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Barbara Polk ’84

2019 Alumni Achievement Award: Career Accomplishment


Barbara Polk ’84

Barbara is a business executive with more than 25 years of human resources, operations leadership, and board governance experience.

She is the chief human resources officer of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The Kennedy Center is the living memorial to President Kennedy and America’s premier performing arts center. The Kennedy Center is located in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the Kennedy Center, Barbara was president and founder of Amplify People Advisors, LLC, a consulting firm in the Washington, D.C. area. Her firm provides services to clients such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Spectrum, National Quality Forum, and the American Physical (Physics) Society. Barbara’s background includes executive roles with a billion-dollar telecommunications company, to senior vice president of national service delivery for the nation’s largest humanitarian organization, The American Red Cross, to chief administrative officer for the nation’s largest food service trade association – The National Restaurant Association.

Barbara is a graduate of Rutgers University and has completed graduate coursework at the University of Maryland. In addition, she has received certification from Harvard Business School’s Executive Education in Authentic Leadership Development. Barbara also is a certified executive coach and a member of the International Coach Federation.

Barbara serves on the National Board of Directors of The Lupus Foundation of America where she provides organizational leadership for the foundation’s strategic initiatives to bring national attention and increased public and private resources to lupus, a serious and potentially fatal autoimmune disease.

Barbara is happily married to Alexander Dixon and is a mother with a blended family of five children.

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