Mr. Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary, Smithsonian Institution
Mr. Lonnie G. Bunch III is the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, where he oversees 19 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, numerous research centers, and several education units and centers. Previously, Mr. Bunch was the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which has welcomed more than 5 million visitors since it opened in September 2016 and compiled a collection of 40,000 objects. Before his appointment as director of the museum, Mr. Bunch served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society, the associate director for curatorial affairs for the National Museum of American History, as well as in a number of teaching positions at universities across the country. Mr. Bunch has served on the advisory boards of the American Association of Museums and the American Association for State and Local History. Among his many awards, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House in 2002 and reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2010. In 2005, he was named one of the 100 most influential museum professionals of the 20th century by the American Association of Museums.
Dr. Johnnetta Cole, Chair of the Board and President of The National Council of Negro Women
Johnnetta Betsch Cole is a noted educator, author, speaker and consultant on diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion in educational institutions, museums and other workplaces. After receiving a Ph.D. in anthropology, Dr. Cole held teaching positions in anthropology, women’s studies, and African American studies at several colleges and universities. She served as President of both historically Black colleges for women in the United States, Spelman College and Bennett College, a distinction she alone holds. She also served as the Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, as a Principal Consultant at Cook Ross, and as a Senior Consulting Fellow at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Dr. Cole was the first African American to serve as the Chair of the Board of United Way of America. Recently, she was on the board of Martha’s Table, a nonprofit that supports children, families and communities in Washington, D. C. Dr. Cole is currently the Chair and Seventh President of the National Council of Negro Women, an advocacy organization for women’s rights and civil rights. Throughout her career and in her published work, speeches, and community service, Johnnetta Betsch Cole consistently addresses issues of race, gender, and other systems of inequality.
Mr. Philip Pannell, Executive Director, Anacostia Coordinating Council
Philip Pannell is a 45-year resident of the District of Columbia and since 1995 has served as the Executive Director of the nonprofit Anacostia Coordinating Council. Mr. Pannell has received more than 100 awards recognizing his tireless dedication to the DC community. In 2011 he received the President of the United States’s Call to Service Award, and in 2012 received the DC Federation of Civic Associations’ award for the Outstanding President of a Member Association and the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum’s Community Service Award.
During his decades of dedicated service in the District, Mr. Pannell has served as president of the Congress Heights Community Association and the Anacostia/Bellevue/Congress Heights AARP Chapter #4870. He has served as a DC Human Rights Commissioner, a member of the DC Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs, and as treasurer of the Ballou High School PTSA. Mr. Pannell served ten years as member of the board of trustees for the DC Public Library and the vice chairman of the board of the Community College Preparatory Academy Public Charter School. Mr. Pannell is a native of Newport News, Virginia. He graduated from Fordham University and did graduate work at Howard University.