Cornell Wesley is the Principal/Founder at EMBLEM Strategies, LLC. With over ten years of experience managing professional staff in both the public and private sectors, Cornell is a seasoned executive with in-depth expertise that includes personnel staffing and management, oversight of complex organizational budgets and management of technical and policy teams, as well as a proven track record as a skilled negotiator. He has extensive knowledge in regional coordination and planning and is adept at setting and achieving priorities. He has a proven ability to manage multiple projects in tandem without compromising the quality of the outcomes.

Prior to establishing EMBLEM Strategies, Cornell founded his own company, Fiscal Fundamentals, Inc., specializing in small business lending and non-profit development consulting.

Cornell previously served as the Economic Development Representative for Oklahoma and North Texas for the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA). He worked to successfully build coalitions among regional economic development organizations in his service area and efficiently managed over $20 million in federal investment, yielding a $1.5 billion impact in private investment and creation of over 4,000 jobs and retention of over 3,000 jobs. Notably, Cornell was the first EDA representative in over twenty years who chose to live and raise his family in Oklahoma.

Cornell came to Oklahoma after working as the Financial Services and Economic Development Manager for the East Arkansas Planning and Development District, where he developed and implemented lending policies, underwriting guidelines, and approval processes for the District’s EDA Revolving Loan Fund and managed lending and economic development projects in 117 cities over a 12-county region. He located in Arkansas after having served in various management positions for a number of financial institutions in the Atlanta, Georgia, area, where he oversaw multi-million dollar portfolios, loans and credit lines, as well as government guaranteed lending. As an SBA lender, he managed an expansive 49 state lending territory.

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Cornell’s education is as varied as his work experience. A Morehouse College graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, he also holds a Master of Business Administration from Mercer University and a Master of Divinity from the Interdenominational Theological Center of Atlanta, Georgia. He also holds certifications in management, economic development and entrepreneurship from a number of universities and economic development institutions across the United States.

Cornell is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma’s Class 31. He received a commendation in 2017 from Governor Mary Fallin for his work in economic development. He has been recognized as “Top 40 Under 40” by Oklahoma Magazine and is a past fellow of the Delta Entrepreneur Network. Cornell proudly volunteers on various boards, including Leadership Oklahoma, the Black Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma City and Northeast Oklahoma City Renaissance, to name a few. He is also a volunteer mentor for The Education and Employment Ministry (TEEM), the Leadership Exchange Academy and the StitchCrew/Thunder Launchpad.

Through his passion for economic and community development, he is building a strong foundation not only for his family’s future, but for the future of his vast community.


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