Kathy Thornton-Bias, President & CEO
Kathy Thornton-Bias is a highly respected executive in the business and retail space with a career that spans almost three decades. During that time, she has held senior leadership roles for more than 15 years in large organizations and possesses a wealth of fundraising experience. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a degree in Rhetoric and Communications, she joined Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, where she would eventually become the first African American to hold the title Vice President for Divisional Merchandise. She then served as the President of the Retail Division for New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), where she doubled revenues and tripled profits. After 11 years at MoMA, Thornton-Bias became Bang & Olufsen’s President of North America, launching a new revenue stream which would ultimately produce 30 percent of the overall sales for the company. She later moved to Milwaukee to become the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Verlo Mattress franchise.
Thornton-Bias has served on numerous non-profit boards including a current board member of the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Ron Brown Scholars Program, and the University of Virginia, where she serves as a trustee. She is also a member of the Junior League and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She has received widespread recognition from a number of esteemed publications including Ebony Magazine, which placed her on their “Power 100” list, and Essence Magazine, which named her to their list of “Game Changers.”
In addition to her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, she also earned a master’s in business administration from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University.