Adele Johnson was a phenomenal leader in the Richmond community. She led three nonprofit organizations in Richmond achieving award winning results in each. Her career was a journey of diversity, equity, and inclusion whether it was for youth, small businesses, or black culture.
Adele’s nonprofit career started when she became president of the Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council (VMSDC). As would become a pattern, this was a role she desired and pursued. Adele recognized the importance of minority owned businesses and wanted to be a catalyst for change in corporate America. Under her leadership, VMSDC more than doubled corporate membership, tripled minority owned business membership, won council of the year multiple times, and expanded from 1 to 3 locations.
Later, Adele joined the Richmond Public School Education Foundation as the executive director. There she combined her passion for education and equity to propel that organization to new heights. Under Adele’s leadership, hundreds of children participated in after-school activities, learned to code, and found a path to college or a scholarship.
In 2019, Adele was given the opportunity to take on a role that she had been wanting for 20 years - executive director for the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia. Adele was humbled by the responsibility to share the stories of our ancestors and excited about the opportunity to encourage future history makers. She continued her success as a leader and innovator and led the development and implementation of creative programming aligned with each exhibition as well as signature programs such as Kidz@122, Dominion Energy Children’s Book Festival, and Freedom Friday. As a result of her efforts, the BHMVA is no longer “Richmond’s best kept secret,” but a place recognized as a leading institution in telling the inspirational stories of Black Virginians.
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