"Where Youth Empowerment Meets the Global Community & African Diaspora"
DEBORAH J PAGE, CIC, CPCU
CERTIFIED INSURANCE ADVISOR
Founder & President
Deborah has devoted decades to youth, family, and community enrichment. She is devoted to providing youth educational & global cultural enrichment opportunities.
Learn more below.
MEET THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Faces of Our Organization
The Blue Lotus Cultural Institute Inc. Board of Directors are all very dedicated to education and the enrichment of youth. They are committed to the upliftment of the global and African community, and our board brings a wide range of skills, expertise, and experiences to our organization. We’re very proud of our board, and their abilities to contribute their own unique experiences to our success. Find out more about our team members below.
DEBORAH J. PAGE, CIC, CPCU
CERTIFIED INSURANCE ADVISER
Founder & President
Deborah Page is the Founder and President of Blue Lotus Cultural Institute Inc. She has volunteered in many leadership and support capacities to benefit youth, families, and the community. Deborah's passion was sparked nearly 30 years ago through completion of Leadership York - a leadership training program focused on developing nonprofit leaders to volunteer and serve on boards and committees. During the early 90's Deborah's employer further supported her efforts to mentor and teach high school students by sponsoring a weekly after school computer training program at its regional headquarters.
She founded the volunteer youth enrichment program Dance Moves Afrikan! (DMA) at the Crispus Attucks Community Center in York, PA. Students were introduced to history, culture, arts & crafts, dance, capoeira, yoga, and Kwanzaa. Working with other York community leaders, DMA co-founded Kwanzaa Unity Fest - a festival celebrating Kwanzaa, family, and community. Students also enjoyed field trips to museums, cultural performances, and colleges. With marriage, family became priority; but volunteer efforts continued with the PTA, the Ausar Auset Society, Association for Cultivation and Education and other nonprofit organizations and community and family-oriented projects. These efforts continue to feed Deborah's devotion to provide youth educational and global cultural enrichment opportunities.
While Deborah devoted decades to youth enrichment efforts, she has had a long successful career in insurance after graduating from Virginia State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, Summa Cum Laude. She has worked over 40 years in the industry as Director and other technical and leadership capacities with professional recognition in the industry as a CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter); CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor); and Certified Insurance Adviser.
Deborah's desire to affect positive change in the world began as a youth Sunday school teacher when she was just a teenager. This devotion and passion continue. Deborah's unique knowledge of business, coupled with her devotion to youth, family, and community, add an important skillset to the Board of Directors of the Blue Lotus Cultural Institute Inc.
Vice President & Assistant Secretary
As Vice President and Assistant Secretary, Akhita-Maat Page supports the planning and execution of the Blue Lotus Cultural Institute Inc. programs. Prior to this role she has been volunteering in her community located in the DC, MD, and VA metro area. At a young age she participated in events such as Earth Day clean-ups, assisting and communicating with visitors at the Mt. Rainer Nature Center, and also helping with children's activities during Kwanzaa. All of which help cultivate character and cultural understanding that the youth need, and which align with the goals of the Blue Lotus Cultural Institute Inc.
Parallel to Akhita-Maat's passion for community, she also has a love for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). While Attending North Carolina A&T State University she was able to merge the two by being on the board of Aggies for Engineering and Community Enrichment, a school organization that is dedicated to STEM outreach by mentoring young minority students in FIRST robotics competition. Through teaching technical skills such as coding, but also soft skills like teamwork and leadership, Akhita-Maat hopes to expose more youth to STEM careers and help develop their life skills.
As a recent graduate of North Carolina A&T State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Vice President of the Blue Lotus Cultural Institute Inc., Akhita-Maat hopes to expand on her outreach in the community and continue cultivating young people's potential.
Gwendolyn Payton is family and community oriented with more than 40 years in education, direct services to students, families, and the community of Washington, DC. Her vision is to support and empower a community in search of excellence in academics, character, and nation building. She has served as an elementary school teacher, assistant principal, and for the past 15 years, has served as a principal in Washington, DC.
Through the years, Ms. Payton has served on the Boards of Director of the Washington Nationals' Youth Baseball Academy, Kamit Institute for Magnificent Achievers Public Charter School, and A-T Seban Mesut School. Ms. Payton has also served on the Advisory Board of The University of the District of Columbia's Early Childhood Department, Associate of Arts degree program. Currently Payton is an active member of the Association for Cultivation and Education (ACE) Board of Directors and continues to serve as a member of the Advisory Board for Early Childhood Education with the District of Columbia Public Schools.
Ms. Payton holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, with a Specialization in Early Childhood from York College in Jamaica, NY; Master's Degree in Early Childhood from the University of the District of Columbia; Master's Degree in Administration from Trinity University, DC and an Executive Master's in Leadership from Georgetown University, DC.
She is excited to support the mission, vision, and values of the Blue Lotus Cultural Institute Inc.
Kestaganer Johnson prides herself in assisting future generations of youth to reach their full potential, like so many of the influential people in her own life growing up. As a graduate of Howard University School of Business, she juggled pursuing an Accounting Degree with being a student athlete for the Howard University Women's Soccer Team. Upon graduation, she ventured into the world of education as a Teacher Aide for an elementary school in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and continued to develop her love of interacting with young people.
In her early years with DCPS, Johnson transitioned out of the classroom to work as a Data Entry Clerk. There she honed skills developed in Business School to influence and improve the lives of her students in a different way. Through hard work and dedication, she progressed to Business Manager and Manager of Strategy and Logistics (MSL). It was as an MSL that she truly developed an understanding of all of the moving parts required to help a young person to be successful in life from an institutional support level and a more personal level.
Kestaganer has always wanted to have a positive impact on the world, helping to shape the minds of young people in transformative ways. As a member of the Blue Lotus Board of Directors, she hopes to be the same helping hand to the youth of today that she received during her formative years.
Assistant Treasurer & Executive Assistant
Shepsura Page has from a young age participated in activities which helped cultivate her character and cultural awareness. Her special interest in environmental justice, food security, and stewardship of the earth propels her interest as a recent graduate of Towson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Studies. Shepsura balanced her studies, while exhibiting an amazing work ethic as a university student worker.
Shepsura's activism in the nonprofit arena is expansive and involves leadership activities. She has been an active member of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) and Future Farmers of America (FFA). Her leadership skills were honed during workshops and conferences. Participation in a countywide environmental competition as expert on soils, allowed Shepsura to teach the rest of the team about soils. She has first-hand knowledge of urban farming, as a volunteer for EcoCity Farms in Bladensburg, MD and Edmonston, MD. Her university experiences expanded her activism as she participated on a student led coalition working on a bill to make MD colleges more environmentally friendly, while advocating for underserved minority communities.
Other volunteer activities have also been a focus. She has participated in an alternative winter break program, assisting a Philadelphia artist activist prepare to host an artist apprenticeship program. It combined hard work with the opportunity to learn about art and culture. Shepsura has also served as a youth leader at Mt. Rainer Nature Center, and she has led youth in Earth Day Clean-up and Kwanzaa activities.
All of these experiences aptly prepare Shepsura as a Board member of the Blue Lotus Cultural Institute Inc.
Get to know more about our incredible team today.