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Trustee: Cara Johnson Hughes, C'2003

Spelman Trustee Cara HughesVice President, Customer and Community,
Baldwin Richardson Foods
B.S., Spelman College
Spelman College Board of Trustees: Elected in 2020
City of Residence: Chicago, Illinois

Cara J. Hughes is a vice president, Customer and Community for Baldwin Richardson Foods, a premier supplier of custom ingredients to the food industry. With their 300+ employee base, Baldwin Richardson Foods, a family business, also manufactures and markets their own consumer brands, including Mrs. Richardson’s Ice Cream Toppings and Nance’s Mustards and Condiments. Baldwin Richardson serves a premier group of customers, including the largest Consumer Package Goods, Quick Service Restaurant, and coffee companies in the world.

Hughes is a third-generation Black entrepreneur, following in the footsteps of her grandmother Joan B. Johnson, co-founder of Johnson Products Company, creator of Ultra Sheen and Afro Sheen, and her father Eric G. Johnson, founder of Baldwin Richardson Foods. After earning her bachelor’s degree in economics from Spelman in 2003, she entered the Development Training Program at The Northern Trust Company. Upon completion of this training, she joined her family business as the senior national account nanager. Fifteen years and several promotions later, Hughes is now a senior leader in the company who creates and executes the company’s growth and innovation strategy.

In recent years, Cara and her sister Erin (C’2001) established an annual and endowed scholarship on behalf of Baldwin Richardson Foods. Over a 10-year period, the Baldwin Richardson Annual Scholarship, established at $1.5 million, will provide a first-year recipient with a full tuition package for her four-year matriculation at Spelman College. An additional gift from the Johnson sisters, established at $100,000, will provide first-year recipients with supplemental tuition.

In addition to her career and philanthropy, Hughes also serves on the board of directors at  After School Matters. She resides in Chicago with her husband, Timothy, and two daughters, Morgan and Sophia. In her free time, Hughes enjoys taking her favorite Peloton class, listening to live music, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Why I Serve on the Spelman College Board of Trustees

Spelman's mission is absolutely aligned with my personal passion of educating and advancing African-American women. I am honored to continue the legacy of my late grandmother Joan B. Johnson, former Spelman College Trustee. My grandmother greatly influenced my decision to attend Spelman and further demanded me to give back to the school that gave me so much. I am proud and humbled to continue her legacy while serving the mission and values of Spelman College.