Chairman’s Award

Stanley Black & Decker

Presented for the first time in 1989, the Chairman’s Award is bestowed to a current or former Chief Executive Officer who demonstrates a commitment to creating educational opportunities for talented young people of color.

James Loree Headshot.jpg

Jim Loree is President & Chief Executive Officer of Stanley Black & Decker. Loree joined the company, then Stanley Works, as CFO in 1999 when the company generated just over $2 billion in revenue. In that role, he led a massive restructuring of the business and began a re-architecting of the company’s portfolio. Since that time, he was promoted to COO, President and then CEO in 2016, as the company generated significant growth both organically and through acquisitions to stand at $13 billion in annual revenue (more than 5x growth since 1999), with more than 58,000 employees across 60 countries.

The organization operates the world’s largest tool and storage company featuring iconic brands such as BLACK+DECKER, Bostitch, CRAFTSMAN, DEWALT, FACOM, IRWIN, LENOX, PORTER-CABLE and STANLEY. Stanley Black & Decker is also the world’s second largest commercial electronic security company and operates a leading engineered fastening business that helps hold the world together. The company’s tools, solutions and services are put to work in virtually every country across the globe.

Under Loree’s CEO leadership, the company has embarked on excavating and embedding its purpose, “for those who make the worldTM” with the goal of creating a sustainable enterprise to ensure the company’s long-term success. The purpose serves as the organization’s North Star, guiding its employees in their actions and defining their values. Stanley Black & Decker is for the maker and creators, the craftsmen and the caregivers and those doing the hard work to make our world a better place. Stanley Black & Decker makes the hardest working tools, solutions and services for the world’s hardest working people.

The world is changing at an exponential pace, and Loree believes that in order for companies to be successful in this rapidly changing world, the company must disrupt itself before others do.  This has led the company to its 22/22 vision with a strategy to become an organization focused on delivering societal good through its innovations and business model approach, with a heightened focus on diversity and inclusion, environmental impact and enhancing the communities where its employees live and work.

To deliver on its purpose and vision, the approach is threefold: continue delivering top-quartile performance, become known as one of the world’s leading innovators, and elevate its commitment to corporate social responsibility.

During his tenure as CEO, the company has been recognized in a number of notable lists, including Forbes’ America’s Best Employers for Diversity, Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable Companies, Fortune’s Most Admired Companies, Dow Jones Sustainability Index (seventh consecutive year) and Mogul’s Top 100 Innovators in Diversity & Inclusion and Top 100 for Millennial Women.

Prior to Stanley Black & Decker, Loree held a successful 19-year career with GE, spanning a multitude of assignments and industries. He joined GE in 1980 as part of the Financial Management training program then joined the GE Audit staff. For the next 12 years he held positions of increased responsibility in financial and operating management in industrial businesses, corporate and at GE Capital.

Loree is an active member of the business community and the nonprofit sector. He is a director of Whirlpool Corporation, serves as a trustee of his alma mater, Union College (where he earned his bachelor’s in Economics), and is a director at both Hartford Hospital and the Jim and Rebecca Loree Foundation. He is a member of the Wall Street Journal CEO Council, the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Fortune’s CEO Initiative and the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion. He is also a director for the National Association of Manufacturers.

Loree is happily married to his wife, Rebecca, with four children…all young women.


Benjamin E. Mays Award
Rebecca Miller Sykes

Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation and Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation 

The Benjamin E. Mays Award, established in 1994 to memorialize the late President of Morehouse College, is frequently awarded to an educator or supporter of education whose principles of personal commitment, integrity, achievement and concern for others reflect those of Dr. Mays.

Rebecca Miller Sykes was appointed in 2013 as president of the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation, which makes grants to support education and the empowerment of women and girls.  On behalf of the foundation, Becky works especially closely with the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls – South Africa (OWLAG) and splits her time between the OWLAG campus in Henley-on-Klip, South Africa and her home in Brooklyn, New York.

From January 1, 2018 to January 31, 2019, Becky continued in her role with the foundation and took on the additional responsibility as Senior Officer of OWLAG, convening and leading the senior management team of the school.  In that capacity, she was based full-time in South Africa.

Immediately prior to joining the foundation, she was associate head of school at Phillips Academy. She moved with her husband to Andover in 1973, when he became an instructor in English at the Academy.  Prior to her appointment to the head of school's office in 1996 (first as assistant head, then as associate head), Becky was dean of community affairs and multicultural development, and before that was a college counselor and residential dean. She has held posts in education or social work for more than forty-five years at a variety of institutions besides the Academy, including Charter Forest Hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana, Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge and at L’Institut St. Martin in Rennes, France. She has presented at conferences, including those sponsored by the Principals’ Center at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) People of Color Conference, the NAIS Annual Conference and the Harvard Medical School Department of Continuing Education and the CS&A Women’s Institute. She contributed an article titled “How, When, Where and With Whom Do You Share Your Cultural Diversity?” to Far and Wide: Diversity in the American Boarding School (1998), a collection of essays addressing life in boarding schools; and a chapter in Glory, Trouble and Renaissance at the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology (2018), published by the University of Nebraska Press.

In May of 2016, Phillips Academy dedicated the Rebecca M. Sykes Wellness Center, in honor of the years Becky supported the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of students and staff alike. 

Becky has served on the boards of Simmons College, the Museum of African-American History in Boston and The Association of Boarding Schools, and was a committee member for the Harvard Alumni Association. She holds an A.B. from Radcliffe College and M.S.W. from Simmons College. She and her husband, Elwin, are the parents of three adult sons – Emmett, Eliot and Emerson – and grandparents to two precious grandsons – Otis and Biko.