Founder & CEO
In 1988, Donald Northcross graduated from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Academy and was voted the most inspirational recruit by his peers. His natural leadership abilities continued to surface when he became the first President of Sacramento County’s Black Deputy Sheriff’s Association two years after joining the force.
As president of the Black Deputy Sheriff’s Association, Northcross centered his focus on taking action around the devastating impact that high rates of incarceration and homicides of young black men was having on African-American families. In 1990, his growing desire to reverse the grim statistics that young black boys faced led him to found the OK (Our Kids) Program, an innovative mentoring program that organized black men from the community to work with young black males living in Rancho Cordova, California, which at the time was one of the most violent inner city neighborhoods in Sacramento County.
In 1991, as a result of the monumental success of the OK Program, he was selected as California’s Outstanding Young Public Safety Officer of The Year. A year later, he was recognized by President George Bush as the 945th Daily Point of Light For The Nation awardee. In 1993, he received a resolution from Willie Brown, then the Speaker of the California State Assembly, for work through the OK Program, as well as the first “Community Service Award” ever given by California Governor Pete Wilson.
In 1994, the OK Program was not only credited with the increased academic performance of the OK boys, it was also credited for the monumental reduction of crime and gang violence in Rancho Cordova, where most of the OK young men resided. Northcross was named the 1994 recipient of CBS-TV/San Francisco’s Jefferson Award and the 1994 Sacramento Safe Street Hero of The Year.
A much sought after speaker and consultant, Northcross was one of numerous experts assembled in Little Rock, Arkansas, to discuss President Obama’s 2010 Fatherhood Initiative. A strong advocate of the role that black men must play in solving the problems currently plaguing the African-American community, he also served as Dean of Men at Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock.
National Executive Director
Brian Miller is an alumni of the OK Program who brings over 13 years of experience working in higher education (Student Affairs), program development, marketing, and fundraising. Prior to his appointment as the National Executive Director, Brian served as the Dean of Students at Arkansas Baptist College where he was the Chief Student Affairs Officer managing up to 13 departments during his eight years at the college. Brian worked closely with the president, college leadership, and community leaders to assist the school with a 200% enrollment increase. He was a leader in the out of state recruitment efforts which led to a $15-million-dollar increase in the schools operating budget.
Brian created several initiatives, organizations, and administered community youth programs during the past 10 years. He is an experienced grant writer, contract negotiator, and visionary who sits on several boards and committees. He believes in servant leadership and his passion to help young people is also his God given purpose.
As the Executive Director, Brian intends to expand the program to include higher education initiatives, increased corporate and organizational partnerships, and OK Program chapters throughout the country. As a 1995 graduate of the OK Program, he understands the commitment, benefits, operational processes and most importantly the need for the OK Program in our communities. He is living proof that, “EVERYONE can change with the right mentor”.
Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors
Petri Hawkins Byrd is the Bailiff on JUDGE JUDY, which has been the #1 show in daytime for seven consecutive seasons. The Emmy Award-winning program returned for its 21st season on Monday, September 12, 2016.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Hawkins Byrd (“Byrd”) received his Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 1989. During this time, Byrd worked as a court officer in the Brooklyn Family Court system. In 1986, he was transferred to the Manhattan Family Court system, where he worked on a rotating basis with all the judges, including Judge Judith Sheindlin. “I was never bored in her courtroom,” he said. “Her get-to-the-point style didn’t always sit well with the litigants, and there were times she was definitely glad to have me around.”
In 1990, Byrd relocated to San Mateo, Calif., to serve as a Special Deputy U.S. Marshall. Three years later, he accepted an offer to work as a student counselor at Monta Vista High School in Santa Clara, Calif. After reading a story about Judge Sheindlin’s new book and upcoming television show in a 1996 Liz Smith column, Byrd decided to send a letter congratulating the judge, and jokingly asked if she would be interested in having him serve at her side again. To his surprise, Judge Sheindlin returned Byrd’s letter with a phone call and offered him the job.
The move to northern California also brought him in touch with OK Program founder Donald Northcross and for the past 12 years Byrd has served on as the Co-Chair of the National OK Program. Byrd’s passion for African-American boys is evident in his service and willingness to discuss the issues facing our young men. Byrd is on a mission to change the dynamics that exist in our communities between law enforcement and black men but he’s just as passionate about black people taking responsibility for our own challenges and that is why his service to the OK Program is so important.
In addition to his work on JUDGE JUDY, Byrd has appeared numerous times on stage as a stand-up comedian and actor. He has also acted in films, television and commercials, as well as provided voiceover work for radio, television and video games. Byrd’s success has also made him a sought-after motivational speaker. In his spare time, he sings and writes music and poetry.
Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors
Major is an alumni of the OK Program who brings over 18 years of diversified management experience in business to business services companies. At the age of 19, Major graduated from the University of California at Davis and continued to overachieve, running two Inc. 500 companies and generating hundreds of millions of dollars in wealth in company exits before the age of 35.
Major got his start running a start-up division of a business to business technology and professional services company and quickly grew its revenue from $8MM to $30MM in three years. He later founded and served as the CEO of another B2B services company, growing its revenue from $0 to $46MM in eight years, and generating a 16x EBITDA exit. In his spare time, Major tends to his restaurant, which has profitably grown 2.5x in revenue over the past three years. Major has managed the acquisition and integration processes of six companies ranging from tuck-ins to the merger of comparably sized players. Perhaps most importantly, Major has mentored several executives who have gone on to run and manage their own enterprises using the processes and decision making skills that have made him successful.