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James Rhee

Owner & Author, red helicopter

Metro Region: Greater Boston, MA

Member Since: 2023

James Rhee is an acclaimed impact investor, founder, CEO, and educator. James’ leadership story grabbed global attention during his unlikely seven-year tenure as Chairman and first-time CEO at Ashley Stewart, a fashion retailer with deep historical roots in the Black American community. Leaving his career in private equity, James assumed leadership of the bankrupt Ashley Stewart in 2013 and reinvented the company through the creation of a reimagined ecosystem that blurred boundaries and centered “Kindness and Math”. James’ story, philosophies, and methodologies have been featured by the likes of TED Conferences, Brene Brown and Simon Sinek. In April 2024, Harper One (Harpers Collins) will be publishing his highly anticipated book, entitled “red helicopter”, with other related creative projects to follow. 

James is the recipient of multiple awards including National Retail Federation’s Power Player Award and the New York Urban League’s Frederick Douglass Award, as well as being an honoree of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year program. He was the recipient of the 2023 Council of Korean Americans Trailblazer Award.

James currently serves as the Johnson Chair of Entrepreneurship at Howard University. In addition, he holds appointments at Duke Law School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management. 

Also, he serves as a founding member of the Advisory Council of JP Morgan Chase’s Advancing Black Pathways, a charter member of Ashoka’s Entrepreneur-to-Entrepreneur Network, and a board member of Coalition for Asian American Families and Children. He also serves on the Board of Xponance, a $17+ billion asset management and investment firm.