Antoinette Ford is truly an example of a woman who embraces life at all stages. Her personal and professional prowess has led her to outstanding achievements in the fields of science, technology, government and the arts and humanities. A native of Philadelphia, PA, Antoinette received her Bachelor of Science degree from Chestnut Hill College. She then relocated to Washington, D.C. where she became an oceanography instructor for a firm that trained inner-city youth for careers in marine sciences. She would later be awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship to study Oceanography at Stanford University. Ms. Ford was selected a White House Fellow and was the first married woman as well as the first African-American woman appointed to this prestigious program. In 1981, she was nominated by President Ronald Reagan and later confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Administrator of the Agency for International Development Near East Bureau with a budget responsibility for more than $2.5 billion. In this capacity she managed the multi-year development of large-scale projects throughout North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. With this assignment, she became the highest-ranking African-American woman in the Reagan Administration’s diplomatic corps.
Between 1985 and 1998, she developed a technology company from start-up to a multi-million dollar operation before selling it to seek other challenges. In 1998 her next challenge resulted in Antoinette heading a firm that was granted a patent for an antiglare product and held a patent license from NASA. This achievement was coupled with Ms. Ford’s company being the first such enterprise to be sponsored by NASA in a high technology incubator. It was also during this period that Antoinette earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. Antoinette spent from 2002 to 2006 determining how she would spend the next phase of her life. This hiatus gave rise to the establishment of the Double Nickels Theatre Company in 2006 to encourage seniors to remain active and to stay involved within their communities. Through the medium of Reminiscence Theatre, Antoinette encourages seniors to celebrate their legacy by highlighting and sharing their lives through theatrical performances, original music, digital storytelling and artistic renderings. To date, the Company has performed at the Kennedy Center and other theaters, published three books of stories of the lives of World War II veterans, and been an official participant in the Centennial celebration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival among other celebrations.
In June, 2010, The Double Nickels Theatre Company was a finalist in the DC Mayor’s Annual Award for Artistic Excellence. July 2011, Antoinette published her first novel, “Bye Willie,” a true story of children growing up near the railroad tracks in North Philadelphia in 1934 and based on stories collected from her own family.
In 2012 Antoinette was celebrated as one of the Top 100 Minority Business Executives in a six-state region of the United States. The University of Maryland University College, Southwest Airlines and State Farm Insurance Company among others presented this award to the Double Nickels Theatre Company.May 2013 Antoinette received an Honorary Doctorate from her Alma Mater, Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, Pa. June 2013 she was awarded the college’s life time distinguished achievement award. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Chestnut Hill College as well.
In the Spring of 2014 Ms. Ford was appointed a DC Commissioner for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. In 2015, Ms. Ford joined the Board of the National Center for Creative Aging.
Antoinette resides in Washington, DC with her husband, Melvin Ford.