Renée Cardwell Hughes focuses on strategy, leadership development and change management. She is the President & CEO of Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc. dba Philadelphia OIC, a workforce development nonprofit corporation that impacts 1,500 individuals annually. She manages a staff of 41 and oversees business development for adult training programs, programming and support services for returning citizens and an alternative public high school for over-aged and under-credited students.

Before joining Philadelphia OIC, she served as CEO of The Hughes Group where she led a team of business advisors who helped employees, management and Boards internalize, own and execute their Mission and Values by revitalizing their corporate culture.

Prior to founding the Hughes Group, she was the CEO of the fourth largest market in the American Red Cross (ARC) for more than six years. As CEO of The ARC of Eastern Pennsylvania, she was responsible for a region which services 6.2 million Pennsylvanians between the New York State and State of Delaware borders. Renée was responsible for the region’s strategic vision, annual operating plan and budget, donor funding program, team leadership, governance and partnerships with local, state and federal government and business alliances.

Renée successfully spearheaded the merger of 17 counties to condense operations and the integration of the Blood/Biomedical and Humanitarian Services divisions to deliver enhanced service offerings and more efficient funds deployment. Her team founded and operated the only Red Cross House in the nation, a unique facility which provides care and recovery for over 3000 people annually, who have been displaced by fire, floods or other disasters.

Renée was a trial judge for more than 15 years before joining the American Red Cross, where she handled both complex civil and criminal cases.  She specialized in homicides; handling some of Philadelphia’s most notorious cases. She founded the City’s mental health court and co-authored a book on witness intimidation.  Renee began her career as a successful corporate attorney.

Board Experience

  • Haverford Trust:  Board of Directors, Audit Committee
  • Independence Blue Cross Regional Board of Advisors
  • Roman Catholic High School Board of Directors

Professional Accolades

She was recognized in 2013 and in 2017 by the Philadelphia Business Journal as a Minority Business Leader; in 2014 Philadelphia Style Magazine named her one of the City’s Power Women, and in 2016 Renée was recognized by the Philadelphia Business Journal as a Woman of Distinction.  Renée was selected as the Pearl S. Buck International 2018 Woman of Influence