Calixte was born in Haiti and came to the United States in 1989 when he was eight years old. He grew up in Brooklyn, graduated with a Bachelor's and a Master's from the State University of New York at Albany, and now lives in Jamaica, Queens.
He began working for the Queens Economic Development Corporation in July of 2006. As the corporation's director of neighborhood economic development, Calixte works with the city Department of Small Business Services.
“As manager of the program,” Calixte said, “I work a lot with the local business owners, the property owners and other community stakeholders to identify what the different concerns are.”
He is also helping to form several merchant organizations in Corona, Richmond Hill, and other surrounding areas in Queens.
“We look for ways to develop strategic plans to identify solutions,” he said.
Calixte also works with neighborhood groups, community boards and electeds “to help bring resources to underserved neighborhoods,” he said.
For example, Calixte said part of his job is to find vacant lots and to work with investors and stakeholders to bring small businesses in to utilize the property.
“I love the fact that we can see the progress that is being made,” he said.
However, Calixte said his favorite part of the job is experiencing the cultural diversity that Queens has to offer.
“I'm not [living] in the neighborhood so I get to meet a lot of people, and speaking to them I learn about their cultures, their traditions, their views,” he said. “It's really beneficial to my personal growth and it really contributes to my enjoyment of the job.”