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Published:  Sunday, March 13, 2022

Anna Barber is President and Principal Consultant for Barber & Associates, a boutique fundraising consulting firm focused on helping non-profit organizations achieve their full fundraising potential.

Prior to starting Barber & Associates, Barber was a senior major gift officer for the Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) where she worked for 8 ½ years. She was part of NMAAHC’s inaugural fundraising team that surpassed its $270M private philanthropic goal by $50M. Personally, Barber secured $42M in leadership ($1M+) and major ($100K) gift support, highlighted by the closure of 22 individual one million-dollar gifts, 90% contributed by first time donors to the Smithsonian.

She also built and maintained a portfolio of high profile celebrities, including Pauletta and Denzel Washington, LaTanya and Samuel L. Jackson, Magic and Cookie Johnson, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, among many other national individual philanthropists. Leading into NMAAHC’s Grand Opening in 2016, she led the efforts to host a $1M per plate fundraiser at the home of Denzel Washington and a mid-level fundraising event that generated $5M from $25K donors.  

Prior to the Smithsonian, Barber spent 10 years working as a frontline fundraiser in big-time college athletics. She served as the director of major gifts for Michigan State University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics where she was part of the team that successfully completed a $100M capital campaign, which was part of a larger $1.2B university-wide campaign. In addition to fundraising, she oversaw the athletics department’s endowment, planned giving and communication programs; and the led the fundraising team for the renovation of the University’s baseball, softball and soccer complexes.

Prior to working at MSU, Barber served as the assistant director of development at Miami University in Ohio where she participated in launching the athletics department’s $30M capital campaign, part of a university-wide $350M campaign. She started her career at Arizona State University where she was mentored under the legendary athletics director Gene Smith.

Barber earned a Juris Doctorate (Intellectual Property) from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Howard University.

Barber is an avid traveler and scuba diver.

Register for the Empowerment Network’s 15 Year Anniversary Rebuilding the Village Conference here.


Coming Events

Magic Johnson returning to Omaha Sept. 30th for 10th Annual African-American Leadership Conference

Published:  Friday, September 2, 2022

Earvin “Magic” Johnson, five time NBA champion and one of the world’s leading business executives, entrepreneurs and philanthropists is returning to Omaha to keynote the Empowerment Network’s 10th Annual African-American Leadership Conference on Friday, September 30, 2022.

Tickets are now available at

“This is incredibly exciting for us,” said Willie Barney, CEO and founder of the Empowerment Network.  “Magic’s visit in May was absolutely amazing.  Many in attendance said it was one of the best speeches they’ve ever heard and I agree 100%,” said Barney.

“His message was extremely relevant and resonates will all ages…career advancement, leadership, teamwork, generational wealth, investing in our youth and community-building.”

“He has also proven that businesses can be highly successful in urban communities and he has demonstrated leadership in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Johnson has been a champion at every level.  He is best known for his legendary performance on the basketball court.  He and the Lakers transformed the NBA in the 80’s with a new style of basketball.  The showtime Lakers dominated with one of the greatest lineups of all time.

Beyond the basketball court, Magic is still making headlines.  As he puts it, Earvin is building a legacy through developing urban communities, business and sports team ownership and investments in advanced technology.

“After thinking and praying about who should be our speaker in September, ‘Run it Back’ was in my spirit.  Bring Magic back to build on the themes from May and deliver a new message to help accelerate our progress over the next 10 years,” said Barney.  “Our board president, Timothy Christian, reached out to Magic and his response was overwhelmingly positive as he loved his experience in Omaha.”

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Mr. Earvin “Magic” Johnson back in Omaha for the 10th Annual African-American Leadership Conference,” said Christian.  “Mr. Johnson embodies everything we stand for at the Empowerment Network.  He is a proven leader on and off the court and he cares deeply about helping African-Americans and the underserved across the country. We’re looking forward to the wisdom he will share during the conference.”

“In addition to the seasoned and emerging leaders from all sectors, we also want more of our high school and college students to hear the message and we will have specific sessions for them as well,” said Barney.

The African-American Leadership Conferences promises to be even bigger and better.  In addition to Magic Johnson, the Network will feature four national keynote speakers, dozens of local leaders and experts.

National strategist and partners, Dr. Will Moreland – Using Your Gifts for Career Advancement and Creating Multiple Streams of Income; Suzan Hart – Rewriting Your Story to Live with Purpose; Dr. George Fraser – Building Strong Businesses to Create Jobs and Thriving Communities; and, Dr. Pamela Jolly – Using the Wealth Checklist to Build Legacy Wealth.  They along with others will present from the main stage and host breakout sessions.


Local speakers will include: Veta Jeffrey, CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce; Jay Warren-Teamer, Director of Diversity and Inclusion – Blue Cross Blue Shield; Aaron Austin, Chief Human Resources Officer – CHI Health Center; Dr. Cheryl Logan, Superintendent of Omaha Public Schools; Raquel Henderson, Pathway Coordinator – Metropolitan Community College and dozens of others.

Plus, representatives from 10 regional and national cities looking to replicate the Empowerment Network collective approach will be in attendance.

The conference will also feature a full scale Revive Black Business Expo including dozens of Omaha’s Black business owners, innovators and entrepreneurs.

“As one of the original members of the Empowerment Network and a person committed to the success of our community, it has been amazing to see the progress we have made,” said John Ewing, Vice President of the Board.  “I’m excited for the future of our great city and future collaborations with leaders like Earvin “Magic” Johnson that will help us continue this great transformation.”

Current major sponsors include:

CHI Health
ConAgra Brands

Union Pacific
American National Bank

Children’s Hospital
Wells Fargo
University of Nebraska at Omaha

Get your tickets locked in today:

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Empowerment Network 15 Year Anniversary featuring Magic Johnson

Timothy and Carmelita Christian, Honorary Co-Chairs for 15th Anniversary Conference

Published:  Sunday, March 13, 2022

Timothy and Carmelita Christian serve as the Honorary Co-Chairs for the 15th Anniversary Conference. The Empowerment Network thanks them for their generous support and Tim for his leadership as the Board President.

Timothy L. Christian is a film financier, producer and entrepreneur. He serves as CEO of the Omaha based film finance and production company, Night Fox Entertainment and Past-President of the Nebraska Film Association.

Formerly, Tim was Executive VP of Operations for The MixCast Network; a global distribution and entertainment platform. In this position, he helped pioneer the online video space and achieve a presence in 20+ global markets. Christian then spun-off a strategic brand development firm which executed campaigns on behalf of major media clients ranging from VIACOM to Warner Brothers Records to the Professional Sports Wives Association.

Tim has extensive experience in the entertainment industry. His start in the entertainment world came from interning for Grammy Award winning music artist and producer, Teddy Riley. His dedication and hard work afforded him increasing levels of responsibility. He ultimately found his place in business and strategic development for many record labels and artists. Christian has earned the respect of some of the biggest entertainers and executives in the music industry and is highly regarded as one that can deliver results.

Tim is the current board president of the Empowerment Network and board member for Nebraska Appleseed and the James Phillip Foster Hope Resource Center. He also serves on the Development Committee for the Malcom X Memorial Foundation. He is extremely active in his church, New Hope Apostolic Temple, serving as a Deacon and youth ministry leader. Christian also gives a large portion of his time to teenagers and young adults that need mentorship.  Tim studied Finance and Economics at The Pennsylvania State University.

Carmelita Christian is a passionate mental health professional with an innate gift for helping others reach their fullest potential. She has over a decade of experience working with adults, families, and children from all walks of life.

Carmelita specializes in crisis intervention, severe trauma, addiction, abuse, and domestic violence. Her empathetic nature has been a bridge to emotional healing for many and she relishes in seeing her clients overcome their personal hardships to prosper in all areas of their lives.

She is the owner of a thriving, mental health practice, Holistic Counseling LLC,that she started in 2014.  She earned her Masters of Counseling and Masters of Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

She is also very active with their church, New Hope Apostolic Temple, and plays key roles in the community.  One of her commitments is board member for the Jesuit Academy.

Carmelita is a devoted wife and mother.  Tim and Carmelita are the proud parents of daughter, Breonna.

Get your tickets for the Rebuilding the Village Conference locked in today.

Register for the Empowerment Network’s 15 Year Anniversary Rebuilding the Village Conference here.


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Empowerment Network 15 Year Anniversary featuring Magic Johnson

Conference Schedule: 15th Anniversary Rebuilding the Village

Published:  Sunday, March 13, 2022

Thursday, May 19, 2022

8:00 AM             
Special Pre-Conference Intensive
Regional and National Partner Cities (Only)

Contact Willie Barney @


5:30 PM              
Conference VIP Reception at 24th and Lake


Friday, May 20, 2022
Conference at CHI Health Center Omaha


7:00 AM              
Registration, Breakfast and Revive Black Business Expo


8:00 AM              
Conference Opening Session


8:30 AM              
Morning Keynote:  Suzan Hart
International Consultant:
Health, Wellness and Entrepreneurship


9:00 AM              
EmPower Talks with featuring National Strategic Advisors and Local Partners



Violence Prevention

Home Ownership


Arts and Revitalization



10:00 AM          
BREAK and Revive Black Business Expo


10:15 AM            
Collaboration Breakout Sessions

Advance Omaha! Diversity & Inclusion Strategies

Cradle to Career Solutions, Back on Track to 95%

Violence Prevention:
Omaha 360 – Past, Present and Future

Home Ownership:
Launching the Omaha 1,000 Home Owner Campaign

Moving Beyond COVID with a Holistic Approach to Health

Arts and Revitalization:
24th and Lake…The NEXT Phase

Black Businesses…Reaching $1 Billion in Collective Sales


11:15 AM            
Break and Revive Black Business Expo


11:30 AM            
15 Year Anniversary Celebration

Luncheon Keynote featuring Earvin “Magic” Johnson

Empowerment Champion’s Awards

EmPower Talk Introductions for Afternoon Sessions

Book Signing and Photos

Revive Black Business Expo


1:30 PM              
Capacity-Building Breakout Sessions

Featuring National Strategic Advisors and Local Partners

Leadership & Succession:
In and Through the Crisis

Casting Vision and Telling Your Story

Developing and Maintaining High Performing Teams

Data-driven Strategies:
Using and Presenting Data for Better Decision-making

Bringing Creativity and Energy to Your Organization and Efforts

Youth Voice and Leadership in the Community


2:15 PM              
BREAK, Snacks and Revive Black Business Expo


2:30 PM              
Afternoon Keynote:  Anna Barber

National Fund Development Consultant


3:00 PM              
Musical Guest and
Transformation 2025: Phase II Launch


Get your tickets for the Rebuilding the Village Conference locked in today.

Register for the Empowerment Network’s 15 Year Anniversary Rebuilding the Village Conference here.


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