Men of Honor salutes its five 2023 distinguished honorees

Men of Honor | A Salute to African American Men will celebrate the accomplishments of Joe Allen, Jim Anderson, Woodrow Keown, Jr., Jeremiah Kirkland, and Royce Sutton on November 18th at the Duke Energy Convention Center. The post Men of Honor salutes its five 2023 distinguished honorees appeared first on The Cincinnati Herald - Black & African American community news.

Men of Honor salutes its five 2023 distinguished honorees


Now in its 13th year, Men of Honor | A Salute to African American Men will take place on Saturday, November 18, 2023 at 6:00 PM at the Duke Energy Convention Center. This upscale, strictly black tie event was created to provide an exciting and unique opportunity for the community to celebrate the accomplishments of African American men who have succeeded against all odds and achieved special greatness.  Our 2023 distinguished honorees are:

  • Joe Allen, Business System Operations Leader, Commercial Engines & Services, GE Aerospace
  • Jim Anderson, Retired Running Backs Coach, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Woodrow Keown, Jr., President & Chief Operating Officer, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
  • Jeremiah Kirkland, President & COO, Bethesda Butler Hospital & Executive Leader of Women’s Services, TriHealth
  • Royce A. Sutton, Senior Vice President, Community Investment Manager, Fifth Third Bank

The event is presented by Fifth Third Bank, Friends of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, GE Aerospace, and TriHealth | bi3. The evening will include a cocktail reception hosted by Visit Cincy; dinner and honors ceremony with inspiring tributes and live entertainment; and an after party hosted by Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

Each honoree will receive a $5,000 grant from the 7 Principles Foundation to designate to an organization of his choice that serves African American males. 

Tickets are $200 per person. Valet parking is complimentary.  For more information, please call 513.733.1555 or visit

Meet the honorees:

Joe Allen is Business System Operations leader for Commercial Engines and Services at GE Aerospace. In this role, he collaborates across functions to translate business plans into operational plans for execution while leveraging his cross-functional experience and deep business and financial acumen to help drive cost. Allen joined GE in 1989 as part of GE’s Financial Management Program and later joined the corporate audit staff. In his 12 moves with the company, he has held progressive financial leadership roles across GE businesses in numerous locations, including New York, Atlanta and Singapore.

Joe Allen. Photo provided

In Cincinnati, Allen led GE’s Global Operations at The Banks, where employees represented at least 25 nationalities. Later as chief diversity officer, he led the creation and implementation of diversity programs and institutional accountability.

Allen’s passion for developing a diverse and inspired next generation of leaders is demonstrated by his participation in the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, United Way and the University of Cincinnati, to name a few. He and his wife, Mary, have four children.

Jim Anderson is a retired running backs coach for the Cincinnati Bengals. He was the first African American coach to work for the Bengals, and he did so for 29 seasons, giving him the longest uninterrupted coaching tenure in franchise history.

Anderson coached a long line of running backs to outstanding performances with five of them earning spots in the Pro Bowl. He received the Fritz Pollard Lifetime Achievement Award, named for the man who became the first African American assistant coach in 1921.

Jim Anderson. Photo provided

Just as Anderson was all-in on the football field, he is now all-in in service to the Cincinnati community and schools. At Bond Hill Academy, he is the chairman of the Donald Spencer Reading Academy, where he tutors third graders in reading and helps to coordinate activities beyond the classroom for exposure and experiences to enhance student desire to reach higher. He also works with and tutors the students of Winton Hills Academy. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and Alpha Delta Boule. He and his wife, Marcia, have a son, Derek, daughter-in-law, Minette, and two grandsons.

Jeremiah Kirkland is president and chief operating officer of Bethesda Butler Hospital and the executive leader for Women’s Services at TriHealth. In these roles, he is responsible for strategy, growth, finance, logistics, and support services, including technical components of perioperative operations.

Previously, he worked at Strong Memorial Hospital, the University of Rochester medical center, where he was a senior administrator supporting strategic planning and operations management for clinic and surgical/procedural areas. He also led numerous service lines, including women’s primary care, and GI and hepatology.

Jeremiah Kirkland. Photo provided

Prior to that, he worked for 14 years at Rochester General Hospital, flagship of the Rochester Regional Health System in New York. He holds a master’s degree in health administration from Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester and a BA in health care administration from State University of New York-Brockport. He is board certified in health care management through the American College of Healthcare Executives.  Jeremiah and his wife, Lavonda, have two children.

Woodrow Keown Jr. is president and chief operating officer of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. In this role, he is responsible for the overall executive leadership of the organization, including strategic planning, financial management, governance, organization development, operations and external relations.

Woodrow Keown Jr. Photo provided

Since his tenure began in Nov. 2019, he has guided the organization through a significant turnaround based on a transformational strategic plan and organizational restructuring, most notably, a plan to generate new sustainable sources of revenue. In 2013, Woody retired from Procter & Gamble with over 35 years of experience. He led P&G’s creation and globalization of Swiffer and Febreze, both in the coveted “Billion Dollar” brand club; co-led development of a new corporate technology core competency; and collaborated with start-ups and venture capital firms. With two personal businesses under his belt, he is a globally recognized leader in the field of new business development, entrepreneurship, and innovation. He and his wife, Edna, have one adult daughter.

Royce Sutton serves as senior vice president, community investment manager, for Fifth Third Bank. In this role, he leads the bank’s efforts to build community-based partnerships, investment strategies, and philanthropy across Ohio, Northern Kentucky and West Virginia.

He manages a $5 million philanthropic budget focused on transformation and impact, and he also drives the bank’s $180 million Empowering Black Futures program in under-invested neighborhoods. This initiative is impacting neighborhoods, such as Avondale, with new affordable leased and market-rate single family housing, capital access for small businesses, public art, and Wi-Fi access.

Royce Sutton. Photo provided

Sutton serves as board president of the Avondale Development Corporation, treasurer of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber Board of Trustees, a reading tutor at Rockdale Academy Elementary School, a member of the Cincinnati UNCF Advisory Council, a board member of the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio and a trustee at New Prospect Baptist Church. He and his wife, Lori, have four adult children.

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