The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), one of the country’s leading civil rights organizations, has named Thelma Thomas Daley as its eighth national president and chair.
She succeeded Johnnetta Betsch Cole, who served as national president and chair until Jan. 31.
The announcement was made this week by Alexis Herman, a senior adviser to the council’s executive committee.
Daley, who was sworn in as the new national president and chair on Feb. 2, moves to the top leadership position in NCNW after serving as vice president.
Daley has a long, impactful record with NCNW that has focused on its continued strategic growth, program impact and relevancy, organization officials said.
“Dr. Daley is a well-known, much beloved and proven leader of national and international organizations,” Herman said. “She understands well the mission, the goal, and the urgency of the work we do.”
Cole became NCNW national president and chair in November 2018. During her tenure, the 86-year-old organization founded by Mary McLeod Bethune has increased its support for women’s health issues and against voter suppression. Cole was arrested last summer during a protest march against hundreds of state voting rights measures across the country, joining forces with other female leaders.
Cole served as the president of the only two historically Black colleges for women in the United States, Atlanta-based Spelman College and Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, North Carolina. She also served as director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and was the first African American to serve as chair of the board of United Way of America.
Cole’s NCNW and career leadership was celebrated in October with a virtual celebration for her 85th birthday attended by hundreds of attendees.
Daley is considered a trailblazer in the counseling profession. She served as the first African American president of the American Counseling Association, the most prominent counseling association in the world, and was the first Black president of the American School Counselor Association.
As an activist, Daley has broken many barriers, including becoming the first woman to chair the National Advisory Council on Career Education.
“My goal is to coalesce the total membership around the many needs to be fulfilled,” she said. “To reach our goals, we must break barriers, build bridges and climb mountains.”