Meet our new board members!

The Museum of Durham History is delighted to announce the addition of three new members to our Board of Directors. Our board provides key leadership for the Museum in carrying out its mission of telling Durham’s stories. Our newest members have been serving the Durham community for years and we are excited to welcome them to the team!

Bob Ashley- Former Interim Executive Director, Preservation Durham

Bob Ashley retired in June 2017 as editor of The Herald-Sun, where he oversaw news and editorial operations at the daily newspaper in Durham.

He returned to that post, from which he retired in January 2011, in June of 2012. In the interim, he was executive director of Preservation Durham, the non-profit historic preservation organization. Currently, he’s back in that post on a temporary basis as the organization searches for a permanent executive director.

He first joined The Herald-Sun as editor in January 2005. Before coming to the Herald-Sun, he was editor for nearly 11 years of the Messenger-Inquirer in Owensboro, Ky. He previously was editor of the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa.

His journalism career started when he worked part-time for the weekly Mount Airy (N.C.) Times, in his hometown. After college, he began work as a reporter for The Raleigh Times, advanced to city editor, and then moved to The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer. There, his jobs included assistant metropolitan editor, deputy features editor, deputy metro editor, features editor and assistant managing editor. He left the Observer for the Centre Daily Times; both were Knight Ridder newspapers.

He is a 1970 graduate of Duke University with a B.A. in history, and was managing editor of the Duke Chronicle. He has served on a number of industry and community boards, including the N. C. Press Association, Preservation Durham, Durham’s Partnership for Children, the Volunteer Center of Durham, Pennsylvania Society of Newspaper Editors, the State College Symphony Orchestra, Healthy Horizons (in Owensboro), the Professional Advisory Committee for the Western Kentucky University Department of Journalism, and the Greater Owensboro Alliance for Education and Workforce Development.

He is an elder in the Presbyterian Church. His wife, the former Patricia Andrews, also a 1970 Duke graduate and Mount Airy native, recently retired as director of the Division of District and School Transformation for the N. C. Department of Public Instruction and now teaches part-time and does consulting work. They have one son, Andrew, a 2011 graduate of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and in a doctoral program in anthropology at New York University.

Syrena Williams, JD, MBA- The CW Law Group, PC

Syrena utilizes her educational experience gained from her MBA and JD, coupled with her work experiences to assist individuals and organizations with every aspect of their business including coaching in organizational management, targeted networking, group facilitation, project management, contract negotiations, conflict resolution, mediation and legal needs.

Ms. Williams has with her over fifteen years of business planning, strategic planning, project management, networking, effectiveness and efficiency process training and facilitation experience. Ms. Williams has served as a consultant to several organizations providing extensive support with identifying and recognizing goals, areas for improvement, and unresolved issues. She works to ensure seamless training on and implementation of new strategies and techniques that advance the organizations’ missions and shareholder’s interests, when applicable. She specializes in long-term coaching to ensure that new systems, techniques and procedures result in proven value to clients while being discreet in her visibility.

Ms. Williams’ keen interest in helping her community develop and grow drives her work to arm others with relevant, timely information in order to maximize their ability to advocate for and achieve their own success. She has mentored numerous Black-owned fledgling businesses to improve their back-office processes and procedures. Her many roles with organizations have provided her an opportunity to utilize and grow varied skills sets to enhance their skills, goals and capabilities of others. She is an active member in her community, Durham, North Carolina.

Adrian Brown- Managing Broker/Partner, Inhabit Real Estate

In 1998, Adrian moved to Durham from Atlanta to start a chain of independent home furnishing stores, during which he obtained his real estate license. Eventually Adrian took a job at the Durham Chamber of Commerce, where he interacted with all sizes of businesses and community organizations. Then, thanks to encouragement from family, friends and his network, Adrian returned to real estate brokerage in 2015; and in 2017 he opened Inhabit Real Estate, located in Old West Durham.

Besides being a champion for Durham, Adrian is interested in affordable housing issues, education, and the arts. In his spare time, you can find him at Orangetheory Fitness or enjoying the Blue Ridge Mountains with his spouse, Keith, and their mini-schnauzers.

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