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Donna A. James

Elected President Of Nationwide Strategic Investments

James became president of Nationwide Strategic Investments in 2003, overseeing several of Nationwide's businesses including GatesMcDonald, Nationwide Advantage Mortgage Company, Nationwide Health Plans, Nationwide Global Holdings—the corporation's international arm—and Nationwide Mutual Capital. The latter business was Nationwide's $150-million venture capital division. James told Contemporary Black Biography that the purpose of Nationwide Mutual Capital was to develop and incubate new ideas, innovations, and businesses involved in financial services. The division developed innovative ideas and started new businesses, as well as investing in existing businesses. As examples, James cited "real life" problems that Mutual Capital was trying to address: individual healthcare costs, planning for healthcare in retirement, and innovative means of turning a home into a realizable asset, given that most people's major asset is their home.

James served on numerous corporate and nonprofit boards. In 2001 she joined the board of directors and the audit committee of Intimate Brands, Inc. (IBI). She served as chair of the special committee on recombining IBI with Limited Brands, the Columbus-based retailer and parent company of IBI. In 2003 she joined the Limited Brands board of directors and the audit committee. James also served as a board member of the Ohio College Access Network and was a member of the Columbus chapter of Links, Inc. From 1995 until 2000, James was a member of the board of trustees of the Wexner Foundation. In 2001 she was awarded the DeVry Spirit of Advocacy award for her work as an advocate for high-school women in science and technology.

James told Baskerville of Essence magazine in 1999: "Being a teenage mother without much money placed a lot of odds against me from the start. It was hard clearing those hurdles, as well as those inherent for all Black businesswomen, so I'm proud of where I am and how I got here."



Black Enterprise, November 2004, p. 78.

Black Issues in Higher Education, May 10, 2001, p. 9.

Ebony, October 2003, p. 10.

Essence, July 1999, p. 60.

PR Newswire, December 23, 1998, p. 9191; July 11, 2003.


Additional information for this profile was obtained through an interview with Donna A. James on January 10, 2005.

—Margaret Alic

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Dan Jacobson Biography - Dan Jacobson comments: to Barbara Knutson (1959–2005) Biography - PersonalDonna A. James Biography - Attended College As A Single Mother, Joined Nationwide Insurance, Headed Human Resources, Elected President Of Nationwide Strategic Investments