What are the co-founders up to?
post-23743-Yoda-reaction-gif-Do-Or-do-not-uZ3k[SOURCE: TENOR]


“Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking.” — Wangari Maathai
“Earn your leadership every day.”  Michael Jordan
“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” — Bill Gates

OBA’s sending a big shout out to the “Chapter and Verse” film architects Daniel Beaty and Jamal Joseph for their latest of projects, a documentary about the effects of incarcerated parents on youth named Behind The Glass. A *bigger* shout out goes to Emma and Wilaja–two brave and beautiful young ladies turning “pain to power” by sharing their experiences in the film over beats and movement. Speaking of movement…another big shout out goes to Savannah, Sharai and Zyaire of Impact Repertory Theatre for being our added team of dancers and OBA’s Emilia A. Ottoo for choreographing the “Now I Dance For You” sequence!
“I never got to dance with you, so now I dance for you.”
And yes they did! Stay tuned for the project’s premiere and keep a positive thought! Much energy to all the youth, parents and families dealing with the prison experience.

 emma lee queens only graf2.jpg
Emilia A. Ottoo’s getting ready to start presenting videos, workshopping topics and performing music from her current project “The Why’s, The Woke and The Winning: Hip Hop-Creative Conscious for ‘Coming Through’ Marginalization.” The project brings together pop culture, activism, women and gender studies, politics, street life, the immigrant experience and shades of the “American Dream” through lyricism, music and visual art. It’s also the launch of her artist alias “EMMA LEE M.C.” and the “emilia is emma lee” YouTube channel which will feature the videos and continue to update beyond. Congrats!

Pace Logo


Congratulations to Dr. Richard E. Ottoo giving the keynote speech at the New York campus of Pace University’s Convocation! He also made a milestone as the first person of color to deliver the convocation in Pace’s over 100-year history. As noted in the program, Dr. Ottoo (PhD, FRM, CFA) was the first of his family to go to college.




Afropunk Tshirt

Social justice educator, photographer, filmmaker and activist Menen Hailu submitted a special image to the AfroPunk Festival as part of See Me’s #NOHATE campaign, including our very own Emilia A. Ottoo! The winning submission was to be worn by the staff and headlining performers of this incredible festival. The subjects are injustice, the power of art and the aspiration of peace.
Menen Emilia for Afro Punk

The Peoples Police Brutality Tribunal was held in Harlem’s Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Center, an event organized for families, by families. Civil rights lawyer, filmmaker, musician and activist King Downing was on hand as event coordinator and moderator, facilitating the testimonies of families nationwide for an esteemed panel and the community. People called, Skyped, and testified in person to share their stories of family members killed by police brutality and excessive force, many with no followup, no police report, and no established case, many even threatened for their active investigation.
A few young artists including OBA founder Emilia A. Ottoo were selected to perform original music and poetry. The Tribunal went so well–including food, literature, and music–the community is calling for the event to be bi-annual.
*What they could use is more hands.*
Please contact the Family Coalition for Justice (, 347.483.9880) to help organize or volunteer. Also contact if you are a family member who wants to testify and bring your story closer to justice.
Prayer Hands
Rest in Freedom to all those we’ve lost, and much energy to all families affected.

Dance NYC, Dance USA
Emilia A. Ottoo was selected for Dance/NYC’s 2015 “New Yorkers for Dance” campaign, an offshoot of the national Dance/USA organization, thanks to Linda Walton and the Harlem Arts Alliance! This “Upper Manhattan” edition celebrates dance legends and lovers from and within the Harlem community.
Dance/NYC’s mission is to promote the knowledge, appreciation, practice, and performance of dance in the metropolitan New York City area. It embeds values of equity and inclusion into all aspects of the organization.  It works in alliance with Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance.”
Join the conversation #newyorkersfordance @DanceNYC

“What We Do Now, Matters Forever”
by Emilia A. Ottoo for Impact Repertory Theatre

“What We Do Now, Matters Forever” asks why some nonprofits have and others have not? Is grassroots organizing a default, resort or a strategy in communities of color? Featuring Harlem’s own Oscar & Grammy nominated youth “Leaders Of Today.”



Dr. Richard E. Ottoo did a needs-assessment on our plans for ground work in Northern Uganda, and took a few flicks while he was at it! LOVE TO THE PEOPLE of Uganda who’ve been supporting and encouraging our vision! We’re creating to build and bridging for change.




World Energy Day at the United Nations on October 22, 2013 invited ministers of energy, leaders from technology, finance, and the academic world to come together and discuss global energy issues. Dr. Richard E. Ottoo was in attendance for performances, meeting new people, and weighing in on topics such as energy access, security, policy, and finance, as well as international cooperation and the environment.

Flags at the United Nations, New York City

Flags at the United Nations, New York City


Presented by the The World Energy Forum, who believes energy is a fundamental issue for the economic and social development of nations and peoples, the purpose of World Energy Day “was to send a positive signal worldwide about the paramount importance of energy and its many factors.”

World Energy Day 10.22.13

World Energy Day 10.22.13

World Energy Day 10.22.13

World Energy Day 10.22.13



PADER President and Ottoo Brand’s Chief Investment Strategist Dr. Richard E. Ottoo took selected undergraduate and graduate students from Pace University’s Lubin School of Business to visit the corporate headquarters of Tiffany & Co. Learning about the company from Pace alumnus James Fernandez, Tiffany & Co.’s executive vice president and chief operating officer was a memorable treat!


Breakfast at Tiffany's 10.7.13

Breakfast at Tiffany’s 10.7.13



In PADER President Dr. Richard E. Ottoo’s most recent trip to Nanchang and Shanghai, China he participated with great success in the 2013 Asian Finance Association’s Annual Meeting hosted by the Jiangxi University of Finance & Economics.

He chaired the session on “Corporate Finance Empirical: Human Capital,” presented his own work “Human Capital, Managerial Overconfidence, and Corporate Valuation,” and was on the panel for the “Human Capital, Household Capital and Asset Returns” presentation.

Conference Credentials         Shangai Conference Program Cover

Father's Mention in Conference Program


Dr. Richard E. Ottoo with Khadim Diop and Bharata Selassie, the first “Young Charges” of the developing Ottoo Brand Artivism Mentee Program, after a meeting at Pace University’s Midtown Campus in Summer 2013.

Young Chargers and Father at Midtown




Written for his PhD in Finance from the Graduate School at the City University of New York (CUNY) in 1998, PADER President Dr. Richard E. Ottoo’s book entitled Valuation of Corporate Growth Opportunies: A Real Options Approach proved right on time being ahead of the times.

Richard's Book Cover     Richard's Book Cover.back

Brief Summary

How can we value an enterprise, like a young internet start-up company, that has no earnings or cash flows, so that traditional and conventional valuation techniques are therefore not applicable? One of the most notable recent industrial revolutions has been the emergence of Biotechnology and Internet companies.

Most of these technology companies are predominantly young with no history of earnings or cash flows to evaluate. This book addresses the problem, and presents a model for valuing enterprises that may have no existing assets but only growth opportunities.

OBA’s Emilia A. Ottoo honed her public speaking skills through constant activism during her journey in Impact Repertory Theatre. As Company Captain she would often introduce her peers and the mission of Impact with personal words to open shows and presentations. Here’s two such introductions!



Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration

Abyssinian Baptist Church

Show Introduction/Speech

Emilia A. Ottoo

January 17, 2011

Impact Repertory Theatre

Emilia A. Ottoo with Impact Repertory Theatre at Museum of Natural History 2012



           Ladies and gentleman we are Impact Repertory Theatre. My name is Emilia and I wanted to speak today after reading something last night that got me thinking. I believe it’s very important to properly recognize why we’re here and the life we’re celebrating today.

           Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. named after his father, Martin Luther King Sr. But can anyone tell me what Martin Luther King Sr.’s real name was? Yes, it was not his real name, his original name was Michael King, he changed it in 1935. Michael King was greatly inspired by the work of a man named Martin Luther. Does anybody know about Martin Luther? Yes, a 16th century monk and theologian who’s a little controversial. He was looking at religion, philosophy, the way we live, how we interact, and how it all relates to find better purpose and practices for the self and the whole. He fought for his beliefs about life, and Michael King was so inspired that in 1935 he changed his name to Martin Luther King Sr. further declaring his son to be recognized as Martin Luther King Jr.

           This is what got me thinking and got this all started last night: The name Luther is of German and Hebrew origin, combining the word luit which means “people” and heri which means “army” or “warrior.” Did y’all hear what I said? I said (call and response) people-army-warrior.

           So my point wraps up like this. Violence or non-violence is one issue. Asking for rights or owning your rights are another. But make no mistake. Just because his message is about peace, a fight is and has always been necessary; A fight for soul, life and community wellness. So let’s respect this man for being a man, a person, who was brave and true enough to fight with his life, for all of us. I’m not just talking about the individual fight he faced being who he was, like the fight you and I face in our own lives. I’m talking about a fight with an army. An army of people, who can determine their destiny if they choose to; an army of active, conscious, warriors.

           That’s what brings Impact here today, and any day. We are a youth army, using art to fight in positive ways. We create and perform in the knowledge that we’re able to partly because of the warriors that came before us, like Martin Luther King Jr. and an abundance of others who go unnamed. So we say

What is Impact, it’s not a game!

What is Impact, it’s not a game!

Why is it not a game?

Because what we do now

matters forever!

Why? Because what we do

 now matters  forever!

The I: inspiration

The M: motivation

The P: preparation

The A: activism

The C: commitment

The T: teamwork

And our Credo is: We are youth activists who view the creative arts and leadership training as a way to develop ourselves and change the world in a positive way. We believe that we must be the message that we bring through hard work, focus, discipline, unity and the principles of S.O.S. Safe space, Outstanding effort and Service to our family, friends and community. 

Village, please welcome Impact Repertory Theatre.



Mosaic’s Education Summit

Pepsico Corporate Grounds

“Personal Journey Speech”

Emilia A. Ottoo

February 23, 2012

Impact Repertory Theatre

Emilia A. Ottoo Speaking at Mosaic's Education Summit at Pepsico Corporate Grounds with Impact Repertory Theatre



            Good afternoon, my name is Emilia Ottoo of Impact Repertory Theatre, and what I hope you get out of my ‘personal journey’ if nothing else is the power of choice and the value of what we in Impact call “Safe Space.” I was born in Uganda and came to Harlem when I was 2 years old with both my parents. I was always an obedient child and an exceptional student though I was struggling to create my identity amidst the African culture I was separated from, the American I would have to assimilate to and the range of world cultures surrounding me in New York. My parents went through a long and bitter divorce as I witnessed them making new and powerful choices that affected us all. With more motivation to be self-reliant and independent as I got older, I chose to pursue the power of my own choices. I began 9th grade at the High School of Economics and Finance, which was located two blocks from the World Trade Center and greatly affected by the events of September 11th, 2001.

After excelling as an ‘A’ student all my life, I disturbed my record out of frustration from attending 4 different high schools in 3 years, including one in California. I dropped out of the last–my ‘zoned’ school in Manhattan, acknowledging that not only was I not challenged, so far there had been no constructive place to grow or learn about myself and the world in relation. I got my GED in 2005, went to community college, and with help from my father and my community I’m now close to graduating from Pace University with a BA in Political Science, Dance, and Arts and Entertainment Management.            

En route to this was what many of my peers and people in communities like mine are saddled with. Issues of abandonment, lack of guidance, self-esteem, identity, health, wellness, survival, lack of stable relationships, ignorance. “Insufficient funds” as brother MLK Jr. used to speak on. Feeling “hoodwinked, led astray and run amuck” as brother Malcolm has said. Drugs, street dramas, abuse in many forms. Had it not been for a random school trip to a performance from which I committed to joining Impact at 12 years old in the 6th grade, I may not have been alive with the chance of thriving today.            

Impact has not only been my think-tank for the local/global community, my creative outlet to learn and experiment, but the “Safe Space” I needed to grow freely and the support system, mentors and family I needed period. I’m now Company Captain and our mottos, “keep a positive thought, because a positive thought cannot be denied” and “what we do now, matters forever” exemplify the depth of the power of choice.            

Thank you for your time and ears, and no matter how successful you consider yourself, do not put yourself on a pedestal that is out of reach of others, because the choices you make can knock you off just as easily. Give an opportunity and listen to what everyone from all walks of life have to say. Especially “the youth.” “We’re not the leaders of tomorrow, we’re the leaders of today.” Thank you.

3 thoughts on “FOUNDERS AT WORK

  1. Thank you for sharing your experiences Emilia. You have overcome a lot through a lot in your life. I believe that striving has strengthened your resolve, and will result in very successful outcomes. I can feel the passion in your words when you tell readers to steer away from putting themselves on pedestals that are out of the reach of others. It is a noble thing for a person to do work for others, but it is a very ignoble thing to tune out the voice of the people they do work for–which in almost all cases, directly and indirectly, are regular humans. Or, one could look at it as this: it is a very ignoble thing to be ignorant to how ones life is tied to a whole, and to act on it. It is even worse if a person doesn’t realize how his/her life could have easily been similar to the life of another, and only through these very important interactions with all kinds of people can we truly start understanding how humanity works.

    Once again, thank you for the work you do.

    Wish you all the best,



  2. Thank you Jaquon…well said, insightful and eloquent as we would have expected! Please invest more into your writing talents and continue to bridge your gifts with communication. You have a powerful way with words that needs to leap off the pages! Thanks for your encouragement and appreciation, YOU are part of ‘the new guard.’ So stay tuned with Ottoo Brand as we support your Artivism, and have a safe trip back!


  3. Pingback: From New York to Nanchang! |

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