Joel Harder is a dedicated scholar and seasoned professional with a diverse background in various sectors. Beginning with an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of North Texas, Joel pursued his interest in positive societal change by earning a Master’s degree in Social Work from Baylor University, with a focus on macro social work policy. His academic endeavors persisted as he attained a Doctorate of Education from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he conducted original research in the realm of e-mentoring, exploring the intricate interplay between technology and human connectedness.
Joel’s professional trajectory spanned over a decade of service in various roles within the public, private, government, and faith-based sectors, all while based in the heart of the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. He worked on both state and federal policy while serving in the Government Relations office of Y-USA. Furthermore, as the Director of Global Strategies at First Baptist Alexandria, Joel’s work extended to regions as diverse as Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, where he cultivated leadership coalitions among civic, community, and religious leaders. This rich tapestry of both domestic and international experiences progressively ignited his interest in the field of law, reinforcing his lifelong aspiration to attend law school.
In 2017, Joel made the transition to Oklahoma City, where he founded Oklahoma Capitol Culture, a nonprofit organization dedicated to pioneering innovative solutions to address the challenges of incivility and a declining public trust in the political process. His work centers on bridging divides among individuals from varied backgrounds, transcending political, economic, and cultural barriers to foster meaningful and constructive dialogue. In recognition of his contributions, Speaker Charles McCall appointed Joel as the Chaplain of the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2018.
Beyond his professional pursuits, Joel and his wife, Donelle, spend much of their time nurturing the gifts, interests, and talents of their two growing daughters, Philece (age 10) and Farrow (age 8).