The Board of Regents is the governing body of Northern Kentucky University. By statute (KRS 164.350), the Board is responsible for the effective governance of the university and part of that charge is to select the president of the university for such term as the Board deems advisable, not to exceed four years.
The president then will be the chief executive and academic officer of the university and shall have those duties and powers as described in writing by the Board via contract and university policy.
As chairman of The E.W. Scripps Company, Rich is one of NKU's most active alumni. He brings to our board broad experience in the ongoing development of large, complex,mission-driven organizations. During the final two years of his first term on the Board of Regents, he served as board chair.
Since his days as a student here, Rich has long been an ambassador for our
institution and our region. Having begun his media career in high school
selling subscriptions to The Cincinnati Post, he received his bachelor's degree from NKU in journalism in 1981 and then worked as a reporter and editor. He joined the Scripps corporate staff in 1988, eventually rising to the role of chairman, president and chief executive officer of the Cincinnati-based media enterprise. He retired from the president/CEO role in 2017.
During Rich’s tenure at Scripps, the company was one of America’s leading owners of broadcast television stations, newspapers, cable TV networks, news and information digital businesses and podcast networks. The company also operates one of America's best-known academic programs, the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
In addition to his duties at Scripps, Rich is vice chair of the Associated Press, one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive news organizations.
In 2016 he was honored by his news industry peers for his leadership in support of First Amendment rights in the United States. And in 2018, Rich was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame.
Rich received the NKU Professional Achievement Award (1996), Outstanding Alumnus Award (2001) and Lincoln Award (2012). He served as chairman of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce in 2010 and also served the boards of Cintrifuse, Cincinnati's Freestore Foodbank; and the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. He is among the trustees of the newly created Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky.
Nathan Smith is the co-founder and Chief Investment Officer
of Flagship Communities REIT. For 27 years, Nathan Smith has led the
transformational effort for substantial growth of his company, including
forming a REIT and a successful IPO on the Toronto Stock Exchange, during 2020, the pandemic year. The REIT owns and operates a portfolio of now 66 manufactured housing communities, comprising 11,876 lots located in seven states. Smith’s company is the largest manufactured housing company in Kentucky and among the top 20 in the United States. Smith has served on several high-level boards including the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), and chairman of the Northern Kentucky University Board of Regents, as well serving as a director on the board of Safe Harbor Marinas and the national Manufactured Housing Institute.
Kara Williams is a mission-minded business strategist, passionate about cultivating authentic brands that help drive the futures of the businesses she serves. With over 15 years of experience in communication, marketing, and organizational leadership, Kara combines her big-picture vision and tactical know-how to expertly lead The Marketing Collective, a consulting firm she founded in 2015 to meet a need she saw for smart, strategic marketing that wasn’t one-size-fits-all.
Since graduating from Northern Kentucky University in 2001, Kara has served in a number of roles at the University, including Fourteen years on the Board of Directors of the Northern Kentucky University Foundation, where she served as Chairman of the Membership Committee and on the Executive Committee. Kara also served on the Success by Design strategic framework planning committee and in 2011 was named the Outstanding Alumna Award Winner from the College of Informatics.
Kara and her husband, Wade, who is also a graduate of Northern Kentucky University, are the proud parents of two little girls who will gladly flash the “Norse Up” sign every chance they get.
Dr. Spataro is a Professor of Management at NKU and the Director of the MBLI program. She holds bachelor’s and masters’ degrees in Economics and Sociology, respectively, from Stanford University. She received her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Sandra’s research examines status and influence processes in organizations, demographic diversity, and organizational cultures. Her work has been published in various journals in Management and Psychology. In addition, Sandra has published two books: "Unstuck: A Tool for Yourself, Your Team and Your World", co-authored with Keith Yamashita and “Dare to Inspire: Sustain the Fire of Inspiration in Work and Life” co-authored with Allison Holzer and Jen Grace Baron. Prior to her work in academia, Sandra worked for several years at Oracle Corporation in California in various staff and line positions. Dr. Spataro has a consulting firm, InspireCorps, that specializes in developing leaders, teams, and organizations to thrive. The firm offers executive coaching and training to improve overall organizational effectiveness.
Dr. Henderson is the associate director of the Office of Institutional Research at NKU. She is also an alum, graduating from the Masters of Industrial-Organizational Psychology program in 2015. Dr. Henderson started at Northern as a graduate assistant in 2012 and was hired full-time in 2014. She also served as the president of NKU’s Black Faculty and Staff Association from 2019 to 2021. During her time as BFSA president, Dr. Henderson co-created the Innovation Challenge winning program, Students to Scholars (S2S), which is a sophomore retention program for Black students at NKU. She also participated in the establishment of the Black Faculty & Staff Association-Higher Education Consortium (BFSA-HEC) within the commonwealth of Kentucky. Dr. Henderson serves on the Inclusive Excellence Council and previously served on the Information Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC).
In her personal life, Dr. Henderson enjoys spending time with her husband and five-year old son. She also enjoys reading, action movies, and volunteering at her local church.
Ashley Himes is a NKU alumni many times over, holding Master of Arts degrees in Instructional Leadership (’09) and Secondary Education (’07) and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication (’03).
A lifelong Northern Kentucky resident, Ashley currently serves as the Student Services Coordinator at NKCES. Prior to this, she served in the Newport Independent and Campbell and Pendleton County school systems as a special education teacher, educational diagnostician and Assistant Principal.
On the personal side, she is married to Daniel Himes, a 2002 NKU graduate earning his Bachelor's Degree in Marketing at NKU's US Bank/Haile College of Business. They have twin daughters and live on a 100-acre farm in Pendleton County.
Ashley was appointed by Governor Bevin and will serve until 2023.
Ken Perry graduated from the Naval Nuclear Power Program and was in charge of the nuclear reactor aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. After six years serving in the military, he returned to Kentucky and founded Ken Perry Realty, Inc. It includes Ken Perry Realty, a firm split between sale and construction of single-family residences, small commercial land and building developments, and land development for residential communities. Perry also started an online real estate school titled the Perry Real Estate College, which currently services Kentucky and Tennessee but will soon expand into South Carolina and 17 other states.
In addition to his appointment on NKU’s Board of Regents, Perry is active in his industry and community. He has served on the Northern Kentucky Multiple Listing Service Board of Directors, the First Alliance Life Insurance Corporation advisory board and as the past president of the Re/MaxBrokers Council. Perry has also served on two consecutive four-year terms as Commissioner of the Kentucky Real Estate Commission from 2005-2013. His term on NKU’s Board of Regents will expire on June 30, 2026.
Isaiah Phillips is a junior double majoring in Psychology and Sociology. Phillips serves as President of the Student Government Association and as the university’s student regent. Phillips is also involved in other areas on campus. He serves as a Parliamentarian of the National Pan-Hellenic Council and a Peer Ambassador for Norse Violence Prevention here on campus. He is also a proud member of the Pretty Prestigious Pi Pi chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., where serves as strategus.
Mr. Andrá R. Ward is the President, Chief Cultural & Transformation Officer and founding principal of The KhafreWard Corporation which is focused on human resource management and talent development. Since 1992, KhafreWard has specialized in improving organizational effectiveness, maximizing individual leadership competencies, enhancing productivity through cultural agility, leveraging thinking and effective communication styles, and strengthening the broadest scope of diversity/inclusion to enhance strategic business results. Mr. Ward is a highly regarded panelist, speaker, and master facilitator and executive coach. His global impact and travels span across the United States and twenty-two other countries including Asia, Europe, Africa, South America and the Caribbean
Mr. Ward is an alumnus of Northern Kentucky University. He graduated in 1986 with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Radio, Television & Film. Mr. Ward earned a Master of Science in Positive Organizational Development & Change Management (MSPOD), Weatherhead School of Management – Case Western Reserve University with Honors (2016). He also pursued graduate studies in Humanities – Organizational Leadership at Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH. He holds an Executive Coaching Certification from The Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western
Reserve University along with six other professionally designated
certifications in human behavioral assessments and instruments. He is
also a very strong advocate and proponent of interdisciplinary studies. He
credits the foundation of his current career success to a background in
Sociology, History and liberal arts/humanities. His service to the university
is significant. He is presently an Emeritus Member of the Northern
Kentucky University Foundation, which he ably served from 1997-2009. Mr.
Ward has also served on the Alumni Council, and was a member of the 2007 Lincoln Awards Selection Committee. Mr. Ward received the NKU Outstanding Alumni Award in 1996 and the NKU Distinguished Service Award in 2018. Mr. Ward actively mentors NKU students and several young professionals in business and industry. He is passionate about his mentoring relationships and considers working with students to be the highlight of his NKU service.
Governor Beshear appointed Mr. Ward to the Northern Kentucky University Board of Regents on July 26, 2013. Reappointed by Governor Bevins to serve until June 30, 2025.
Brad Zapp is a serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist with multiple successful exits, currently focused on delivering a new asset class of early-stage venture capital through a publicly listed interval fund. Zapp is the co-founder and managing partner of Connetic Ventures, founder and managing member of ZH Holdings, co-founder of Wendal®. Through his position at Connetic Ventures, venture capital’s foremost data-driven venture fund, Zapp is responsible for all strategic initiatives and partnerships, as well as fundraising and investor relationships. His investment portfolio includes over 100 unique holdings in 32 states and three countries.
Wendal is the artificial intelligence platform technology which Connetic utilizes to make investment selections and democratize capital across marginalized founders in overlooked geographies. Zapp is the data analyst for the company, responsible for the algorithm that has produced close to 60-percent investment recommendations for female or minority founders, and a success rate of over 70% so far.
At NKU, in addition to the Board of Regents, Zapp serves on the advisory board for the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He is a 2000 graduate of the University of Kentucky, where he majored in economics and finance. He and his wife, Katherine have been long time Boone County residents raising 3 children currently at Larry A. Ryle and UK.