Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Announces 2024 Appointments to its Board of Directors and Corporate Advisory Council

Washington, D.C. –The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) continues to fortify its mission to advance the global Black community by announcing the appointment of exceptional leaders to its Board of Directors and Corporate Advisory Council (CAC). With unwavering dedication to fostering positive change and bolstering the commitment to building future leaders and influencing inclusive policies, the newly appointed board and council members are poised to contribute their talents and expertise towards advancing the CBCF’s mission.

Representative Terri A. Sewell, Chair of the CBCF Board of Directors, emphasized their presence as paramount to the success and sustainability of the organization. “In embracing the combined executive experience of our new board and CAC members, we open doors to innovative approaches in advancing our cause,” said Sewell. “They serve as guardians of the mission, and their leadership reminds us of our collective power as we chart a course towards a brighter and more equitable future for the Black community.”

The incoming cohort aligns seamlessly with the CBCF’s mission, possessing a proven dedication to serving and investing in initiatives aimed at dismantling barriers and eradicating disparities within the global Black community. Hailing from diverse backgrounds and boasting expertise across various industries, these individuals are eager to contribute to the CBCF’s vision for the future.

Nicole Austin-Hillery, President and CEO of CBCF, underscored the evolving composition of the board and council, reflecting a commitment to creating meaningful change for Black communities. “As the CBCF Board and CAC continues to evolve, so does their ability to effectively serve our community,” remarked Austin-Hillery. “These individuals bring a wealth of perspectives, well-documented expertise, and an unwavering commitment to propel the global Black community forward through visionary leadership, impactful public policy, and the empowerment fostered by education. We are grateful for their service.”

The new board members who began three-year terms on May 6, 2024, are:

  • Courtney L. Billington, Head of Government Affairs, North America, Johnson & Johnson
  • Dale Burnet, Co-Founder and Managing Director, BIG Equity Investors, LLC
  • Noni L. Ellison, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Tractor Supply Company
  • Felicia Hale, Chief of Staff, North America Operating Unit, Coca Cola Company
  • Marty Rodgers, U.S. South Market Unit Lead, Accenture

The Corporate Advisory Council members began their three-year terms on May 6, 2024, and are as follows:

  • Patrick Edmond, Director, Federal Affairs, CSX Transportation
  • Dr. Alveda Williams, Chief Inclusion Officer, Dow

New Board Member Biographies

Courtney L. Billington, as Head of Government Affairs for North America at Johnson & Johnson (J&J), champions policies advancing equitable access to innovative healthcare solutions. Leading J&J’s Washington, D.C. office, he shapes federal and state government affairs across the U.S. and Canada. With over two decades at J&J, Courtney has spearheaded transformative initiatives, ensuring healthcare accessibility and addressing patient needs. Previously, as President of Janssen Neuroscience in the US, he delivered innovative treatments for serious mental illnesses. A US Military Academy graduate, Courtney served as a Quartermaster Officer in the U.S. Army, fostering a lifelong commitment to veterans’ causes. He actively supports organizations like the United Services Organization (USO) and the Cohen Veterans Network (CVN), serving on their boards. Committed to community service, Courtney focuses on mental health advocacy and mentorship. He participates in the Health Equity Brain Trust and serves in leadership roles at the Executive Leadership Council, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and the Mu Boule Foundation.

Dale Burnet is a seasoned real estate investment professional with a track record of overseeing over $14 billion in real estate equity investments worldwide. With extensive experience in acquisitions, restructuring, and asset management across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, he has executed joint venture investments across major real estate asset classes. Currently, as Co-founder and Managing Director of BIG Equity Investors LLC, a minority-owned investment management platform, Dale leads strategy formulation, sourcing, and acquisitions, also contributing to the firm’s investment and ESG committees. Previously, he led real estate equity investment operations for Assurant’s $13 billion asset management group and co-founded their third-party investment management platform. Dale’s career also includes senior roles at AIG’s Global Real Estate Investment practice and providing advisory services to Blackstone. Actively engaged in both professional and community roles, he serves on various public and private boards and is dedicated to ministry in his local church. Dale holds a bachelor’s in finance from Boston University and an MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, where he was a Robert Toigo Fellow.

Noni Ellison currently serves as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Tractor Supply Company, a publicly traded $24 billion market cap retail company. She has extensive management and business experience in legal, compliance, quality assurance, regulatory affairs, M&A, risk management, sustainability, corporate finance, and governance. Formerly, she served as General Counsel at Carestream Dental overseeing legal and business functions across North and South America, Asia, and Europe; as Associate General Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary at Grainger; managed licensing, marketing, and intellectual property matters at Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc.; and as Director of Legal Affairs at Scripps Networks. Ellison has been recognized for her work by The Legal 500 GC Power List, as one of the nation’s Top Corporate Counsel Women by Women Inc., and by the YWCA of Greater Atlanta as a Woman of Achievement. Ellison holds a Bachelor of Arts from Howard University, magna cum laude, and earned her law degree and MBA from the University of Chicago.

Felicia Hale is the Chief of Staff for the North America Operating Unit at The Coca-Cola Company, where she spearheads strategic planning and long-term growth initiatives. With extensive experience within the company, Felicia previously led the Equipment Strategy and served as General Manager for the Freestyle business, managing a $1B P&L and driving long-term beverage equipment solutions. Prior roles encompassed various Commercial and Operations positions, contributing to the launch of Sparkling brand extensions and revenue growth. Before joining Coca-Cola, Felicia held roles at Georgia Pacific, Novartis, and General Mills, specializing in sales, marketing, and operations. She also serves on the Alumni board of directors for the University of Miami. Felicia holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from The University of Miami.

Marty Rodgers serves as Accenture’s market unit lead for the US South with a focus on driving financial performance and solving complex problems, he prioritizes innovation, talent retention, and community impact. Marty is a member of Accenture’s Global Management Committee, North America Leadership Team, and serves as office managing director for the Washington, D.C. Metro Area. With over 20 years at Accenture, he previously led the Health & Public Service business in the Southeast and initiated the Nonprofit Practice. Marty’s commitment to social responsibility is evident through his advocacy for inclusion and diversity, as seen in his leadership of Accenture’s African American Employee Resource Group and efforts in recruiting from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Actively engaged in his community, Marty serves on numerous local and national boards, holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from Harvard University, and serves on the Board of Trustees and Board of Fellows at the University of Notre Dame.

New Corporate Advisory Council Member Biographies

Patrick Edmond, currently serving as Director of Federal Affairs for CSX Transportation, brings a diverse background to his role, contributing to a company that covers 23 states, serving two-thirds of the American population. With 13 years of experience at Amtrak as Director of Government Affairs, Patrick successfully navigated the development of two 5-year reauthorization bills through Congress, gaining valuable insight into balanced policy initiatives. Previously, he held roles in education as Director of Government Affairs for the District of Columbia Public Schools. Patrick’s career was forged during his 10 years on Capitol Hill, working for Representatives Peter Peterson, the late Carrie Meek, and the late Stephanie Tubbs Jones, instilling in him a deep understanding of the legislative process and the importance of coalition-building. Patrick is a proud graduate of Florida A&M University.

Dr. Alveda Williams serves as the Chief Inclusion Officer at Dow, where she drives the company’s commitment to inclusion, diversity, and equity, fostering long-term growth and business success. With over 20 years at Dow, she has held various leadership positions, including Corporate Director of Inclusion and Senior HR Director for Talent Acquisition. Alveda has spearheaded Dow’s global inclusion and diversity strategy, ensuring fair talent acquisition processes and embedding inclusion into the employee experience. Her initiatives have led Dow to notable achievements, including ranking #7 on the Fair360 Top 50 list and recognition on the Great Place to Work® and Fortune World’s Best Workplaces™ list. Alveda is a champion for under-represented minority talent, creating programs like Dow’s Building Engineering & Science Talent (BEST) Symposium. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Norfolk State University, a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and serves on multiple boards, earning accolades such as the NSBE Golden Torch Award and the i4CP’s Board Member of the Year Award.