Official Launch: The Redefine the Game Institute

Featuring Dr. Randal Pinkett and Dr. Jeffrey Robinson of BCT Partners

Omaha, Nebraska

On March 29, 2018, the groundbreaking “Redefine the Game Institute” for African-American business and community leaders was held in Omaha, Nebraska. The Institute is based on the highly acclaimed book, Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness, written by Dr. Randal Pinkett and Dr. Jeffrey Robinson of BCT Partners.

The Institute is the result of a vision by Damita Byrd in partnership with Willie Barney of the Empowerment Network and WDB Resultants in Omaha. Pinkett, Robinson, Byrd and Barney teamed to bring the year-long career advancement and leadership program to life.

“Dr. Robinson and I had been talking about launching a curriculum with the book, for years,” said Dr. Pinkett. “Then Damita cast a vision for making it happen, teamed up with Willie and the Empowerment Network, and once that happened the program took off quickly.”

With a vision of eventually expanding across the country, the Institute was launched in Omaha because of Dr. Pinkett’s long-time relationship with the Empowerment Network. Pinkett has been a keynote speaker every year for the past five years at the Network’s Rebuilding the Village and African-American Leadership Conferences.

The outstanding list of participants for the very first cohort comes from an impressive group of private and public businesses and organizations including Fortune 500’s and major employers in the Omaha community. CHI Health, American National Bank, Omaha Public Power District, WoodmenLife, Creighton University, Omaha Public Schools, Metropolitan Community College, Omaha Police Department, Union Pacific, First National Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska, Urban League of NE., Omaha Fire Department and others immediately saw the benefit of having representatives participate.

“We have at least ten additional major corporations and public entities preparing to send employees to the next cohort,” said Damita Byrd, who recently joined the Empowerment Network as the Senior Director of Diversity and Inclusion. “The first cohort is incredibly balanced with senior leaders, young professionals and everyone in between. Their response to the first session was outstanding.”

The Institute is just one of the 10 Diversity and Inclusion strategies the Network has launched to address issues that impact African-American professionals in the workplace. Our goal is to implement solutions based on surveys with the African American professionals, forums with community leaders, conversations with CEO’s, CHRO, Managers, Diversity leaders and African-American executives.  The formal roll out of the Network’s “Omaha Racial Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative” will come in May 2018 with our strategic partners, CHI Health, American National Bank, OPPD, Creighton University Heider College of Business and others.

“The Omaha Racial Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives are the next phase of work for the Network based on 11 years of collaboration with our partners,” said Willie Barney, President of the Empowerment Network. “The reception from the corporate, non-profit and public arenas has been extremely positive.”

At its core, The Redefine the Game Institute is a management level education and career advancement program designed for business professionals and community leaders. The culturally-specific course curriculum consists of a 12-month interactive business and organizational learning regiment based on the book, Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness, by Dr. Randal Pinkett and Dr. Jeffrey Robinson. Dr. Randal Pinkett is the Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, a national consulting firm with a mission to provide insights about diverse people that lead to equity. Dr. Jeffrey Robinson is the Co-founder of BCT Partners, Professor at Rutgers Business School and Co-founding Director of the Rutgers Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CUEED). 

“We start with understanding the reality that many in the room are oftentimes the only persons of color in the meeting, department, division or even their organization,” said Dr. Pinkett. “Our book was based on interviews with some of America’s most successful African-American leaders, their challenges, their resilience and the ability to stay true to who they are. That’s why we start with each participant’s mission, vision, and values. We then walk participants through Learning the Game, Playing the Game, Changing the Game and Redefining the Game to benefit them and their employer.”

Each session focuses on common on-the-job issues faced by African-American business professionals and community leaders. Today’s professionals need effective leadership and management skills to deal with challenges of global competition and a changing workforce. To address this growing need, the Empowerment Network and its business partners have collaborated to create this annual African-American career advancement and leadership development program. Participants will learn how to thrive in their current environment while preparing for future career and leadership opportunities.

“The reality is that companies across the country are attempting to figure out ways to prepare the next generation of leaders, especially those of color,” emphasized Pinkett. “They realize they need to create equal opportunity for everyone if they are going to be successful long-term.”

“I was extremely impressed by the participants in the first cohort,” said Robinson. “The group was open, transparent, focused and engaged. I was equally struck by the intergenerational nature of the team and the coaching and mentoring already taking place within the session. We are excited to launch here in Omaha and look forward to growing this effort across the country.”

To learn more about the Redefine the Game Institute, please visit the Empowerment Network at The next cohort is set to start in February 2019.