About Willie D. Barney

Willie D. Barney

Willie Barney is the Founder and President of WDB Resultants, a national consulting firm that specializes in strategic planning, community collaboration, marketing, communications, research, facilitation and diversity & inclusion. The Resultants experience includes working with clients in the corporate, non-profit, and faith-based sectors across the country. The team focuses on transforming the dreams and visions of communities and clients into solutions and results.

With over 30 years of experience, Barney is a strategist, facilitator and catalyst who consistently works effectively with partners to get things done through cross functional and cross sector relationships.  Using his gifts and encouraging others to do the same, Barney excels in creating positive change through collaboration and community-building. 

He is a highly sought after speaker and thought leader with a proven track record of bringing groups together to accomplish strategic visions.  Before launching his own businesses and several non-profits, Barney rose through the ranks to become a senior marketing executive in the media industry.  During his time with Lee Enterprises and later through his consulting firm, Barney had the opportunity to work across the U.S. with hundreds of small businesses and major corporations on strategic planning, marketing and advertising.   He has invested the past 20 years to both entrepreneurship and building strong communities.

Recent work in the areas of career advancement and leadership development include the creation and implementation of the Racial Diversity and Equity Scorecard & Initiatives with Damita Byrd; development of the Redefine the Game Institute in partnership with BCT Partners; and, launch of the Omaha Legacy Wealth Initiative in partnership with Torch Enterprises.  

Barney and his wife, Yolanda, have launched a number of businesses and non-profits together.   In addition to WDB Resultants, he is president of SMB Enterprises, a company that provides positive events, media and entertainment in the greater Omaha area.  SMB is the parent company of Revive! Omaha Magazine, the North Omaha Community Guide and the Revive! Black Business Guide. 

Revive also created the Revive! Black Business Network in Omaha, bringing over 350 black business owners and entrepreneurs together for networking, capacity-building and expansion.  Revive! leads one of the largest black business expos in Omaha in partnership with the Empowerment Network’s African American Leadership Conference.

In 2019, Willie and Yolanda expanded SMB with the launching of the Revive Center Omaha and in 2020, announced a new venture, the Carver Legacy Center, both in the heart of the historic African-American community.  The Revive Center is a platform for African-American chefs, cooks, entrepreneurs, musicians, artists and creatives.  The Carver Legacy Center (CLC) is a black-owned financial institution in partnership Martin and Lynnell Williams of DreamBusiness and John and Wende Kotouc of American National Bank.  CLC is focused on business and home ownership.

In some circles, Barney is best known for his role as the Founder, President, and Facilitator of the Empowerment Network. The Empowerment Network is a collaborative of residents, leaders, and organizations working to facilitate positive change in Omaha, Nebraska and other cities across the country. Formed in September 2006 and launched in April 2007, the Network works collectively to improve the economic condition and quality of life for African-Americans, North Omaha residents and the Greater Omaha area. Hundreds of organizations and thousands of residents have participated in the groundbreaking approach. 

The Empowerment Network implements the Community-based Collaborative model and process created by WDB Resultants.  Willie and Yolanda stepped out in faith to launch the Network based on years of research and a God-given calling.   Barney personally reached out to others in Omaha to implement the model and process he developed for strategic community collaboration.  For over a year, he facilitated sessions with hundreds to create a customized, cross sector plan.  He has continued to lead the work in Omaha for 15 years while helping other cities and organizations with similar steps.

The movement has evolved into a nationally recognized approach to community engagement, collaboration, capacity-building and leadership development with a focus on transforming Omaha into a GREAT city, in every zip code and neighborhood. The comprehensive community-based development organization has launched major initiatives with measurable outcomes and closing the wealth gap has become a key focus of the collaborative work.

The Empowerment Network Collaborative is one of the catalysts in Omaha that has helped to increase graduation rates; improve reading, math and science scores; reduce gun violence; generate hundreds of millions of dollars in community revitalization; increase access to health care and healthy foods; support the passage of over 30 pieces of legislation; and, launch the rebirth of an African-American centered arts, culture, entertainment, and business district. Barney and the Empowerment Network have received numerous local and national awards for the outcomes they have generated.

The group, under the leadership of Barney, has launched major initiatives with measurable results including:

  • The Empowerment Covenant/Challenge
  • Omaha 360 Violence Intervention and Prevention Collaborative
  • Step-Up Omaha Collaborative
  • North Omaha Village Zone Revitalization Plan
  • Transformation 2025 & Empower Omaha!
  • North Omaha 2025 & Empower North Omaha!
  • Christmas in the Village at 24th and Lake
  • African-American Leadership Conference
  • Omaha African-American Male Achievement Collaborative
  • North Omaha Cradle to Career Education Collaborative
  • Village Stakeholders:  Pastors & Faith Leaders Adopt-A-Block Initiative
  • The Rebuild the Village Strategy and many others.

Prior to the Empowerment Network, Barney assisted media companies and community organizations nationally with cross sector and cross functional strategies he developed based on his experiences, travels and research.

Barney has been an active volunteer in each community that he has lived. He graduated with a double major in Economics and Business Administration from St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa. A strong supporter of life-long learning, he has continued his education through advanced leadership training including, the Summer Leadership Institute for Community Development at Harvard University and Executive Leadership and Management Training at the Northwestern University Media Center in Chicago.

He and his wife have been married for 23 years. They are both actively involved in their church as associate pastors and ministers where they lead financial empowerment and community and economic development initiatives.  Yolanda is the Vice-President of SMB Enterprises and WDB Resultants and Co-Publisher of Revive! Omaha. They have two children, Nehemiah (19) and Priscilla (14). Their focus, passion, and purpose are working together with others to see communities and each person reach their full potential.