Stephen Highers is a passionate community and economic development practitioner with expertise in leadership, entrepreneurial development, financial management, and business coaching. His focus is providing economic, business, community development, and financing opportunities to entrepreneurs, businesses, and communities with a collaborative approach. Stephen is currently the Director of the Small Business Assistance Center in the Commerce Services division of the Cherokee Nation, where he manages entrepreneurial development coaching and lending programs. His team has worked to deploy over $23 million in funds to 428 small businesses, creating over 1,798 community-based jobs throughout the Cherokee Nation reservation in northeast Oklahoma.
Before joining the Cherokee Nation, Stephen worked for 7.5 years as the central field representative for U.S. Congressman Dan Boren. During this time, he worked with community and civic leaders, bringing resources and solutions to issues facing rural Oklahoma by expanding the economy and increasing the quality of life in these areas. Stephen is also active in many community organizations and currently serves as the Vice President of Lake Area United Way and Chairman on the board of directors for Neighbors Building Neighborhoods. He is a Cherokee citizen, holds an MA in Administrative Leadership from the University of Oklahoma, and is a Certified Economic Developer and an Economic Development Finance Professional. Stephen lives with his family on the Cherokee Nation reservation in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.