Phyllis Harris and Gail Thomas Join TMCF Board Of Directors

11/27/17

Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) Board Chairman, Jim Clifton, announced the appointment of Phyllis P. Harris, senior vice president and general counsel of Legal Operations at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and Gail Thomas, vice president of US Public Sector at Microsoft, as TMCF's two newest members of its Board of Directors.

Phyllis Harris leads Walmart's corporate team of attorneys and legal professionals in the areas of employment, intellectual property, information security and corporate governance and affairs law. Additionally, she manages data and analytics, diversity and inclusion programs, outside counsel management, and other programs to support the talent development of Walmart's legal team.

"It's an honor to serve on the TMCF board," said Harris. "Helping our nation's youth with access to opportunities for higher education is critical today and for generations to come. For more than 10 years, Walmart has been supporting TMCF and its commitment to academic achievement and success for students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. I look forward to continuing to support this important mission and goal of furthering higher education dreams and aspirations of so many."

Before joining Walmart in 2006, Harris spent twenty years with the US Environmental Protection Agency where she was a member of the Senior Executive Service and served as the deputy assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance in Washington, DC and Regional Counsel in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2001, Ms. Harris was conferred the rank of meritorious executive by President George W. Bush for sustained superior accomplishments.

As vice president of US Public Sector at Microsoft, Thomas leads a large team of sales professionals serving federal, state and local governments, and education customers across the country. Their goal is to ensure the United States continues to lead, prosper and remain competitive by delivering innovative Microsoft products to help empower these organizations to achieve more.

"An integral part of the Public Sector work I have the privilege of leading is a mission near-and-dear to my heart: empowering every student on the planet to achieve more. For over a decade, through our Thurgood Marshall College Fund – Microsoft (TMCF-MS) Software Grants and TMCF Technology Initiative, we've invested directly in member schools' digital infrastructure in an effort to best prepare students, faculty, and administration with cutting-edge tools and software, said Thomas. "Every year we continue to be impressed by the talented set of students entering job market via TMCF's programs—several of which we're fortunate to have join Microsoft as employees. I'm incredibly excited to continue on with our mission of empowering students and TMCF member-schools."

Prior to her current role, Thomas spent five years as the regional VP, Microsoft US West Region and also served as a board member for the California Chamber of Commerce. Thomas has been with Microsoft in various senior leadership positions for 25 years.

"TMCF's extraordinary success is due, in part, to having a Board of Directors comprised of senior executive leaders from America's most successful, transformative companies," said TMCF President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. The Black College Community will benefit immensely from having Walmart's Phyllis Harris and Microsoft's Gail Thomas around the board table helping architect TMCF's long-term strategic direction and value proposition."

Clifton, who is also chairman and CEO of Gallup, welcomed Harris and Thomas to the board, saying "2017 has been a year of strategic growth and expansion at TMCF and we are pleased to have two exemplary additions to our Board that will assuredly be of great benefit to all of the nearly 300,000 HBCU students we proudly represent."

About Thurgood Marshall College Fund 

Established in 1987, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) is the nation's largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. TMCF member-schools include the publicly-supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions, enrolling nearly 80% of all students attending black colleges and universities. Through scholarships, capacity building and research initiatives, innovative programs and strategic partnerships, TMCF is a vital resource in the PK-12 and higher education space. The organization is also the source of top employers seeking top talent for competitive internships and good jobs.

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