Janice L. Mathis, Esq. was appointed Executive Director of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) in 2016. NCNW’s mission is to lead, advocate for and empower women of African descent, their families and communities. NCNW promotes education with a special focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEAM); encourages entrepreneurship and financial literacy; educates women and families about emotional well-being and builds vaccine confidence via Good Health WINs, the largest network of health advocates serving Black and Brown communities.
Janice is responsible for NCNW programming, communications, philanthropy, legal affairs and special events. Membership in NCNW’s 330 local sections (chapters) increased 14% during 2021. Together with its 32 national affiliates, the Charles L. Franklin Associates, the NCNW family now encompasses more than two million persons.
Janice has expanded NCNW’s program and social justice agenda with unique offerings such as Clean Water for Flint, Adulting 101, Millennial Entrepreneurs, Emotional Health is Wealth, Kids Against COVID, STEAMStart and Good Health WINs (Women’s Immunization Networks), Hungry for Education HBCU College Tour, Women’s Economic Empowerment, the Red Card Campaign to end violence and discrimination against women and girls and IDEAS (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility Symposium.)
Prior to joining NCNW, Janice was General Counsel and Vice President of Rev. Jesse L. Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the Citizenship Education Fund (CEF). She spearheaded civil rights and diversity initiatives and led the successful Keep the Vote Alive campaign in 2005 to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act. She implemented an effective shareholder education program resulting in new employment, contracting and board seat opportunities with Fortune 500 companies based in the southeastern U.S. She sat on diversity councils for both Georgia Power and The Coca-Cola Company. In 2015, Janice led a successful effort to include diverse contractors in public transportation contracts in Georgia.
For nearly two decades, Janice practiced real estate, bankruptcy, probate, personal injury and criminal law in Athens, GA, in a firm she started with several law school classmates. She was appointed Special Assistant Attorney General for the state of Georgia, representing Child Support Enforcement and the Georgia Department of Transportation. She served as a speech writer and deputy issues director for Michael S. Dukakis’ 1988 presidential campaign.
In recent years, Janice helped to found the national networking group Power Rising, which is now in its seventh year. She also founded the Metro Athens Growth Federation to spur job creation in Athens, Georgia. As President of the Morton Theatre Corporation, she revived a turn of the 20th century Athens, GA office and entertainment complex originally built by Pink Morton, a Black entrepreneur. Janice testified before the U.S. Sentencing Commission on the crack/powder cocaine disparity. She also traveled to Geneva Switzerland to testify before the United Nations Commission to End Racial Discrimination. Janice and Davida Mathis host the weekly Sisters in Law broadcast for Rejoice 96.9, a Salem Media radio station.
She is the recipient of numerous awards and is included in several editions of the Most Influential Blacks in Atlanta; in 2009 she was named one of 25 Most Influential Women in Atlanta by Rolling Out magazine. In 1996 she was a Centennial Olympic Community Hero and carried the Olympic Torch a portion of its route through Athens, GA. Good Housekeeping Magazine named her “One Hundred Young Women of Promise” in 1989.
Janice earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in both economics and public policy studies at Duke University in only three years and was a recipient of the prestigious Angier Biddle Duke Scholarship. She studied British Politics and History at Oxford University in England and earned a Juris Doctor from the Lumpkin School of Law at the University of Georgia, Athens.
Janice served on numerous boards including the Athens Area Community Foundation, United Way of Northeast Georgia and Athens Area OIC. She serves on Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s national Social Action Commission, where she is responsible for tracking the sorority’s federal legislative priorities. Janice formerly served as a member of the Rules Committee of the Democratic National Committee and on the national board of the League of Women Voters of the U.S.
Janice is widowed and is bonus mom to two adult children raised in her home and GranJan to three beautiful grandchildren who are the light of her life.