FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – With February featuring notable individuals during Black History Month and March recognizing trailblazing women in history, the Flagler Tiger Bay Club considered itself fortunate to host an American trailblazer in her own right, Dr. Gloria Bozeman Herndon, on January 24, 2024 in Palm Coast.

Speaking to members of the Flagler Tiger Bay Club, Dr. Herndon shared more than just an insider’s look at the African perspective.

Dr. Herndon speaks with Young Tigers during the Flagler Tiger Bay Club luncheon on January 24, 2024 at Hammock Dunes Club.

An extensive career in government service, Dr. Herndon’s work has created national benchmarks that have ensured a higher standard of services for Americans living in the United States and abroad. Her international work is ongoing as Founder, President & CEO of GB Group Global, and during her presentation to members and guests of the Flagler Tiger Bay Club, she set stage for exciting new developments.

Starting with a history lesson on Africa and the unparalleled cache of natural resources being exploited by nations around the world, it was an eye-opening presentation even for those who considered themselves versed on the history.

Flagler Palm Coast High School Ebony Society Leader Patrick Wilkerson appreciated the opportunity to bring students as Young Tigers to hear directly from Dr. Herndon.

Flagler Tiger Bay Club Vice President Amelia Fulmer is joined by Flagler Palm Coast High School Ebony Society Leader Patrick Wilkerson for the January 2024 Flagler Tiger Bay Club luncheon with Dr. Gloria Bozeman Herndon at the Hammock Dunes Club.

“Awesome is the word to explain it,” said Wilkerson. “A lot of wealth of knowledge that I didn’t know. It excited me to bring the kids out so they could hear her and experience all that she had to say.”

“It’s important because that’s how we can work together as nations, as people, especially the United States, so they know where they come from and where they’re going. It’s important to know that,” he said.

The Doors of Opportunity

During her 3-day visit to Flagler County, Dr. Herndon was invited to lecture at the area’s most prominent HBCU, Bethune-Cookman University, by Dr. Kideste Yusef, a Flagler Tiger Bay Club board member, and Director of the Center for Law and Social Justice, and Department Chair of BCU’s Justice and Political Studies program.

Dr. Gloria Bozeman Herndon addresses students at Bethune-Cookman University as Dr. Kideste Yusef looks on.

Addressing the next generation of African-American leaders, Dr. Yusef found the presentation by Dr. Herndon to be a valuable teaching tool for enriching the young minds of students, instilling confidence, a sense of pride in their heritage, and mission for the future to build relationships on a global scale to create a more equitable future for all.

“To have Dr. Herndon here with our students was transformative,” said Dr. Yusef.

“For them to hear about the importance of themselves as resources to the African diaspora, understanding the connection and the responsibility that we have to the continent and all the opportunities for study abroad and internships, it’s just so powerful. I’m so excited about the connection that we’re building and all future relationships that will come,” she said.

It was during her visit that Dr. Herndon developed several new opportunities for advancement from both the educational standpoint as well as the economic development forefront.

Reaching out to one of Africa’s most advanced cities, Dr. Herndon began the process of facilitating a sister city relationship between the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire capital city of Yamoussoukro and the City of Palm Coast.

“It’s the largest producer of cashews in the world as well as cocoa. It has the largest basilica in the world, beautiful golf courses, and an incredible, world class polytechnic that is doing things all over the world. It’s a beautiful country and they will welcome you with open arms,” she said. “In addition, Côte d’Ivoire is getting ready to house the most incredible smart city in the world. I think we can all work together and ensure that collaboration benefits Palm Coast as well as the U.S.”

Dr. Herndon speaks with Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin during the Flagler Tiger Bay Club luncheon on January 24, 2024 at Hammock Dunes Club.

Building on the budding relationship between the two regions, Dr. Herndon also secured dedicated scholarship opportunities for students at Bethune-Cookman University through the USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program.

“The Payne Fellowship, which provides up to $104,000 in benefits over two years for graduate school, internships, and professional development activities, is a unique pathway to the USAID Foreign Service.   Fellows who successfully complete the Payne Program and USAID Foreign Service entry requirements will receive appointments as Foreign Service Officers with the U.S. Agency for International Development,” explained Cheri Orr, Assistant Director of the Miller Center at Bethune-Cookman University.

Additionally, students from overseas will have the opportunity to study abroad in the United States.

“Five Angolan international students have started the application process to attend Bethune-Cookman University, starting Fall 2024.  These students have been selected by the Angola PDPT Association (Association for Promotion, Development, Prosperity and Technology),” continued Orr.

Tuition will be paid in full by Angolan donors and scholarships.  An additional ten Angolan students will have the opportunity to enroll in 2025.

Dr. Gloria Bozeman Herndon addresses students at Bethune-Cookman University as Cheri Orr and Dr. Kideste Yusef stand in attendance.

“I want the students to go away understanding that they are part of a large unit called the diaspora, and that the hope for all of us in America and in Africa together rests upon their shoulders,” said Dr. Herndon after the lecture.

“We should work together as one human body for the betterment of all human good. We’re America. You don’t ask the United States to make it work. We make it work,” she said.

“I’m excited to be a part of another transformational situation. God has blessed me to know so many people and to be able to put the dots together. Let’s go forth with the lessons of the past, the realities of the present so we can create solutions for the future.”

Transforming the Future of Our Community

Dr. Herndon, a longtime friend of Flagler Tiger Bay Club President Emeritus Greg Davis, was generous with her time and talents while in the area. Davis expressed his gratitude for her desire to create additional opportunities beyond the speaking engagements while here.

“I think it’s really significant. I think first off, her education experience with regard to Africa provided a lot of new information to folks and her background with relationships. Dr. Herndon also took an additional step while here in developing opportunities specifically for Palm Coast and our strategic partner Bethune-Cookman University. She announced the availability of 13 graduate level scholarships through her relationships for folks, including internships and jobs. A student program to travel to and from Africa with availability to accommodate up to 400 students to travel to Africa for a year. We’ve initiated a discussion with the City of Palm Coast and with the mayor to have a sister city in Africa. This is just value to the community and that was before lunch yesterday,” he said, with a chuckle.

“I think it delivers not just a great speaker but tangible value to the community and opportunity for us.”

Dr. Gloria Bozeman Herndon’s appearance drew new guests to the meeting of the Flagler Tiger Bay Club in January 2024.

Since passing the torch at the Flagler Tiger Bay Club, Davis has continued to stay involved while watching progress from a member’s perspective. Davis is pleased to see the organization has maintained it’s core mission of delivering value to the membership, bringing in world class speakers, and developing the next generation of leaders.

“In business you have builders and sustainers. I’ve had the pleasure of doing both but I really like the building part. When you think about the leadership we have in place, the generational change we have in place. It’s the right type of leadership with the right board to deal with the sustaining effort and growing. I think you see it in our membership growth, program offerings, it’s the kinds of things that just warm my heart to see how the organization is progressing and how it belongs to the community now,” he said.

Dr. Gloria Bozeman Herndon’s appearance drew new guests to the meeting of the Flagler Tiger Bay Club in January 2024.