Sankofa Futures Consulting derives its name from the West African mythical bird that symbolizes the "Sankofa" concept or philosophy, "...it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot." The sankofa bird serves as a metaphor for looking to the past to find the way forward. The Sankofa Paradigm encourages us to base our analysis of the present and our visions for the future on a good understanding of the past.
Benjamin Dixon is a veteran educator with experience as a teacher, administrator and superintendent in public K-12 systems, private schools and higher education. He has served as Deputy Commissioner of Education in Connecticut, and was The Travelers (Insurance) Companies first Workforce Diversity Director. His most recent position was with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University where he served as the institution's first Vice President for Multicultural Affairs. His primary role was to advise the President and university administration on policy and practice related to intercultural relations, diversity and equity issues. He retired in 2006, at which time he was appointed to Emeritus Status.
In his capacity as Deputy Commissioner of Education, Dr. Dixon was responsible for managing the development and implementation of the state's Comprehensive Plan for Elementary and Secondary. He was also responsible for the Connecticut School Improvement Initiative, which was supported primarily by a $4.6 million federal Goals 2000 competitive grant that involved over 82% of the state's 166 school districts. He was also as an executive-on-loan from the State Department to the Hartford Public School System. In this role he served as Interim Superintendent of Schools, managing a $184 million budget in this 25,000 pupil district.
At the Travelers Companies, Dr. Dixon managed and coordinated diversity and equal employment opportunity/affirmative action activities for the home office and fifteen field site complexes nationwide.
Dr. Dixon earned degrees at Howard and Harvard Universities. He received his Doctorate from the University of Massachusetts, where he was a Ford Fellow. During his K-12 career he initiated innovative programs for the gifted and talented, persons with disabilities, and the culturally different. While in higher education he was the principal author of a collaboratively developed award winning Diversity Strategic Plan for Virginia Tech. In addition to providing special seminars for professors' classes, he served as a member or co-chair of over a dozen dissertation committees. He has been a presenter at numerous conferences, and a speaker, panelist and/or facilitator at forums in both the business and industry and non-profit/community sectors.
As an activist within the community, he was a co-founder of Education/Instruccion, Inc., an advocacy/consultant group dedicated to assisting community-based organizations and
individuals in accessing education, employment and housing opportunities. His interest in improving corporate understanding and management of cultural diversity in the workplace was
demonstrated by his co-founding the Diversity Council, a regional organization for major corporations interested in collaborating on critical issues in diversity management. He was
appointed by the Governor of Connecticut to serve as a charter member of the African American Affairs Commission. Dr. Dixon also served as President of the Study Commission for the Council of Chief
State School Officers, a national organization of the highest elected or appointed educational officials in each state.
Dr. Dixon was active as a member on Boards of Directors for several community organizations in Montgomery County, VA; including Literacy Volunteers of New River Valley, NAACP, The Community Group and New Mountain Climbers (Giving Circle), Rotary International, and The Community Foundation of New River Valley. He now serves on the boards of COLA/Gives (a local giving circle providing time, talent and treasure to local non-profits), and Bel Canto of Columbia (a performing choral ensemble that raises money to give college scholarships to students interested in music).
Ben's current focus is to utilize his knowledge and experience to advise, guide and assist leader managers of non-profit and community organizations committed to developing and enriching the lives and circumstances of under-resourced and underserved communities. He accomplishes this through an executive coaching, training, technical assistance and consultation company he founded, called Sankofa Futures Consulting.