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Greater Houston Black Chamber Welcomes Leonard James, III as New President

Former oil company executive predicts growth and prosperity for African American enterprises

Following its nationwide search for a top executive, The Greater Houston Black Chamber has announced the selection of Leonard James, III as its new president.  Board Chairperson Vernita Harris officially communicated the news of his appointment to her board and The Greater Houston Black Chamber’s membership, in anticipation of the immediate commencement of his service.

“Mr. James’ experience, business acumen, and service to the African American community made him a standout among our candidates,” observes Ms. Harris.  “His work has been recognized on a local and national level by corporations and community organizations of the highest stature and we are honored to have him at the helm of the Chamber.”

A native of Tuscumbia, Alabama, who has made his home in Louisiana, Texas, and Washington, DC, Leonard James, III, comes to The GHBC from his work as the founder, CEO, and Chief Strategist of the J3 Advisory Group (J3 AG), a Houston-based communications and relationship-building consulting firm. His corporate career has included a variety of assignments for Exxon Mobil Corporation, from which he retired after 38 years. His most recent position at ExxonMobil was Corporate Policy Advisor where he directed minority community outreach and advocacy initiatives. Prior to that, Leonard was ExxonMobil’s U.S. Business Development and Multi-cultural Marketing Manager where he was tasked with achieving retailer diversity and increasing the number of minority retailers. He was also responsible for positioning ExxonMobil’s corporate image and the Exxon and Mobil brands within ethnic communities where ExxonMobil markets fuel products. Additionally, Leonard served in ExxonMobil’s advertising and credit card departments, and was vice president of Exxon Travel Club, Inc.

“The opportunities for the Greater Houston Black Chamber are boundless,” observes Leonard.  “The African American business community is on the verge of a period of exceptional growth and prosperity and it is my hope and expectation that the Chamber will lead the way.”

In concert and complement to his professional achievements, Leonard has held key positions within several professional, civil, and social organizations. He is the former chairman of the Board of the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA), a member of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Board of Directors and its executive committee, chairman of the NAACP Economic Development Committee, and chairman of the NAACP Image Awards.  He is a former member of the Corporate Advisory Board of the League of United Latin America Citizens (LULAC), the Board of Directors of the National Civil Rights Museum, the Jack and Jill Foundation Advisory Board, the Tavis Smiley Foundation national Board of Directors, and the Executive Committee and Board of Directors and past president of the University of Houston Athletic Foundation (HAF).  Leonard is also the former chairman of the Board of Commissioners for Governmental Ethics for the City of Baton Rouge, LA and East Baton Rouge Parish, the former president of the National Association of Travel Organizations, a life member of the NBMBAA, a silver life member of the NAACP, and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

Among his many honors and awards are his selection by Minority Business News USA as one of its “Outstanding Men of Minority Business Enterprise”, his receipt of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) President Award, and special recognition from the National Urban League (NUL), the 100 Black Men of America (100 BMOA) and the Executive Leadership Council (ELC) for his exceptional contributions to his community.

A frequently sought after speaker, Leonard holds a Bachelor of Science degree in statistics from  the University of Alabama and a Master of Business Administration degree from Louisiana State University.

A high resolution headshot for Leonard is available for download through Dropbox at


About the Greater Houston Black Chamber

Since 1935, the Greater Houston Black Chamber (formerly the Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce) has served as an advocate for African-American business owners and professionals in the Houston area. Seventy-nine years later, the organization’s mission and vision have flourished, reflecting the needs and growth of its members. GHBC has provided value to members, area businesses and the community and has remained committed to assisting African American businesses succeed within the local community.

With much of the nation’s attention focused on the economic state of the country, GHBC has kept the needs of black business owners on the forefront, proving itself to be a premier organization focused on the prosperity and growth of Black entrepreneurs. Today, the Chamber remains focused on how to impact and provide advocacy, awareness and access to African American businesses within the community.

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Media Contact:

Sophia Macris


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