George Okantey is an Extension Educator in the area of Economic and Community Development at the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service in Marion County. Prior to joining Extension in 1999, George worked in London, England as a Financial Planning Consultant where he consulted in the areas of life insurance, savings, investments, and estate planning. He moved to the US in 1992 and in 1993 founded the cultural organization, African Speakers Bureau, Inc in Indianapolis. He was the Executive Director until 2002. As director, he provided leadership, created organizational structure and directed school and community-based cultural networks in Indianapolis. Between 1995-97, he worked at IUPUI Neighborhood Resource Center where he coordinated business development activities of the Westside Business Alliance (WBA) through a Community Outreach Partnership Grant (COPC). As a Lila Wallace Museum Studies scholar, he worked with the Indianapolis Museum of Art and was instrumental in the creation of the first “Africa Fest” celebration in Indianapolis. He also provided leadership on the “Fabric of African Life,” an outreach, traveling exhibition.
George holds a Master of Public Affairs degree from Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indianapolis and a BA in Organizational Communication. He is a graduate of National Training Lab, Transforming Interpersonal Relations and Group Dynamics www.ntl.org and a certified Facilitation Application Specialization Training (FAST) instructor. He is a National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship certified Instructor (CET), and Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are high. George is a qualified instructor of Myers Briggs Type (MBTI) and Strength Finder instruments. He is committed to lifelong learning opportunities that enable individuals to better themselves and make informed choices. He is dedicated to facilitating best practices leadership development in Indiana communities.
George has a demonstrated record of leadership and expertise in asset-based human and community development. His competencies include coaching, strategic planning processes, building organizational networks, entrepreneurship, and leadership and civic engagement. He enjoys work that taps into his facilitation and project management skills and has a love for inspiring, leading and coaching people from diverse backgrounds and persuasions to experience excellence. His Extension work include collaboration with Junior Achievement of Central Indiana, The Simon Property Group, and Indiana Small Business Center to establish BizPrep Enterprise Academy http://www.ces.purdue.edu/Marion/lcd/lcd.htm a youth entrepreneurship academy in Indianapolis. He created and directed the Science Bound parents program with financial support from USA Funds Group to assist parents in supporting their children in the Purdue Science Bound program. Prior to Science Bound, George provided leadership to a similar program “High Hopes” a silver medalist of Epsilon Sigma Phi Extension Programs of Excellence in 2002.
George established a partnership with Marion County Jail II to teach positive parenting to pre-release non-custodial fathers. He also created and coordinated Youth Financial Literacy and Leadership Academy in three Indianapolis High Schools. He collaborated with the Indianapolis Chapter of Black MBA Association to establish the Leaders of Tomorrow program (LOT) to teach leadership skills to youth in Marion County. He represented the north central region on Extension Committee on Organization and Policy, National Diversity Task Force. George facilitated the National Extension Diversity Task Force to establish Pathways to Diversity Reaffirmed (2003), a systems document, focused on diversity and pluralism in the Land Grant University System http://pubwiki.extension.org/mediawiki/files/9/93/pathways.pdf.
George is a member of Purdue Intercultural Action Committee, an ECD innovator award winner, and currently serving on the board of directors of IEEA representing the central district. George serves on the boards of the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center www.inrc.org. He assisted in the creation of the Indianapolis Community Building Institute (ICBI)—a leadership development program for veteran and aspiring community leaders in Indianapolis. He is also vice president of the Indiana Leadership Association www.indianaleadership.com. George is a United Way of Central Indiana Agency Evaluator, a 2007 Leadership and Renewal Outfitters Executive Journey Fellow, http://renewal.typepad.com/fellows, volunteer coach at Beyond Your Best Coaching, www.beyondyourbest.com, and principal at MpactPlus Training and Consulting, LLC— www.mpactplus.com, a consulting company with a focus on building leadership capacity of non-governmental organizations in developing countries.
In February 2009, George provided Crucial Conversations training for 498 University of Wisconsin Extension educators and faculty in four districts. He has accepted an invitation to conduct a workshop at the 2009 Public Issues Leadership Development conference in April http://www.jcep.org/pild.htm. George is providing leadership on the Marion county Program of Excellence team that is working on helping the Southeast Neighborhood implement their Quality of Life plan. http://www.greatindyneighborhoods.org/. He enjoys working with people to solve their own problems. He feels present when facilitating people to think and explore different perspectives on issues. He is committed to making a difference in the lives of people every day. George can be reached at 317-275-9263 or e-mail: [email protected].