A native of Queens, New York, Emily is a first generation college graduate who has spent most of her career advocating for access to higher education. While working her way through law school in the evenings, by day Emily worked for two executives at Duke University, the vice president for institutional equity and the university architect. These experiences helped develop her interest in the intersection of higher education, government and community development. Following law school, Emily served as a staffer in the Mayor’s Office in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where she honed her skills in local and state government relations, economic development and partnership development.
In 2006, Emily joined the University of North Carolina system. She initially served as the Director of Government and Community Affairs at the system’s second oldest campus, Fayetteville State University. Her successful tenure
Emily M. Dickens, Esq.
included securing over $7M in federal funding, realigning sponsorships to meet the strategic needs of the campus, appointment as executive director of the FSU Development Corporation and leadership of the expansion of the campus’ major external affairs initiative, the Chancellor’s Speaker Series. Emily also began her career in board service while in Fayetteville. She represented the University on three boards; the Fayetteville/Cumberland Chamber of Commerce (Secretary of the Board), the North Carolina Partnership for Defense Innovation, and the Cumberland Community Action Program (Executive Committee).
In 2012, Emily returned to the city of Chapel Hill as assistant vice president for federal relations for the University of North Carolina system. Her new duties included working with all sixteen of the system’s campuses on federal legislative and regulatory issues with specific emphasis on athletics, immigration reform, reauthorization of the higher education act, international education programs and minority serving institutions. In addition, Emily took on a number of stretch projects that utilized her state relations experience to assist the five historically black campuses in the university system. One successful outcome was an over $300K direct allocation in the state budget to support an HBCU corporate internship program.
Also in 2012, after several years as a member of the scholarship committee, Emily was elected to the board of the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association. In her first three years of service she has focused her efforts on developing and implementing sponsorship and development processes focused on increasing scholarship funds, maximizing partnerships and donor stewardship. As a result, donations and sponsorship dollars have tripled.
An active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Incorporated, Emily was elected to the board of the sorority’s Educational Advancement Foundation in 2014. She was appointed to serve as the chairwoman of the development committee where she leads a team dedicated to increasing the resources available for academic scholarships and marketing the efforts of the organization.
On September 9, 2015, Emily assumed the role as vice president for public policy and executive director for the center for trusteeship and governance at the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities in Washington, DC. This position provides Emily the largest platform yet to work with the nation’s board leaders and executives on federal and state higher education issues critical to their institutions’ success.
A graduate of North Carolina Central University School of Law, Emily was a recipient of the Dean’s Leadership Award. More recently she was a North Carolina Central University 2014 40under40 honoree and a 2015 nominee for an Excellence in Advocacy Award from the Professional Women in Advocacy (winners to be announced in December, 2015).