CHARLESTON, S.C. (January 9, 2019) – The International African American Museum is proud to welcome three recent additions to its board of directors: Robyn Coles, president of TRATE Properties; Kent Matlock, founder, chairman and CEO of Matlock Advertising & Public Relations; and Bob Branan, a financial management specialist.
“Over the last year, the IAAM has experienced a number of exciting transformations as we ramp up our operations and prepare to break ground,” said Michael Boulware Moore, IAAM president and CEO. “We’ve grown our staff, and now we are growing our board of directors, a body that is critical to providing guidance and wisdom that is particularly valuable as we enter this new chapter. We are incredibly proud to welcome Robyn, Kent and Bob to the team.”
Robyn Coles is an accomplished businesswoman who has long been active in nonprofit and philanthropic endeavors. Before taking on her current role as president of TRATE Properties, a real estate management and ventures company, she served as the CEO of two companies: Computer Marketing Services and Scientific Supplies Network.
Coles is a board member of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, an advisory board member of the American Theatre Wing, and a former board member of the American Conservatory Theatre and the San Francisco Opera Guild. She is also a trustee of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Foundation.
“Over the years, I have had the privilege of supporting philanthropic endeavors that allow me to give back to causes that are dear to me – from cancer research to the NAACP,” said Coles. “The International African American Museum – which will be built on Gadsden’s Wharf, one of the most important sites of African American history – will be a living, breathing institution that directly links us to our past. I look forward to helping bring this museum to life.”
In 1986, Kent Matlock founded Matlock Advertising & Public Relations, where he currently serves as both chairman and chief executive officer. His company has crafted and launched creative campaigns for a litany of recognizable, global companies, including AT&T and Coca-Cola.
For more than three decades, Matlock has been involved with the United Negro College Fund, serving as a lifetime volunteer as well as a board member with its Atlanta office. He has also served on the boards the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), one of the nation’s leading civil rights organizations; EduPAC Atlanta, which promotes and advocates for the election of qualified school board candidates; and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which works to improve education in the South through accreditation.
“There is nothing more powerful or valuable than education,” said Matlock, “which is why I have prioritized service to organizations that improve our educational institutions and expand access to education. The International African American Museum will be a beacon of African American history and culture, as well as a priceless center of education that will welcome students of all ages and backgrounds and provide countless opportunities for discovery and growth.”
A North Carolina native, Bob Branan has been a fixture of the Charlotte business community for 40 years. Branan, who has extensive experience in public accounting and business consulting, provides tax services to clients in various industries, specializing in real estate and construction as well as financial management for individuals and private business owners. Branan led the Deloitte Carolinas Private Client Services Practice and now devotes time to a Charlotte-based family office.
Branan serves on the Executive Board of the Mecklenburg County Council and donates his time and guidance to the Boy Scouts of America as the Council National Jamboree Committee Chairman and former Council Commissioner.
“As a new member of the IAAM board, I look forward to the important work ahead to turn the dream of the museum into a reality,” said Branan. “I view my participation as an honor and a privilege. This museum will not only be a living and breathing treasure for Charleston and the Carolinas, but I truly believe it will quickly become a national asset.”
“I am honored to welcome our three newest board members, who bring with them a tremendous degree of business acumen, dedication to philanthropic endeavors, and commitment to ensuring the excellence of the International African American Museum,” said Wilbur Johnson, chairman of the IAAM board of directors.
About the IAAM:
Nearly half of all enslaved Africans forced to America through the Transatlantic Slave Trade arrived in Charleston, and the vast majority disembarked at Gadsden’s Wharf, the future home of the International African American Museum (IAAM) and one of the most significant and sacred sites of the African American experience in the Western hemisphere. The IAAM, a museum, memorial and site of conscience, will present unvarnished history and culture, commemorate and celebrate the foundational role that Africans and their descendants played in the making of America, and highlight their diasporic connections around the world. It will include immersive, interactive exhibits engaging to all ages and feature the Center for Family History, a leading genealogy archive that will help visitors identify their individual threads in the complex tapestry of history.