Joanne K. Krell
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – The Board of Trustees of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) announced today it has selected La June Montgomery Tabron to be the foundation’s next president and CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2014. Throughout her 26-year journey from controller to her current role of executive vice president of operations and treasurer, she has provided strong and decisive leadership demonstrating an understanding of all aspects of the foundation and its legacy. Ms. Tabron will become the 9th leader of the 83-year old foundation, replacing Sterling Speirn, who announced he is stepping down on December 31 after heading the foundation for nearly eight years.
“After an extensive search that included outstanding candidates from both the United States and abroad, La June emerged as our new leader because of her strengths in so many areas of the foundation, and her deep and unwavering commitment to the foundation’s mission, vision and values,” said Rod Gillum, chair of the WKKF board. “As our executive vice president, La June has collaborated with the leadership team to develop and implement WKKF’s programming based on a deep understanding of grantees’ local knowledge and needs of their community. She has shown that she knows how to strike a balance between the board, staff and grantees, all while holding our high standard for impact.”
“I am pleased to have this opportunity to serve and to lead this wonderful foundation to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children,” said Ms. Tabron. “Growing up in a family of ten children in inner-city Detroit, I know first-hand the day-to-day challenges faced by the families we seek to help. In so many ways, my own journey illustrates the power and impact of what is possible with the right conditions.”
Ms. Tabron began her career at the foundation as a financial controller. Her drive and dedication to the mission of the foundation led to numerous promotions, allowing her to expand her responsibilities to all of internal operations including programming strategy and execution. Her leadership in the place-based areas of Mississippi and New Orleans has resulted in the launch of a strategic focus on the educational achievements of Young Males of Color.
“Our founder, Will Keith Kellogg, was dedicated to improving life outcomes for vulnerable children and communities while displaying dignity and humility,” continued Ms. Tabron. “His words and deeds emphasized the importance of putting people first. That remains central as we continue to implement our integrated strategic framework of funding, leveraging and elevating work that leads to healthy and well-educated children and economically secure families. And we will continue to focus on achieving racial equity through racial healing, and using civic and community engagement as our primary mechanisms for effecting sustainable change.”
Ms. Tabron earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and a master’s degree in business administration from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. She is a certified public accountant and a certified management accountant. Her career began as an auditor for Plante & Moran PLLC. An outstanding civic leader, she serves as president of the board of the Western Michigan University Foundation and is a board member of the Michigan-based Bronson Healthcare group, in addition to numerous other community and professional organizations.
Frank Sardone, president and CEO of Bronson Healthcare, praised the selection of Tabron to lead WKKF. She has been a member of the health-care system’s board for 15 years. “La June has helped us better serve not only our patients and their families, but also the entire Southwest Michigan region,” Sardone said. “She played a pivotal role in merging the Battle Creek and Bronson Health Care Systems. Her efforts have developed a culture of performance excellence that has helped to guide us. She possesses a unique devotion to mission, values and caring for people. WKKF has made an excellent choice.”
“La June is the perfect choice to lead WKKF,” said Speirn. “She has been a co-architect of the foundation’s strategy, and she has done it with great skill, grace and leadership. The board’s decision to choose “home-grown” talent speaks volumes about La June’s ability to lead the implementation of this work. And the board is making history with naming the first female and African American to lead the foundation since its founding more than 83 years ago.”
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create the conditions where vulnerable children can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.