Frank W. Watson Advocate Award
Eric Kearney is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. The Ohio Chamber is the state’s leading business advocate and represents thousands of companies that do business in Ohio. Their mission is to aggressively champion free enterprise, economic competitiveness, and growth for the benefit of all Ohioans.
He is also CEO and President of the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce. In his position with the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce, he has led substantial re-organization efforts, including a 50 percent increase in membership and the creation of a $300,000 endowment.
Kearney served as the State Senator for Ohio’s 9th District from 2005 to 2014, where he was elected as the Ohio Senate Minority Leader and championed a number of causes, including adoption, children's health, small business development and pension reform. He is also a managing partner of Kearney & Kearney, LPA.
In addition to politics and law, he has been a leader in the business community. He founded and built one of the largest African-American-owned publishing companies, Sesh Communications, which publishes The Cincinnati Herald, The Northern Kentucky Herald, The Dayton Defender and other publications.
Kearney graduated from St. Xavier High School, then earned a B.A. in English from Dartmouth College and a J.D. from the University of Cincinnati, College of Law. He is married to Jan- Michele Lemon Kearney, Esq., who is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School. They have two children, Celeste (a student at Dartmouth College) and Asher.