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Board of Directors

Ernest H. Urquhart



"Ernie" co-founded the Urquhart Memorial Foundation with his wife Michelle in 2002 upon the occasion of their union as husband and wife. He is a native of Philadelphia and a successful product of the Philadelphia public school system before he went further in higher education and graduated from Penn State University ('71).

Ernie enjoyed a thirty-nine year professional career succeeding in roles of increased responsibilities up to and including Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at companies such as Catholic Healthcare West (San Francisco), Harcourt Inc. (Boston), Johnson & Johnson (New Brunswick), and Exxon Corporation (Houston). He retired from his corporate career life in 2010,  and founded Urquhart Consulting based in Scottsdale, AZ where he is President and Independent Consultant, serving clients nationwide.

In addition to his commitment to the Urquhart Memorial Foundation Ernie supports other organizations through his philanthropy and his service as Board member. These organizations include the Museum of the African Diaspora of San Francisco, CA the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre of San Francisco, CA, Garth Fagan Dance of Rochester, NY, Chair of Board of Trustee of Holy Temple Church of Philadelphia, PA, FIBCO Family Services, Inc. Phoenix, AZ. He also served on the Board of Decision Resources Group of Burlington, MA.

Ernie proudly shares his passion of helping others help themselves through his work via Urquhart Consulting and the Urquhart Memorial Foundation.

Michelle Urquhart



Michelle Urquhart had a successful twenty-five year career in corporate roles in the Production and Manufacturing area of book and magazine publishing. Her career positioned her at divisions of Macmillan, McGraw-Hill and Harcourt.

 A native New Yorker, she currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband Ernest H. Urquhart.  Michelle lends her talents and energy doing volunteer work in healthcare, the arts and education. She is co-founder of the Urquhart Memorial Foundation.

Carmen Allen

Vice President, Harris Corporation (ret.)


Carmen Allen served as  Vice President of Human Resources for the RF Communications Division of Harris Corporation.  The division employs approximately 3700 people.  Carmen previously served as Senior Vice President, Human Resources Officer at Vertis Communications and Vice President of Human Resources – Global Business Operations & Process Excellence at Bausch & Lomb, Inc. She managed and coordinated a global HR team of over 500 HR professionals supporting 15 countries.  Her professional career began with HR roles of increasing responsibilities at Eastman Kodak Company, Fison Pharmaceuticals and Levi Strauss.

Carmen earned a BS degree in Business Administration from the University of Missouri and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Rochester.  She is a member of the Society of Human Resources Managers, the National Black MBA’s, Board of Trustees for Garth Fagan Dance and founder of Rochester HR Diversity Network and Ebony Voices Book Club. She has served with distinction on the UMF board since 2002.

Alexandria J. Boone

CEO, GAP Communications Group


Alexandria Johnson Boone (“Alex”) is President and CEO of GAP Communications Group a full service public relations, advertising, marketing, fundraising and special events firm based in Cleveland, Ohio.

Ms. Boone is a native of Cleveland. She holds a Master’s degree from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. She is the founder of the Marcus Garvey Academy Middle School, an innovative community school with an African-centered curriculum based in East Cleveland, Ohio.

Ms. Boone is Founder of the Women of Color Foundation, dedicated to the education, training and leadership development of all women of color.

Louise J. Gissendaner

VP, Bancorp Community Affairs, Outreach & Strategic Initiatives(ret.)


Ms. Louise J. Gissendaner served as Senior Vice President and Director of Community Development for the Northeastern Ohio affiliate of Fifth Third Bank, a state member bank headquartered in Cincinnati with assets over $105.8 billion and a presence in ten states. Ms. Gissendaner serves on the management team and is primarily responsible for managing the bank's community reinvestment reporting and goal setting. She is also responsible for directing community development sponsorships and foundation grant opportunities to community organizations throughout Northeastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. Ms. Gissendaner has extensive knowledge in the areas of regulatory compliance, community development lending, and CRA-related activities. Prior to working at Fifth Third, Ms. Gissendaner served as Vice President and Community Reinvestment Officer at the Ohio affiliate of Banc One Corporation. She currently serves on the board of Cleveland Action to Support Housing (C.A.S.H.), is Board Chair of the Akron Urban League, and is the Founder and President of Sankofa Fine Art Plus. Ms. Gissendaner served as a Member of Consumer Advisory Council at The Federal Reserve System (The Federal Reserve Board). 

Ms. Gissendaner is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, received her undergraduate B.S. degree in communications from Kent State University and currently resides in Cincinnati. Ohio.

Edwin A. Hill

President,CCO Organization Innovations, LLC


"Ed" and his organization advises business leaders on leadership and growth. He is a native of Gary Indiana and a graduate of Indiana State University, with graduate-level study at Indiana Central University with degrees in Advertising Design and Art Education.  In his professional career Ed held management and executive leadership roles in premier organizations such as, Target, General Electric, and Johnson & Johnson where he worked from 1988 until his retirement in 2007. In 2004 while at J & J Ed became the first Vice President of Diversity for the Global Pharmaceuticals Group of J & J companies Ed retired early from J&J in 2007.

In addition to the UMF, Ed has been active in the various communities where he has lived. He currently serves on the Deacon Board for First Baptist Church of Langhorne, PA. He has also served on the Board of the BOYS & GIRLS CLUB of Trenton, New Jersey; the Indiana State University Foundation Board; the Executive Committee for the L.E.A.D. Program in Business (Leadership for Education And Development), which focused on developing diverse high school students in the Philadelphia area for college and professional life.

Ed served as Chairman of the Board for the Mid-Atlantic Consortium of Charter Schools, which focuses on providing high-quality “Nursing Services” for diverse Charter Schools in the Philadelphia area.

Dr. Brenda P. Alston-Mills, PhD

Associate Dean & Professor Michigan State University


Brenda Alston-Mills was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was educated in the Philadelphia public school system. She graduated from Philadelphia High School for Girls and then earned her Bachelor of Science in biology with a minor in chemistry at Lycoming College. She continued her education at Michigan State University receiving both her Master of Science degree, and her doctorate in Zoology with a major emphasis in Physiology. Dr. Alston-Mills has served on the faculty of the University of Maryland, North Carolina State and currently is the Associate Dean & Professor of Animal Science in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University.
Her strong interest in culture led her to also attain a minor in French language and she studied in Pau, France. She traveled to the Caribbean, Ghana, Brazil, Venezuela, Norway, England, Scotland, Italy, and Spain. Her travels and
understanding of other cultures has allowed her to be a strong mentor for studies from all countries and backgrounds. She has been invited nationally and internationally to share her philosophy of teaching as well as to present her work in research.
Her academic training has allowed her to pursue studies in the biology of mammary glands as it relates to breast cancer research.

Linda Wade

Academic Advisor (ret.), Penn State University


Ms. Wade is Founder and President of L.V. Wade Educational Consulting Services of State College PA.

Linda Wade was an Academic Advisor in the Department of Human Development & Family Studies at Pennsylvania State University, before she retired.

A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania she attended Penn State University and then completed her education through an accelerated masters program at Lincoln University. Ms. Wades’ life priorities are God, family, friends and education. As such, in addition to serving on the UMF Board of Directors she is the facilitator/instructor for the UMF workshop “How to Get Good Grades in College”. Additionally, Ms. Wade is an instructor in her church ministry development program and also serves as a mentor particularly to female students in their educational and spiritual growth.

Tracy Church

 EVP, Chief Administrative Officer, Hartford HealthCare

Tracy Church is Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for Hartford HealthCare, a health care network employing more than 19,000 employees throughout Connecticut.  In her role she leads the division and teams that provide expertise and support services for employee relations, leadership and organizational development, compensation and benefits, recruitment, customer experience, project management, continuous improvement, and facilities, construction and real estate.Tracy is a native of Connecticut and began her career holding HR leadership roles at both for-profit and not-for-profit health care organizations.

In addition to her long-time support of UMF, Tracy is Chair of the Susan G. Komen New England Affiliate, Vice Chair of the Board for Hartford Youth Scholars, and a member of the Advisory Council at Sacred Heart Academy, an independent high school for girls.

Tracy holds a Masters of Arts in organizational management from the University of Phoenix and her undergraduate degree is from University of Maryland, College Park.  She and her husband, Ed, have four grown children and make their home in Hartford, Connecticut. 

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