Kay Coles James
Senior Advisor

Kay Coles James is a Senior Advisor at the Watts Partners.

As a Senior Advisor, Dr. James leads business activities in health policy initiatives, corporate personnel management, diversity strategy, crisis management and mitigation, employee benefits, workforce training, education, and federal, state and local relations.

After she was nominated by President George W. Bush, the United States Senate unanimously confirmed Dr. James to be Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on July 11, 2001. Dr. James was an advocate for federal employees and leader of a dynamic agency with over 3,600 employees across the country and trust funds that annually exceed 29 billion dollars in appropriations.

Former Director James oversaw the stewardship of over $650 billion in federal retirement, health, life and long-term care insurance assets, and the Federal HSA program - the largest trust fund in the world.

While at OPM, Dr. James played an instrumental role in designing the process and system through which nearly 170,000 employees from 22 different agencies, each with different cultures and human resources services and represented by 17 separate labor unions, merged into the new Department of Homeland Security - one of the largest personnel mergers in history.

Dr. James was also a central official in supporting and implementing the legislation that led to human resource flexibilities at the Department of Defense - providing the President and Secretary of Defense greater flexibility to manage 700,000 Defense employees in the performance of their duties to support America's men and women in uniform.

Prior to coming to her service at OPM, Dr. James served as Secretary of Health and Human Resources for former Virginia Governor George Allen, where she was responsible for fourteen state agencies and over 19,000 employees. Before serving in the Allen Administration, Dr. James was Senior Vice President of the Family Research Council. She served under President George H. W. Bush 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. Dr. James also served as Dean of the School of Government at Regent University and as Chair of the National Gambling Impact Study Commission.

Dr. James was appointed by President Reagan and reappointed by President George H. W. Bush as member of the National Commission on Children. Dr. James has served on the Fairfax County School Board and the Virginia Board of Education. She has also served on several corporate boards, including Focus on the Family and Amerigroup, Inc., a health care provider exclusively for low-income families.

A graduate of Hampton University, James is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, most recently the Doctor of Laws Degree from Pepperdine University. Former Director James is also the recipient of several awards and special recognitions, including the University of Virginia's Publius Award for Public Service.

As a frequent commentator and lecturer, Dr. James has appeared as a guest on every network morning show, several national news and talk programs, and her editorials have been featured in newspapers across the country. In addition, Dr. James is the author of three books; including her award winning 1993 autobiography Never Forget; Transforming America: From the Inside Out (1995).

Dr. James is the wife of Charles James, Sr. and the proud mother of three grown children and a new granddaughter.

Print Version