Great Living Cincinnatians
Herbert R. Brown
Awarded in 2015
When asked once about his multiple contributions to Cincinnati, Herb Brown responded “there is no greater thing in life than to answer a call…and to have as a true testament that your own needs are secondary.” Brown has lived by those words since coming to Cincinnati more than five decades ago.
He graduated from Warren G. Harding High School in Warren, Ohio, and served our country as a U.S. Army Paratrooper until 1961. He then began his career in Cincinnati as a computer trainee with the Western & Southern Financial Group in 1963. He rose through the ranks at Western & Southern, excelling as the public relations voice of the company. In 2001 he was promoted to Senior Vice President, eventually retiring in 2007, while still being retained as a consultant to the President. In 2008, Brown was elected to the Board of Directors of Western & Southern, a position he continues to serve in today.
While his professional accomplishments are significant, Brown’s legacy in the community will be what he is most remembered for. During a nine-year term on the Cincinnati Board of Education where he served as President, he masterfully guided the Board to a levy passage after voters had turned down ten other levies before it. He achieved their support by gaining more involvement from the community in the school planning process. Additionally, Brown was integral in seeing a desegregation lawsuit that had been filed eventually settled out of court.
Brown is a member of the Urban League Board and has served on the Board of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. He was also appointed to serve as a Director of the Cincinnati Office of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland where he served for 6 years. The United Way named their African American Leadership Initiative, “The Herbert R. Brown Society” in his honor. He also received the Theodore M. Berry Award from the NAACP and the Paul M. Lund Public Service Award from the National Public Relations Society of America.
Brown is also on the Board of the Boy Scouts of America, where he has received the Scouts highest honor, the Silver Beaver Award. Additionally, he is a former Board Member of United Way Foundation, and serves as president of the Community Police Partnering Center. He is also on the board of Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services and serves as co-chair of the Strategy and Implementation Team for Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV).
Brown is married to wife Marcia and he has three adult children.