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.

Ayoka Quinones

Co-Founder and Co-Chair, Fundraising Committee

Ayoka has worked with several community-based organizations in which she integrated the arts, literacy, spirituality and cultural education in programming for youth and adults.

Ayola received a BA in Economics from Mount Holyoke College and a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from The Robert J. Milano Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy, New School University.

Ayoka currently leads a management consulting firm that empowers nonprofit organizations to strengthen their organizational capacity by utilizing progressive models and practices. Her volunteer experiences vary widely and are focused on supporting spirituality and culturally centered organizations as well as organizations that support underserved or neglected communities.

Ralph G. Glover

Treasurer

Ralph is living a life of service to humanity and the community of those his life touches. His life is forever blessed by the teaching and spiritual guidance of his Godfather, Edward “Baba Ed” Thomas James, Sango Ilari (Ibaye), and Yvonne Dickerson-James, Omi to Ogun. An initiated priest of Ogun and Ifa, Ralph often says, “Baba Ed saved my life, Chief Iyabiye Yvonne James nurtures my life.”

Ralph is a qualified Real Estate Agent, Certified Paralegal, and Financial Coach. As such, Ralph has been able to assist community residents with housing, public agency advocacy and representation,and career development and advancement. Ralph holds a BA in Humanities from The College of New Rochelle.

Khalebo Harris

Chair, Communications Committee

Khalebo was initiated to Obatala in Cuba in 2001 by her godmother Oloshun Adekemi Migdalia Guzman. She holds a BA in the double majors of TV/Radio Production and Africana Studies from Brooklyn College (City University of New York), and an MBA in Media Management from Metropolitan College of New York. She is a training professional specializing in Microsoft software applications.

Khalebo has volunteered as secretary for several non-profit, service-oriented groups, and is the 2010 Chairwoman of the Omo Obatala Egbe, Inc. Obatala Conference.

Sheriden Booker

Co-Chair, Fundraising Committee

Sheriden Booker was initiated in NYC in 2006 to the Orisha Obba by William Lowman and Penelope Stubbs. For the last 10 years, she has traveled and studied the history of the African Diaspora in Nigeria, Brazil, and Cuba. She holds an MA in African American Studies and an MPhil in Anthropology from Yale University. The recipient of a Ford Foundation Doctoral Fellowship, she is currently completing her PhD at Yale.

Parallel to her studies she has been invited to participate in academic roundtables about the transnationalization of Orisha practices, and has done fundraising and development work for various non-profits. Sheriden is also a Mellon Bank Jazz Scholarship recipient for Vocal

Karla N. Moore

Co-Chair, Membership Committee

Karla’s mission is to be a catalyst for cultural and social change in her community. She has a strong cultural arts background and over ten years experience using dance, education and culture to heal and empower children and their families.

Continuing her mission to create positive changes, Karla is currently a pre-kindergarten teacher and dance instructor for a well-established communal school, a youth mentor for a highly acclaimed community based organization, an active member on her community boards and new member of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.

Karla is also a member of several professional dance companies using the arts to teach African culture.

Cheryl Gayle

Co-Chair Program Committee

Cheryl Gayle was initiated in New York to the Orisa Oshun in 2001 by Madrina Carmen Sophia Rivera (Oya).

Professionally, Cheryl has 16 years experience as a management professional in leadership and entrepreneurship with a focus in the areas of resource development, marketing, and public relations. Cheryl has a BA in Social Science from The College of New Rochelle and is currently a PHD candidate in Religious Anthropology at Rutgers University.

Bill Matthews

Chair, Program Committee

Bill has 30 years experience trouble shooting new programs for Human Resources Administration and 15 years of program management skills in various agencies in New York City. He currently manages the Hearing and Prosecution Division with HRA and is a member of the Homeland Security Crisis Management Agency and Operations Manager for HURREX (Hurricane Evacuation Centre for the Office of Emergency Management).

Bill is a standing board member of the Council of Elders for Dance Africa, Committee Chair person for Ijo Orisa Yoruba Church, a member of Omo Obatala Egbe, Inc., an administrative member of the Egbe Iwa Odo Kunrin/Binrin Rites of Passage program, and Ancestral Shrine coordinator for the International African Arts Festival held annually in Brooklyn, NY.

Funlayo E. Wood Olatunji

Co-Chair, Membership Committee

Funlayo is a writer, scholar of the African Diaspora and creator of Aselre.com, 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 is currently at Harvard University completing her 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.

Rose Sackey-Milligan

Workshop Facilitator

Rose Sackey-Milligan, co-director of c-Integral, is an educator and socio-cultural anthropologist with thirteen years of experience in social change philanthropy. She also serves as Program Officer and State Coordinator of the Literature and Medicine Program at Mass Humanities. Engaged in a range of social justice issues for over 30 years, Rose is the former Director of Programs at the Peace Development Fund and Director of the Social Justice Program at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.

Since 1995, she has facilitated numerous workshops in self-analysis, leadership development and building self-esteem for African, Latino, Arab, Cape Verdean and Asian students on university campuses. Rose has earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology from the University of Connecticut, and has studied and practiced the Afro-Cuban Yorùbá-derived Lùkùmí faith since 1992 and received full ordination in 1997.