December 5, 2017 – Steele Promoted To MBDA Business Center Project Director

Lesa Steele has been named Project Director for Oklahoma’s Minority Business Development Agency, operated by REI Oklahoma in Tulsa.  Her promotion comes as former director, James Ray, has announced his semi-retirement.  Ms. Steele previously served as MBDA Business Center Assistant, a position she accepted in April 2013. REI Native American Business Centers deliver technical assistance and training programs in an effort to build successful Native American and minority-owned businesses.


During her time with REI Native American Business Centers, she has completed a program entitled Growing the Minority Business to Scale, which took place at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business.  Additionally, she was recently recognized at the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma’s The Gathering as a graduate of Native Leadership Oklahoma.


“We are very excited to have Lesa serving in this new role,” said Sherry Harlin, Senior Vice President of Development.  “Her knowledge and background will provide great support and guidance to Oklahoma’s minority business owners.”


A non-profit economic development firm, REI Oklahoma offers services statewide.  REI Business Lending collaborates closely with local lenders to help entrepreneurs navigate through business lending resources and programs.  For women-owned businesses and minority-owned enterprises, REI Women’s Business Center and REI Native American Business Centers offer unique training, as well as technical assistance and access to capital.  REI Down Payment Assistance provides support to potential homeowners.  Additionally, business space is made available through the organization’s commercial facilities program.  REI Oklahoma leverages the New Markets Tax Credit program to attract new investments into Oklahoma and create needed jobs in underserved communities.  Learn more about the organization at  Follow REI Oklahoma on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.