Rita W. Ross, Board President

After 30 years dedicated to public service as in-house counsel for the FDIC, I retired in 2013. Shortly thereafter, I found Iona. I had decided I would make time in my retirement for learning how to navigate planning for my aging. I took a class with Iona’s Take Charge/Age Well Academy and immediately knew that Iona would be my passion project.

Since then, I have deepened my relationship with Iona by joining the Board of Directors in 2017, and becoming the Board President in 2019. It feels good to use my knowledge and skills for a reputable organization that has such a positive impact on people’s lives across the District of Columbia.

As Board President, I bring expertise in risk management with a special interest in corporate governance. I am also deeply committed to diversity and creating paths for promotional opportunities to men and women. In 1997, I developed an effective career transition outplacement program uniquely tailored to meet the needs of the approximately 1,300 lawyers who were faced with the possibility of significant personnel reductions within the Legal Division.

Additionally, from 1997 to 2005, I served as the national point-person for the Legal Division’s Minority and Women Outreach Program. In that capacity, I worked to ensure that minority and women-owned law firms would have the opportunity to serve as outside counsel to the FDIC. From 1999 to 2002, I served as the Co-Chair for the American Bar Association (ABA), Section of Business Law, Committee on Diversity. Along with implementing the Section’s first Diversity Plan, I developed and launched a highly successful Business Law Ambassadors Program in 2000, which has served as a model throughout the ABA.

I am honored to have received several awards including, the FDIC Chairman’s Honorary Award for my contributions to diversity and inclusion and, the Jean Allard Glass Cutter Award from the ABA, Section of Business Law. This award is presented annually to an exceptional woman business lawyer who has cut through barriers and has made significant contributions to the profession.

Since first taking an Iona class in 2015, being involved with Iona has exceeded my expectations. The future is bright at Iona, and I am encouraged by our commitment to providing innovative solutions, advocating on behalf of older adults and families, and continuing to broaden our impact.

I received my undergraduate degree from Tufts University with a double major in German and Political Science, and my law degree from Boston College Law School. I am admitted to practice in Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, and before the United States Supreme Court.

During my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband of 36 years, my two adult sons, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters.