The Akron Art Museum Announces New Appointments to Board of Directors

Akron – The Board of Directors of the Akron Art Museum has appointed two new members– Dr. N.J. Akbar and Anusha Gibson. After an orientation period, their work will begin in earnest at the July Board meeting.

Dr. Drew Engles, President of the Akron Art Museum Board of Directors, stated, “The Board Transformation Task Force has done a wonderful job of selecting qualified individuals to join the Museum’s Board. Both of these individuals will bring a wealth of knowledge from their professional and personal backgrounds, and I look forward to serving alongside them.”

Dr. N.J. Akbar, a resident of Akron, Ohio, is the Associate Vice President for DEI at Kent State University and currently serves as President of the Akron Public Schools Board of Education. Dr. Akbar stated, “The Akron Art Museum is a hidden jewel of our community, which provides a rich history of art and culture. The Museum features artwork of many local artists, connecting it to the community; I look forward to working on the Board to expand our reach further.”

Dr. Akbar also serves on several committees at Kent State University, such as the DEEDS (Dynamic Education & Engagement of Diverse Students) Leadership Team, DEEDS Workgroup, Retention Taskforce, Male Empowerment Network 10-year Anniversary Planning Committee, LGBTQ Student Center Advisory Board, and more. Previously, Dr. Akbar served as Assistant Dean for Academic Diversity Success in KSU’s University College. Additionally, he has served as campus advisor to the Epsilon Delta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Black United Students, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, Pride! Kent, and Focus on the Future. During his time at Kent State University, he has helped establish the academic diversity outreach network, Provost’s Leadership Academy, EHHS’ Office of Diversity Outreach and Development, LGBTQ Student Center as the Interim Director, Male Empowerment Network as a founding member and former lead mentor, and more. Dr. Akbar received a PhD in Cultural Foundations of Education from Kent State University, a MA in Educational Leadership for Higher Education from Eastern Michigan University, and a BS in History and English for Secondary Education from Eastern Michigan University.

Anusha Gibson is Senior Vice President and Corporate Responsibility Group Head of Marketplace for PNC Bank and is a resident of Aurora, Ohio. Ms. Gibson stated, “Art can be a vessel for storytelling, a capsule for commentary on pop culture, and a window into someone’s experience, perspective, and opinions. Art comes in so many forms and is a vital way for not only children but also adults to learn, grow, and evolve and can be an inspiration for the future. I’m thrilled to be joining the Akron Art Museum family so I can be of service to connect our community to art and the magic of storytelling.”

Anusha Gibson has worked for PNC for over 24 years. At PNC, Anusha’s responsibilities include being a cultural change agent by leveraging customer, market, and competitive insights while enabling business partners to seek opportunities and create experiences that serve diverse customers and businesses. She also aims to deliver an inclusive, omnichannel winning experience that leads with a digital-first strategy and a stealth focus on financial wellness for all. Outcomes of her work include growing diverse consumers and businesses, small and large, through acquisition, the share of wallet growth, and retention while leveraging the competitive advantage of PNC becoming a national financial services provider.

The new members were invited to join the board following the work of the Board Transformation Task Force as part of the Transformation Plan. Since this group first met in September, its members have been connecting with people throughout the Akron community who have been able to recommend a broader range of potential candidates for our board. Over time, several qualified individuals were recommended to the group as potential board members. The Task Force then held meetings with many of these candidates to gauge their interest in serving on the Board. Based on these conversations, the Task Force invited Dr. N.J. Akbar and Anusha Gibson to join the Museum’s Board of Directors.