Attorney Lezli Baskerville is CEO of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, the nation’s only membership and advocacy association for the 106 Historically Black Colleges and Universities and 80 Predominantly Black Institutions. As CEO, Attorney Baskerville serves as, “the voice for blacks in higher education.” Prior to assuming the helm of NAFEO, Attorney Baskerville served as pro bono outside counsel for NAFEO for two decades, representing the diverse cohort of HBCUs in 18 states and as counsel for amici before the Supreme Court in Bakkee, Weber, Fullilove and Gratz v. Bollinger.
Baskerville is a 2014 Harvard University Advanced Leadership Fellow, where she designed a $1B sustainable endowment fund for HBCUs that she anticipates rolling out in the fall of 2016 with support from Angel Investors and other philanthropic support. Attorney Baskerville is a graduate of the Executive Management Program for Minority Directors at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Business School. She has served on the HBCU Capital Finance Board for twelve years.
Attorney Baskerville is a constitutional rights and justice lawyer, who holds American Jurisprudence Awards in Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, and Civil Procedure. She is an accomplished small business and association senior executive, who is a recognized expert and author in equal educational and employment opportunity, education excellence, access/success/finance; pipeline issues, minority student persistence, diversity issues, campaign design/direction. She is a seasoned campaign consultant having served in senior advisory positions for three (3) candidates for the office of President of the United States, twenty-four (24) candidates for the United States Congress, ten (10) candidates for the United States Senate and many candidates for state and local public office. Baskerville has written articles in or edited 27 public policy documents, including a 2003 College Board public policy advocacy tool, “Challenging Times, Clear Choices: An Action Agenda for College Access and Success—Investing More Equitably and Efficiently in Higher Education, Creating Value for America.” This collaborative public policy document was designed to educate policymakers about how best the various sources of student aid might work in tandem to expand access to higher education and create financial, intellectual and social value. The report contained policy reports by members of the National Blue Ribbon Panel on Student Financial Aid. It also contains a synthesis and summary of findings and recommendations from 700 witnesses and 170 associations, gathered in regional field hearings across the nation.
Baskerville published a refereed article on teacher diversity in the 2008 American Educator, the American Federation of Teachers’ journal titled, “Investing in HBCUs, Expanding Capital, The Best Solution to the National Teacher and Faculty Diversity Challenge.”
In 2013, she presented to the United States Senate and published a paper on “Closing the Wealth Gap through the African American Entrepreneurial Ecosystem,” in which she supported the proposition that HBCUs are central to a thriving US economy--the economic engines in their communities, with a $13B short-term economic impact according to NSF, and that they create roughly 188,000 full and part-time jobs.... The rolled-up employment impact of the nation’s HBCUs exceeds the 177,000 jobs at the Bank of America, which was the nation’s 23rd largest employer at the time the article was published.
Her most recent publication is a chapter in STEM Connector’s, 2015, Advancing a Jobs- Driven Economy titled, “A Central Role for HBCUs and PBIs in Advancing the Jobs- Driven Economy: STEMming the Predominantly Male, Disproportionately White and Asian US Scientific and Engineering Workforce; Accelerating a Pool of Diverse, Excellent STEM Professionals.”
For ten years, while in private practice, as the Founding and Managing Partner of The Baskerville Group, Attorney Baskerville designed and advanced equal employment and diversity programs for corporations, foundations, philanthropies and associations. She represented clients in affirmative action and diversity judicial and administrative actions. While leading The Baskerville Group, Baskerville also shaped federal and state policies, designed and directed twenty-four campaigns for candidates for the United States Congress; ten campaigns for candidates for the United States House of Representatives, served in senior executive positions in two presidential campaigns and designed and directed many public policy campaigns.
Attorney Baskerville served as Vice President for Government Relations of The College Board, Appellate Counsel at the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, National Legislative Counsel for the NAACP, Inaugural Executive Director of the National Black Leadership Roundtable, and as an Administrative Appeals Judge in the District of Columbia.
Ms. Baskerville is recognized by STEMConnector as one of “100 Women Leaders in STEM;” by Diverse Issues in Higher as one of “25Women Making a Difference;” by AOL Black Voices as one of the nation’s “Top 10 Black Women in Higher Education;” and by Ebony Magazine for six consecutive years as one of America’s Top 100 Most Influential Association Leaders. Baskerville is acknowledged in The History Makers as a distinguished lawmaker.
Baskerville holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors from Douglass College, Rutgers University, and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in recognition of her unstinting commitment to improving the quality of life of vulnerable populations. She holds a Juris Doctorate with honors from Howard University School of Law, an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Benedict College, a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Shaw University and a Presidential Medal of Honor from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Baskerville serves on the Department of Homeland Security’s Academic Advisory Commission and as Chair of the Education Workgroup for the US Department of Energy’s Minorities in Energy Education Initiative. Attorney Baskerville serves as a founding member of the #EducateOURMen Movement of the Hip Hop Sisters Foundation. She is a member of Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C, and of its HBCU Council.