Encouraging Everyday Freedom Heroes
Beverly Grant, Chair of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Board of Directors
Her last role at Procter & Gamble (P&G) before retiring after 26 years was vice president of sales, leading the company’s $8.5 billion retail grocery business. During that time, Beverly Grant – recently named chair of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC) Board of Directors – was a dedicated participant in multiple grocery industry trade associations. She served on the Food Marketing Institute’s advisory board and the Industry Affairs and Trading Partner Alliance committees for the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, where she was an instrumental voice in identifying issues of concern shared by retailers and manufacturers alike.
Today, Grant, a business consultant, is lending her voice to several local organizations as a volunteer. A member of the NURFC board of directors for nine years before being named chair in January, Grant also currently volunteers her time as a member of the board of directors for Mercy Hospital and the Ocean Accelerator in Over-the-Rhine, and she is heavily involved in Crossroads Church and the American Heart Association.
Some might call Grant’s volunteer life busy, but she offers a different description. “I like to contribute in areas I think I have a little bit of skill but a lot of passion,” she says.
Volunteers are the backbone of the NURFC, Grant adds. They ensure inspiring visitor experiences through the center’s amazing exhibits, encouraging guests to take their own steps for freedom each day.
What led Grant to becoming involved with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center?
“The number one reason why I got involved is because of exactly what it stands for, and what it stands for is freedom. It tells the story of the Underground Railroad, of course, but the theme it also focuses on is freedom of all sorts,” Grant says. “I think the work of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center – the stories it tells – enables people to see that. It opens our minds to see the opportunities for us to become everyday freedom heroes.
Her number-one objective as the board chair, given the work the board does, is to see to it that every board member will feel known, Grant continues.
“When we recruit people for the board, there is a set of skills and experiences we look for, so we want to make sure when they get to the board, they feel needed and believe that ‘Wow, I can make a difference in enabling the vision and mission of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center!’ And I want to make sure that their gifts – both financial and time and talents – are also well-respected and well-valued.”
One similarity between all the boards Grant serves and has served on, she notes, is the diversity in thought and approach that flourishes when people of different races, different genders, work together debating important ideas and opportunities. “I believe it’s really critical that we allow those opportunities for different voices, different sets of experiences, at the table. I think that adds a lot to the conversation.”
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is located at 50 E. Freedom Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, visit www.freedomcenter.org.