National Social Action Commission. Rev. Arline-Bradley also serves as an advisory member of the Oprah Winfrey Network initiative “OWN Your Health.” In addition, she is an active member of the American Public Health Association, the Links, Inc., and Jack & Jill of America, Inc.
A southern New Jersey native, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s in public health from Tulane University. She also graduated from the Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University with a Master of Divinity, where she too became an ordained minister. Rev. Arline-Bradley completed an Executive Certificate of Business Management from Howard University and an Executive Certificate in Diversity & Inclusion from Cornell University.
“This is an exciting time for NCNW. Shavon is a person of vision, with tremendous ideas, a broad outreach, and a flawless work record that will be recognized for years to come,” said Dr. Thelma T. Daley, NCNW's immediate past president and chair, the last to hold the combined position in the organization’s history.
At the NCNW 60th Biennial National Convention held in December 2022, Dr. Daley adroitly shepherded the assembled delegates in the passing of the bylaws to allow the restructuring of the organization founded in 1935. This is the first time NCNW has designated separate leadership roles electing a board chair and hiring a president/CEO serving in a salaried position.
The new structure was proposed by Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole. Based on her experience in serving simultaneously as the chair of the board and president, she felt the time was right for NCNW to move to a structure that is already in place in many women’s rights and civil rights organizations. With this new structure, the NCNW board chair’s focus will be to convene the board to carry out its work that is centered in governance and major decision-making of the organization to set a tone for carrying out the vision and mission of NCNW. The president/CEO is charged with strategy and operations management, as well as maintaining the financial success of NCNW, while serving as the spokeswoman.
Dr. Cole explained, “With this structure, NCNW will be an even more effective women’s rights and civil rights organization. We are in an intensely difficult time in our country. A time when there are constant challenges to the fundamental rights of women, people of color, and all marginalized communities. At such a time as this, a deeply challenging time such as this, NCNW is so fortunate to have Shavon Arline-Bradley as our president and CEO; for she is a deeply admired and an effective leader in our on-going struggle for justice and equity. I look forward to how NCNW will continue to soar to the height of her possibilities under the leadership of Sister Chair Lois Keith and Sister President and CEO Shavon Arline-Bradley.”
Rev. Arline-Bradley will start her new position March 2023, while Dr. Keith took her seat as board chair January 2023.
Dr. Daley added, “It is just very exciting, very exciting that a person under 50 is coming in to lead the organization, communicating to the public that NCNW is moving into the 21st century. NCNW is vital. NCNW is up to date. No one is cast aside. All will work together as a unit for justice the way Dr. Bethune and Dr. Height would have liked to bring us together. The idea of 'leave no one behind.'”
NCNW is an “organization of organizations,” comprised of 330 campus and community-based sections and 32 national women’s organizations that enlightens, inspires, and connects more than 2,000,000 women and men. Its mission is to lead, advocate for, and empower women of African descent, their families and communities. It was founded in 1935 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, an influential educator and activist, and for more than fifty years, the iconic Dr. Dorothy Height was president of NCNW.
Today, the NCNW programs are grounded on a foundation of critical concerns known as “Four for the Future.” It promotes education with a special focus on: science, technology, engineering, and math (STEAM); encourages entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and economic stability; educates women about good health and HIV/AIDS, and promotes civic engagement and advocates for sound public policy and social justice.
About The National Council of Negro Women
The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) mission is to lead, empower and advocate for women of African descent, their families and communities.
The National Council of Negro Women is an “organization of organizations” (comprised of 330 campus and community-based sections and 32 national women’s organizations) that enlightens, inspires and connects more than 2,000,000 women and men. Its mission is to lead, advocate for, and empower women of African descent, their families and communities. NCNW was founded in 1935 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, an influential educator and activist, and for more than fifty years, the iconic Dr. Dorothy Height was president of NCNW.
Johnnetta Betsch Cole was elected Chair of NCNW in 2018, ushering in a new era of social activism and continued progress and growth for the organization. Today, NCNW’s programs are grounded on a foundation of critical concerns known as “Four for the Future”. NCNW promotes education with a special focus on science, technology, engineering and math; encourages entrepreneurship, financial literacy and economic stability; educates women about good health and HIV/AIDS; promotes civic engagement and advocates for sound public policy and social justice.