Joe Quinones

Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board

Joseph T. Quinones (Obakanla) is the first African-American born into the Yoruba Orisa tradition and his mother, Marjorie Quinones, was the first African-American initiated into the Yoruba tradition in North America.

Joe is descended from a long line of Sango worshipers from the Yoruba town of Ilesa. On May 26, 1979, at the age of 16, Joe was initiated to Aganju in his hometown of Harlem, New York.

Joe is an MBA graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and is presently the Managing Director and CEO of Primrose Development Company in Lagos, Nigeria and Co-founder and Chairman of The Orisa Community Development Corporation.

As an Orisa community organizer, Joe spearheaded the development of the Ile Ase Orisa community and served as its first Executive Director. He has also led trips and humanitarian missions to Brazil, Cuba and Nigeria. While a postgraduate student at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile Ife, out of respect for his community activism in Yoruba Land, the chief priest of the Obatala Shrine gave Joe the title of Chief Orisagbemi of Ile Ife. View Joe’s complete biography.

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Funlayo E. Wood

Executive Director

Funlayo E. Wood is a writer, scholar of the African Diaspora and creator of, a web space dedicated to positive portrayal of the Ifa-Orisa tradition.

She holds a BA in African Diaspora Studies, an MA in History — both from the City University of New York — and an MA in African Studies from Harvard University where she is currently completing a PhD in African Studies and Religion.

Funlayo is also a peace and non-violence facilitator through Creating a Culture of Peace, a national organization dedicated to community peacemaking, and has worked with organizations such as Campus Progress and Katrina Corps on social change and community restoration. She was initiated a priestess of Obatala and Iyanifa in Isara Remo, Nigeria in 2008 and, under the guidance of Awo Chief Oluwole Ifakunle Adetutu, has since dedicated herself to the practice and scholarship of the Ifa-Orisa tradition.

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