Heritage staff responded enthusiastically to the news, as did conservative leaders across the country. With James at the helm, there was no doubt that Heritage would remain, in the words of The Wall Street Journal, “True North”—the lodestar of the conservative movement.
After settling into the president’s office on Jan. 1, James immediately launched into a marathon of networking, meeting with all members of House and Senate leadership as well as more than a dozen top administration officials—including one who works out of an Oval Office.
James is determined that Heritage must carry its conservative message far beyond the halls of power in D.C., however. To grow the conservative movement, additional outreach is needed—especially among America’s young people, minority communities, and women. And she is leading by example.
Shortly after taking the helm of Heritage, James hosted a Communities of Color Breakfast, a monthly gathering of private-sector thought leaders addressing problems facing minority communities. The breakfast series has been co-sponsored for years by the National Urban League and Insight America, but this was the first ever held at Heritage.
By mid-year, in addition to being a regular contributor to the opinion pages of FoxNews.com, she was writing a column for Black Press USA. Those columns appear in black-owned and operated newspapers in over a score of cities across the country.
In July, she reached out to young people, speaking at Turning Point USA’s High School Leadership Summit. The following month, she traveled to Detroit for the annual convention of the National Association of Black Journalists. There she spoke with members of the NABJ board.
Throw in more than 15 trips to meet with Heritage members at local gatherings, and you can see it was a fast-paced year, indeed.
Matching James step-for-step was Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D., named Heritage’s executive vice president in February. Holmes has been a fixture at Heritage for 30 years, holding a variety of posts—most recently as senior vice president for research.
In announcing Holmes’ promotion, then-board chairman Thomas A. Saunders III noted, “Kim has a deep understanding of and appreciation for scholarly research. He and Kay provide Heritage with a powerful combination of domestic and foreign policy experience.”
With Saunders stepping down from the chairmanship—a post he had held for nearly a decade—the trustees unanimously elected Barb Van Andel-Gaby as his successor. A board member for more than 20 years, Van Andel-Gaby had served as vice chairman since 2014.
From May until Van Andel-Gaby’s formal installation as chairman in September, Saunders worked closely with her to ensure a seamless transition of leadership. He remains an active member of the board.
Heritage is thankful for Saunders’ past service and his continued commitment to Heritage and the conservative movement. In appreciation of his commitment to conservative values, in October, we presented him with our prestigious Clare Boothe Luce Award and dedicated the 2019 Index of U.S. Military Strength to him.