William & Mary’s Board of Visitors unanimously elected Judge Charles E. Poston J.D. ’74, P ’02, ’06 and Barbara L. Johnson J.D. ’84 as rector and vice rector, respectively, of the governing body of the university during a meeting held at William & Mary’s campus Friday. Additionally, Ardine Williams was unanimously elected secretary of the board. The three officers will begin two-year terms in those roles July 1.
Poston retired from the bench after a long, distinguished career in law, including serving as chief judge of the Norfolk Circuit Court. Johnson is the founder of BLJohnsonLaw PLLC and Williams is the vice president for workforce development at Amazon’s HQ2.
The rector of the university serves as chair of the Board of Visitors and its executive committee. In January, then incoming Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that William & Mary’s current rector, John E. Littel P ’22, would serve as Virginia’s next Secretary of Health and Human Resources. Littel joined the board in 2012 and was first elected to lead the board in 2018. In 2020, he was reelected to a second two-year term as rector which will conclude June 30, 2022.
W&M’s current vice rector, William H. Payne II ’01, was appointed to the Board of Visitors in 2014 and reappointed in 2018. He and Littel both served as members of W&M’s presidential search committee in 2017-18. Payne serves as chair of the Committee on Administration, Buildings and Grounds, chair of the Design Review Board and is a member of the Executive Committee and Committee on Audit, Risk and Compliance.
“I am honored for the opportunity to serve our remarkable university and its community,” said Poston, who was appointed to the Board in 2019 and has served as chair of the Committee on Audit, Risk and Compliance and as a member of the Committee on Financial Affairs and the Richard Bland College Committee.
“I extend immense gratitude to Rector Littel and Vice Rector Payne for their tireless work and steadfast leadership during historically challenging times. Their leadership has moved William & Mary forward in so many meaningful ways,” Poston added. “As we look forward, I am grateful for the confidence of the board as we work together to advance the objectives outlined in Vision 2026.”
President Katherine A. Rowe also expressed appreciation and thanked board leadership for their work and commitment to the university.
“I am deeply grateful for the friendship and partnership over the past four years with Rector Littel and Vice Rector Payne – as the administration and the board worked together to chart a course toward William & Mary’s future,” said W&M President Katherine A. Rowe. “They are true leaders, committed to the success of our university.
“I look forward to partnering with Judge Charles Poston, Barbara Johnson,and Ardine Williams, who have been invaluable resources to me as well as dedicated members of the board and our community.”
Charles E. Poston J.D. ’74, P ’02, ’06
Poston received his B.A. from the University of Richmond, M.A. from the University of Virginia and J.D. from William & Mary Law School.
Poston works with The McCammon Group, which provides mediation, arbitration and other services. He assumed that position after two decades as a judge with the Norfolk Circuit Court, including three years as its chief judge. During his time there, he served as a member of Lawyers Helping Lawyers, the Judicial Council of Virginia and the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, which he also chaired.
In addition, Poston was the presiding judge for the first Mental Health Court in Virginia. Before the circuit court, Poston spent six years serving with the Norfolk Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, including four years as chief judge. In 2014, the Virginia General Assembly honored Poston with a resolution acknowledging his accomplishments. Prior to his judicial career, Poston practiced law privately in Hampton Roads and served as chair of the Citizens Advisory Council, vice chair of the Virginia Health Services Cost Review Council and an administrative hearing officer.
In addition to his work with McCammon, Poston previously served as an adjunct faculty member for W&M Law School, Averett University, St. Leo College (now St. Leo University) and Tidewater Community College. His wife, Anita Owens Poston, J.D. ’74, is also a graduate of W&M Law School. She served as a member of W&M’s Board of Visitors from 2003 to 2011 and is a member of the W&M Real Estate Foundation Board. Their daughter, Margaret, and son, C. Evans Poston, Jr., are also both graduates of William & Mary.
Barbara L. Johnson J.D. ’84
Johnson has served as secretary of the board since 2020. A 1984 graduate of W&M Law School, Johnson is the founder of BLJohnsonLaw PLLC. She also currently serves as counsel to the firm of Potter & Murdock LLC, focusing on representing management in labor and employment matters.
In addition to her service to the Board of Visitors at W&M, Johnson has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the W&M Law School Foundation, where she served as president from 2014 to 2016 and vice president from 2012 to 2014. Johnson was appointed to the Board of Visitors in 2017 and chaired the Richard Bland College Committee. She was also vice chair of the Committee on Audit, Risk and Compliance and a member of the Committee on Administration, Buildings and Grounds.
Williams has served on W&M’s Board of Visitors since 2021. She has served as a member of the Committee on Administration, Buildings and Grounds, the Committee on the Student Experience and the Richard Bland College Committee. She received her B.A. from Pacific Lutheran University and completed the executive program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. Williams has worked at Amazon since 2014, starting as vice president for Amazon Web Services talent acquisition. She became vice president of people operations in 2017, and two years later, she moved into her current role as vice president for workforce development.
As vice president, she is responsible for advising businesses across Amazon on talent attraction and development and has focused on accelerating the company’s initiative to re-train 100,000 employees by 2025 for careers in high-demand fields. She also works closely with community and state leaders and serves on the Washington Education Investment Oversight and Accountability Board and the Greater Washington, D.C., Partnership CoLAB (Collaborative of Leaders in Academia and Business) Advisory Board.
Before Amazon, Williams served in multiple roles at Intel Corporation from 1997 to 2014. Most recently, she served as vice president of human resources enterprise services. Prior to her time at Intel, Williams worked in the NetServer Division of Hewlett Packard and in various positions for Behring Company.
A U.S. Army veteran, Williams has become known for her work in recruiting military veterans and their spouses. She served as the executive sponsor for American Veterans at Intel and represented the company in meetings about veterans’ issues and immigration with multiple government agencies. Williams was also a member of the White House’s Joining Forces Initiative industry working team and the President’s Job Council working team. Among her many accolades is a Seven Seals Award from the U.S. Secretary of Defense.
Staff, University News & Media