Stefanie Brown James
A passionate leader, Stefanie Brown James is a master of making the political, personal. She has dedicated her life to empowering people to organize and advocate for equality and expanded opportunities in their communities. Stefanie is the CEO and Founding Partner of Vestige Strategies, LLC; a Washington, DC-based public affairs firm that specializes in grassroots community and civic engagement strategies. Through her role at Vestige, Stefanie works with domestic and international clients to help build and sustain strategic relationships while empowering the community in the process. In 2016, Stefanie and her husband Quentin James, launched The Collective PAC - a national political action committee on a mission to recruit, train, fund and elect progressive black candidates on the local, state and federal level.
This Bedford Heights, Ohio-native, honed her skills while working concurrently as the National Field Director and National Director of the Youth & College Division for the NAACP from 2006-2012. In the process of overseeing the organization’s 2,200 adult branches and representing the 23,000 under-25 youth, Stefanie helped NAACP units identify their pressing issues and crafted creative solutions that turned citizens into stakeholders, and non-traditional partners into allies.
In fact, her reputation precedes her, which is why it only made sense that President Obama would bring her on board to work as his campaign’s National African American Vote Director for the 2012 election cycle. She didn’t just convince a record breaking 66.2% of eligible Black voters to cast ballots, she also empowered a massive volunteer force to engage their friends, family and neighbors, by bypassing the tired tactics of political insiders and getting to know who they are and what they need to be their most successful selves.
It’s a strategy that the 2004 Howard University grad and member of the university's Board of Trustees also employs as the founder and Executive Director of Brown Girls Lead, Inc., a leadership development organization focused on helping collegiate and professional women cultivate the skills they need to effect positive social change on their campuses and in their communities. Whether it’s helping college students in the Brown Girls Lead Academy pick the right clothes to wear to an interview or motivating professional women to take charge of their lives, Stefanie and her six-member planning team are helping to break the glass ceiling of leadership for brown girls across the country.
Yet even with her many accolades - like being recognized as one of the 50 most influential people changing the way we think about campaigns by Campaigns & Election Magazine, in The Grio 100, The Root 100 and by Essence and Ebony Magazines - Stefanie is most proud of the wonderful union she shares with her husband Quentin. As a couple who plays hard and works harder together, they are the co-owners of their company Vestige Strategies where Quentin serves as the COO. In 2015, the couple welcomed their first child, Carter into the world with another son on the way in July of this year.