Bailey Walker spent his childhood enjoying many customs of his Native American culture like stomp dancing and playing stickball with family and friends at his grandparents' home in Ada, the heart of Chickasaw Nation. By the time the would-be entrepreneur was ready for college he knew what his goals were and that he didn’t want to stray too far from home to accomplish them.
“East Central University was an easy choice for me,” Walker said. “It offered the same kind of small community feel I was familiar with and it was close to home. I knew I didn’t have to move across the state to get the degree and education I wanted.”
Walker studied entrepreneurship at ECU and took every accounting, finance and business class available along the way to earning his degree. The self-proclaimed math fanatic would often ask his academic advisor if he could take business classes in lieu of electives. Walker was an active member of ECU’s Native American Student Association and the organization is where he fostered lifelong friendships. More than anything, Walker said, ECU taught him the importance of establishing good relationships and the positive impact those relationships can have on lives and communities.
Equipped with a passion for numbers, a devotion to his Native American heritage, an entrepreneurial spirit and a first-class education, Walker was eager to make a difference in Oklahoma after graduating at the top of his class from ECU in 2012.
He started his career as an intern for the Chickasaw Nations Commerce Division and continues to represent the nation today as president of Oklahoma’s American Indian Chamber of Commerce. He is also exceptionally proud of the work he does as the Tribal Relations Director for Tribal Diagnostics, a Native American owned and operated diagnostics laboratory committed to providing quality and affordable health screenings for all Oklahomans.
“We’re committed to serving Native Americans and other underserved communities, but we are here for the betterment of everyone,” Walker said. “Considering the rising costs of healthcare and the way Native peoples health compares to the health seen in other demographics across the country, I think this is a much-needed service and I am proud to be a part of it.”
Since the lab’s inception in 2016, Tribal Diagnostics has performed more than three-million-tests, screening for everything from rare cancers, autoimmune disorders and irregular hormone levels to diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and improper adrenal functions. The cost for screenings start at just five dollars out-of-pocket.
It’s work that Walker can be proud of and it’s not lost on him that the relationship building skills he gained in college are now being utilized to improve, and even save, people's lives.
"My journey started at ECU,” he said. “I would recommend the school to anyone.”