James is a seasoned professional with more than 22 years of leadership experience, and over more than 12 years leading diversity and inclusion programs. His background spans fashion, food and now wine. James recently joined Ste Michelle Estates as their first Director of Inclusion, Equity & Diversity. In his role he is responsible for driving inclusive business practices for Ste Michelle Estates’ portfolio of wineries across Washington, Oregon and California, enhancing the organization’s ability to hire, develop and retain diverse top talent, as well as drive profitable sales and connections with communities around the world.
James transitioned to Ste Michelle Estates from Starbucks where he served first as a District Manager, leading a portfolio of stores in the downtown Seattle market, and then as a Senior Manager of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility programs. In this role he supported the company’s U.S. retail business which included more than 18,000 stores and 187,000 employees. James’ primary role was to operationalize and implement the company’s inclusion and diversity strategies throughout the retail business to create a more inclusive environment for both customers and employees.
Prior to Starbucks, James spent 20 years at Nordstrom in multiple roles that included being a Store Manager for both the Rack and Full Line division and ten years in the diversity and inclusion division, five leading the company program.
James is a Cornell University certified diversity professional and has his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and a graduate degree in Legal Studies from Arizona State University.
He has served on a number of nonprofit boards that include Seattle Goodwill and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, and currently serves as a board member for City Year King County and the Choices Education Group.
In his spare time, he enjoys playing tennis, hiking and riding his motorcycle.