A graduate of the University of Edinburgh, James emigrated from Scotland to the United States in 1989. He became a proud US citizen in 2008. Prior to “retiring” to Palm Springs, James had a successful 25 year career in financial management, working in executive management positions for companies in the retail and private equity sectors and for organizations in the nonprofit sector.
During his professional career, he served as the Chief Financial Officer for a chain of educational bookstores and a for private equity firm. He also held executive positions with a US State Department funded international relations organization and a nonprofit community development organization focused on inner-city development.
James has served as a board member and held board leadership positions in numerous nonprofit organizations over the past 25 years. He has also volunteered and served as a consultant on numerous political campaigns and for candidates for office who share his belief in diversity, equality and justice.
After moving to California in 1991, James became extremely active in the LGBTQ community, volunteering for numerous organizations including the Shanti Project, where he served as an emotional support volunteer to people with end stage HIV/AIDS, and as a member of the LGBTQ Advisory Committee to San Francisco Human Rights Commission. In 2002, James joined the Board of Directors of the Asian Pacific Islander Wellness Center, where he served on both the Executive Committee and as the organization’s Treasurer. After two terms of service on the API Wellness board, James joined the board of the Horizons Community Foundation where he served as the organizations Board Co-Chair. During his tenure, Horizons granted millions of dollars to a broad spectrum of LGBTQ community and HIV/AIDS non-profit organizations. In 2009, James joined the Board of Directors for the San Francisco LGBT Community Center where he served as Chair. In Palm Springs, he served on the City’s Historic Site Advisory Board from 2001 to 2015. James was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Palm Springs Unified Scholl District in 2014, and served as President in 2018. Most recently, James managed the successful campaign to expand the Desert Healthcare District into the east valley (Measure BB).
James currently serves on the boards of Planned Parenthood (PSW), Equality California, the LGBT Center of the Desert, Desert Stonewall Democrats, and Qchella Media. He is a member of the Desert AIDS Project Partners for Life, AIDS Assistance Project Angel, Palm Springs Museum Theater Council, PS Mod Com Preservation Partner, HRC Federal Club, Equality California Capitol Club, Desert Business Association, Mizell Senior Center Stars Club, and many other community organizations.