At-Large Director 2018-2021
Ness Okonkwo is one of the Junior League of Los Angeles’s most inclusive leaders whose dedication to collaboration and accountability inspires those around her. A strategic and critical thinker, Ness finds creative ways to utilize a vast array of resources to improve the communities she serves. She is a highly valued mentor both in and outside the League, and has been an expert at putting AJLI’s governance principles into action, directing management operations with a new level of efficiency.
A first generation American, Ness joined the Junior League of Los Angeles in 2006, quickly becoming one of her League’s most valuable members. She has since served as the first Black President in the 90-year history of the JLLA, President-Elect/Management Council Chair and Treasurer, chairing a host of committees dedicated to community fundraising, college preparation and provisional training for League members. She also worked closely with AJLI in her role as site co-chair for the 2015 AJLI Annual Conference in Los Angeles.
Her community leadership extends far beyond the League in the Los Angeles community where she is currently co-chair of the Bank of America Black Executive Leadership Team (BELT) and has served in a number of other capacities, including as a member of UCLA’s Ralph Bunche Scholarship Selection Committee and a board member for the UCLA Alumni Association and Minds Matter Los Angeles.
Professionally, Ness is a seasoned lending professional and has extensive experience in creating a customized approach to meeting complex financing needs. Ness is currently a Director, Senior Structured Credit Executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Los Angeles where she leads cross functional teams to market, structure and execute tailored credit strategies for the firm’s ultra-high net worth clients.
Ness graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.A. in International Economics and earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.