Dennis Kennedy has an unwavering passion for people and works to ensure that all individuals receive equal opportunities in the workplace regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, physical or mental handicap, physique, gender identity or sexual orientation. In 2004, Mr. Kennedy walked away from his job to start the Texas Diversity Council, www.texasdiversitycouncil.org. He saw a very strong need to create an organization that would champion Diversity & Inclusion across the state. Four years later, Mr. Kennedy found himself launching the National Diversity Council (NDC) for the exact same reasons he started the state council. Currently, the NDC is made up of 11 state and regional Councils: California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Tri-State (NY, NJ & CT). His vision is to have state and regional diversity councils in all 50 states. Along with the state councils, Mr. Kennedy has launched several state wide conferences focused on diversity, leadership and women. Currently there are conferences taking place in the following states: California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Connecticut, Virginia and Washington. The link to the diversity/leadership conferences is www.nationaldiversityconference.com. Moreover, Mr. Kennedy has launched two additional national organizations in 2011 including National Womenâ€™s Council, (www.nationalwomenscouncil.org) which focuses on advocacy for women and the Council for Corporate Responsibility, (www.uscorporateresponsibility.org) which seeks to educate organizations on best practices in social responsibility. In addition, Mr. Kennedy is the Founder & Publisher of DiversityFIRSTâ„¢ Publishing which is currently made up of two state magazines: California (www.californiadiversitymagazine.org) and Texas (www.texasdiversitymagazine.org). Also under the auspices of DiversityFIRST Publishing is the DiversityFIRST Newsletter which is published in 11 states including: California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Tri-State (NY, NJ & CT). Furthermore, Mr. Kennedy spent several years as a college professor in the business schools at the following universities: University of Houston Downtown, Texas Southern University and University of Texas at San Antonio. Some of the courses he taught included: Business Statistics, Economics, HR Management, Compensation Management and Diversity Management. He also spent 5 years working in a corporate environment in the field of Human Resources. Mr. Kennedy is currently working on his book titled, CreatingYourSignificanceâ„¢, which is a unique self-marketing strategy that will allow you to create a successful personal brand. The book is slated for publishing on January 2nd, 2013. Mr. Kennedy graduated from the University of Houston Main Campus (UofH) with undergraduate degrees in economics, business management, political science and physical education; he also earned a MBA from University of Houston Main Campus as well. In addition, he was a scholarship athlete for football.
Dr. Cornel West is the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Chair at Union Theological Seminary. Dr. West teaches on the works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as well as courses in Philosophy of Religion, African American Critical Thought, and a wide range of subjects -- including but by no means limited to, the classics, philosophy, politics, cultural theory, literature, and music. He has a passion to communicate to a vast variety of publics in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. – a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice. Dr. West is the former Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. Cornel West graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton. He has written 20 books and has edited 13. He is best known for his classics, Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and for his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. His most recent book, Black Prophetic Fire, offers an unflinching look at nineteenth and twentieth-century African American leaders and their visionary legacies. Within the past year, Dr. West has partnered with MasterClass to provide teachings on several courses such as his class with Pharrell Williams on Empathy, his multi-instructor class on Black History, Black Freedom & Black Love, and his standalone class on Philosophy. Visit www.cornelwest.com to learn more.
Jason Allen’s insurance career began with The Auto Club Group(AAA/ACG) in 2003. His tenure with the organization has afforded him opportunities to acquire vast insurance expertise and experience. His work has included various positions from first notice of loss, auto and property claims adjusting, and claims leadership. Jason’s industry persistence and service excellence have also yielded various opportunities to lead at ACG. In his current role as Regional Claims Manager, he leads the operational oversight of catastrophe claims in 11 states spanning from the Midwest to the southern coast. He is charged with the management of the Home and Auto Catastrophe program which includes; the scaling of staff, initial responses to large water, wind, and hail losses, agent relationships, staff training, and customer service initiatives. Jason enjoys studying various insurance ideas, presenting on various insurance topics, and representing the organization to ensure fair resolution of all claims. In his spare time, Jason enjoys investing, coaching, and playing basketball, participating with social and civic organizations (BBBS), and most importantly spending time with his family. Jason has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Wayne State University, Master of Business Administration from Lawrence Technology University, National African American Insurance Association – Detroit Leader, ACG Employee Resource Group Leader – Diverse Abilities, and is a graduate of Leadership Detroit 41.
Dr. Bennett serves as Michigan State University’s (MSU) vice president and chief diversity officer where he reports directly to the president and is a member of the executive leadership team. In this role, he partners with other senior leaders, deans, faculty, staff, students, and alumni to advance the institution’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic priorities. Dr. Bennett is also a professor of medicine in the College of Human Medicine at MSU. Prior to joining MSU, Dr. Bennett served as the inaugural associate provost for diversity and inclusion, and chief diversity officer at Northwestern University. Previously, he worked as associate dean of the Graduate School, and associate dean for diversity in the Division of Biology and Medicine at Brown University. In addition, Dr. Bennett held administrative appointments at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, United Way of Massachusetts Bay, and Merrimack Valley. He has also served on the faculty at Harvard, Brown, and Northwestern. Dr. Bennett received a BS in biology and a minor in Spanish from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and earned a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from Meharry Medical College. Dr. Bennett completed postdoctoral research training in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School and is an alumnus of the Harvard University Administrative Fellows Program and Massachusetts Education Policy Fellowship Program.
Nate Bennett III is responsible for leading the company’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion office. This office has been established to drive key diversity initiatives throughout the bank. Mr. Bennett joined Comerica in 2009 as the Vice President, Texas Market Staffing Manager. He was named Senior Vice President, Talent Acquisition Director in 2010. In mid-2016, he was named the Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Vice President, Head of Talent Acquisition. In 2022 Nate began to focus solely on leading Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategies throughout the bank. Before joining Comerica, he worked for several Fortune 500 companies in various roles in Talent Acquisition all in two major industries; Consumer Retail and Financial Services. Prior to joining Comerica Bank, he led Talent Acquisition Services for a 17,000-employee division at Bank of America. His 20+ years of experience in Human Resources Talent Acquisition covers the areas from executive recruitment through global recruitment where he spent time in Seoul, Korea leading various recruitment efforts for Walmart Stores. Mr. Bennett holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Rice University. Among his professional and community affiliations, he serves as a member of the National Diversity Council Board of Directors, board member of Mi Escuelita Pre-Schools. At Rice University, Mr. Bennett was a four-year varsity letterman in football where he went on to earn All Southwest Conference 1st Team Honors. Additionally, he also serves as the founder and President of the Junior Broncos Organization which is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to young student athletes.
Knox W. Cameron is currently Director for DTE’s Renewable Solutions organization, where he has end-to-end responsibilities for MIGreenPower, the second largest voluntary wind and solar utility program in the country. During his 13-plus year career at the company, he has served in a variety of roles including Sales, Marketing, Operations Project Management. Cameron is an industry leader with considerable experience designing, launching, and managing utility programs. Cameron’s professional affiliations include serving as the Vice-Chair of AESP's Board of Directors, along with serving on the American Wind Energy of America’s DE&I Task Force. He has also chaired DTE’s employee resource group for African-American employees. Cameron was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. He currently resides in Ann Arbor, MI. with his son Drew. Cameron has a passion for soccer, playing the sport both on the collegiate level and as a professional with the Columbus Crew. Cameron has an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and is currently pursuing an MBA at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.
Donnell started his career with Aerotek in 2002 in Detroit, MI. as an On-Premise Manager where he managed a very diverse workforce as large as 1100 contract employees. His expertise in this capacity was recognized and he joined the implementation team in May 2004 as an Implementation Specialist. In 2008 Donnell was promoted to National Implementation Project Manager and his responsibilities include launching on-premise office operations, initial contractor employee fulfillment, designing and installation of time and attendance systems, development of customized recruiting and retention strategies, facilitation of contractor employee transition programs and establishment of best practices. He has launched over 45 large national accounts in Aerotek’s portfolio in U.S. and Canada. In 2013 Donnell was promoted to Vendor On-Premise Operations Manager for the Midwest and Canada regions. In 2019 Donnell became the Vendor On-Premise Business Development Manager for the Central region. He was promoted to Head of DE& I for Aston Carter in November 2020. He is responsible for ensuring their DE&I strategy is executed and most importantly, impactful. To do this, he partners closely with executive leadership, HR and employee experience, DE&I council, and Leadership & Legacy Summit attendees, as well as various other groups and individuals in and outside the company. Donnell’s experience, knowledge, relationships and passion are valuable as he works to help build a special company where EVERYONE is accepted, valued, equal and therefore inspired and empowered to be a positive change agent throughout our communities.
Dr. Rubin Cockrell is an Award-Winning International Speaker, Author, Social Entrepreneur and Retired Professor. Dr. Cockrell also serves as CEO of Positive Images & Associates LLC, a global consulting firm that has specialized in educational leadership, empowerment, and management consulting for clients in over forty-five plus countries around the world. In his role with the Nashville, TN-based company Dr. Cockrell trains global business leaders, students, government entities and civic groups to implement tools for achieving excellence and quality productivity within their personal life and their organization across the world. Dr. Rubin Cockrell is also Certified in Life, Executive Leadership, and Disaster Recovery Coaching. Dr. Cockrell went from being on the verge of being locked up for 15 to 20 years’ federal time for illegal activities at the age of twenty to having four degrees, Dean of a University and starting a global consulting company by the age of 26. Dr. Cockrell prides himself in the ability to collaborate with people from “street to the elite” and the “classroom to the boardroom.” Dr. Cockrell graduated from Fisk University in Nashville, TN with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business, with an emphasis on Finance and Management. He then continued to receive a master’s in educational administration (M. Ed) in Educational Administration from Tennessee State University. Dr. Cockrell received the distinguished Southern Regional Educational Board Doctoral Scholars Fellowship. Dr. Cockrell made history at Tennessee State University receiving his doctorate degree in two in half years. Dr. Cockrell also received a certification in leadership management in a partnership between Harvard and Strayer while serving as Dean at Strayer University.
Rodney Cole is vice president of the DTE Energy Foundation and director of the community of engagement. Cole was appointed to these roles in 2021 and is responsible for leading the DTE Foundation’s operations and grant strategies. He also leads the teams responsible for strengthening neighborhoods – and managing relationships – within the communities where DTE’s 10,000-plus employees live and serve. During his 15-year career at DTE Energy, Cole has held leadership positions in business units across the enterprise – including his previous role as director, state government affairs. In this role, Cole led a highly active and visible team that spearheads state legislative activities and manages relationships with state legislators and the governor’s administration; he also led efforts to strengthen relationships with Michigan's public sector leaders. Cole began his career at DTE in human resources, supporting numerous business units while learning the depth and breadth of the organization’s strategic priorities and efforts. In addition to his role at DTE, Cole serves on the boards of directors for the American Association for Blacks in Energy (Michigan), Black Caucus Foundation of Michigan, Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation, Connect Detroit, Midnight Golf, and Wayne State University Press Board of Visitors. He also serves as a member of Teen Hype’s advisory board. Cole is a graduate of Leadership Detroit Class XXXV and the 2018 cohort of Harvard University’s Young American Leaders Program (YALP). He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Michigan State University.
Carlos Cubia is Senior Vice President and Global Chief Diversity Officer for WBA. Since joining the company in 2017, Cubia has been instrumental in advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at the center of all that we do. Among his achievements are launching the first global WBA Diversity & Inclusion Report; the formation of our Global Inclusion Council; the addition of our new corporate value of inclusion; and the linking of a portion of incentive pay to performance on our DEI goals. He has partnered closely with the divisions and functions of WBA as a champion for the racial equity movement and for affordable, accessible health care for all, regardless of post or zip code. Prior to joining WBA, Cubia served as Vice President, Sales and Account Management at Aetna, Vice President and Global Chief Diversity Officer at Covidien, a medical devices company, and also held VP level positions for Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Safeco Insurance where among other things he was responsible for driving the diversity agenda. Black Enterprise recognized Cubia as a “Top Corporate Diversity Executive” in 2018, and Career Mastered magazine honored him with a “Men as Allies Diversity in Leadership” award.
Dwan Dandridge is a husband, a father, and Co-Founder and CEO of Black Leaders Detroit (BLD). As a lifelong Detroiter, his leadership skills have been shaped by a wide range of experiences, including grassroots activism, running a small business, and serving as a union representative with the UAW. He is the former VP of Life Remodeled, where he managed the largest volunteer effort in the state of Michigan. Dwan is passionate about creating blueprints to share power. He has a unique ability to define and quantify the value of people that come to the table with nontraditional skills. Dwan views the disparities in access to capital from many angles and is focused on creating equitable solutions. Since launching in 2019, he has led BLD in providing financial support to over 150 Black-owned businesses and nonprofits, totaling over $500,000.
Andre Ebron is a transformational leader, passionate educator, certified diversity executive, organizer and effector of change focused on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion through his work in the southeastern Michigan community. He currently serves as the Senior Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Elder at Kainos International Church, as well as the owner and founder of Ebron & Associates and The Drawing Board Nation. Most recently, Andre was named as a community champion by The Soul of Philanthropy Michigan, and he is featured in the exhibit at The Detroit Historical Museum. He is also an honoree of the Michigan Chronicle’s class of 2022 40 under 40, recognizing his vast accomplishments and contributions to the community as a professional. Andre and his wife of nearly 20 years, Shalessa, are parents to two amazing children: daughter Christian Ebron, and son Andre Ebron II. He is also proud to call himself a duly initiated brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
Brad Fain is the VP of Ticket Sales & Service for the Detroit Pistons.. Since joining the Pistons in July of 2021, Fain’s impact has been dramatic as he has overseen company record ticket sales. The jump in new season plan sales coupled with individual ticket sales has been the biggest increase year over year since the inaugural season at Little Caesars Arena. Fain has also led the organization to record sell-through on courtside sales for the 2021-2022 season in addition to adding innovative new product offerings. Prior to the Pistons, Fain spent three seasons with the Brooklyn Nets, overseeing the day-to-day ticket sales for the team during an era that saw the highest attended and highest grossing games in franchise history. That Brooklyn Nets ticket sales team was #1 in gate receipts for the 2020-21 NBA season and #2 in new seats and revenue for the 2019-2020 NBA season. Fain’s career has also included positions with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, and Harris Sports Blitzer & Entertainment. During his time with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brad was the #1 group sales representative in the National Football League, selling more group tickets than any other individual. Additionally, Fain is the co-founder of the Black Affinity Council for Ohio University’s Sports Administration department. In 2019, Fain was named to the inaugural Sports Business Journal “New Voices Under 30”, and in 2021, to the 2022 Class of Forbes “30 under 30”, both lists highlighting 30 executives who have seen great accomplishments before turning 30. In 2022, he was also named to the Board of Directors for the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. Originally from Springfield, Ohio, Brad earned his degree in Sports Management from Ohio University. He also played football as an offensive lineman for the Bobcats. Currently, he resides in Royal Oak, Michigan with his wife, Julie, and dogs, Duey and Yama.
As president of Aston Carter, Stuart Ferguson focuses on reinvigorating a strong team culture, staying at the forefront of marketplace trends, and steering investments in infrastructure and professional development. A Navy veteran, Stuart began his civilian career with Aerotek, Aston Carter’s sister company, as a technical recruiter in 1996. He held various sales and operational roles, including 10 years as a director of business operations in field offices, the heart of Aerotek’s operations. A strong believer in building a legacy, Stuart helped promote 13 people into director roles. Aston Carter’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are a core priority for Stuart. He strives to support access and opportunity for diverse talent and strengthen inclusive workplace culture.
Kevin Fischer is the Executive Director of NAMI Michigan. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. A retired businessman, Kevin joined NAMI as a volunteer in 2011 after his oldest son Dominique was diagnosed with a mental illness in late 2007 and was lost to suicide in 2010. After serving on the NAMI Michigan Board of Directors as the NAMIWalks Chairperson for two years, and as Board Vice-President for two years, Kevin accepted the role of Executive Director in 2014. A mental health and suicide prevention advocate, Kevin is the Founder and Director of The Dominique Fischer Memorial Foundation and CEO of EVERYBODY -VS- STIGMA.com, is President of Crisis Intervention Team International (CITI), Governor Whitmer’s Suicide Prevention Commission, the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) Mental Health Diversion Council and Behavioral Health Advisory Council (BHAC), Disability Rights Michigan’s (DRM) Protection & Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Advisory Board, and. Quoted as saying “this is his last job; his last fight,” Kevin is dedicated to eliminating the stigma of mental illness, which he considers the leading barrier to the early diagnoses and treatment, which leads to better outcomes for all.
Rodney Freeman has worked in academic, public, and government libraries for over ten years and has worked in multiple positions, from a library page to a library administrator. He has led numerous special projects, from library renovation to strategic planning. In addition, he has led several digital library projects and has been a strong advocate of diverse digital collections. Driven with passion, Rodney Freeman started Preservation LLC to help people preserve and convert their photos and documents into a digital format. Along with starting his company in 2018, Rodney developed a platform called The Black Male Archives, where the objective is to capture, curate, and promote positive stories about Black men to combat the negative images portrayed in the media.
After 15 years with Wayne State University, Victor Green returns to KDPS as the Assistant Chief overseeing the Office of Community Affairs – Community Police Officers (CPO’s), Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Professional Standards. During his tenure at Wayne State University, Assistant Chief Green was the Director of Community Relations with more than 25 years of government and community affairs experience. Assistant Chief Green was one of the leading university administrators working to create, build and sustain partnerships throughout the Metropolitan Detroit area. Assistant Chief Green also lectures in the Labor Studies Department at WSU and at the Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC), Police and Corrections Academies on the subjects of Diversity & Inclusion, Ethics and Communications. Assistant Chief Green has conducted numerous trainings throughout the state of Michigan in the public and private sectors. Prior to his current position, Green’s career included working as Staff Assistant for two members of Congress – former Congressman Howard Wolpe, D-Mich. and Congressman Fred Upton, R-Mich. – where he specialized in immigration issues and community outreach. After his tenure with the U.S. House of Representatives, Assistant Chief Green served at KDPS from 1996 through 2005 as a Public Safety Officer (PSO), FTO, Tactical Response Unit, SWAT negotiator, and rose to the rank of Inspector of Office of Professional Standards and Community Relations. Assistant Chief Green is a native of Detroit and a graduate of Renaissance High School. He earned a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Western Michigan University. He received his Certified Diversity Professional (CDP) designation from the National Diversity Council. Assistant Chief Green and his wife, Alysia, have a son, Matthew, who is also currently in training to be a Federal Law Enforcement Officer.
Implementing no-nonsense Ancient African principles towards the pursuit of economic freedom, DR. KENNETH L. HARRIS has spent his distinguished career fervently advocating for Black and indigenous businesses all around the world. An economist, international scholar, and revered Black business historian, he assumed leadership of the National Business League in 2017, then proceeded to cast a $20 million lifeline of capital support to Black-owned businesses disrupted by the catastrophic Covid-19 pandemic. Years prior in 2005, he launched the International Detroit Black Expo, Inc., an acclaimed annual showcase that hosted more than 1,000 Black exhibitors from around the globe, reaching 300,000 consumers. As founder, president, and CEO of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Harris built one of the largest Black chambers in the nation with more than 36,200 members state-wide. He was also elected to the Detroit Charter Commission by 40,149 votes in a highly contested citywide race featuring 54 candidates in the city of Detroit. Dr. Harris holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Counseling/Clinical Psychology from Georgia’s Clark Atlanta University. He received his Doctor of Humane Letters from Detroit's Lewis College of Business, in addition to an Educational Specialist (EDS) degree from Wayne State University. He earned a dual Ph.D. at Michigan State University in African American and African Studies and Economics with a specialization in Business and Entrepreneurship from the Eli Broad School of Business. Dr. Harris is the 12th National President/CEO of the National Business League, the country’s first and largest trade association for Black businesses and professionals, founded by Black business legend Booker T. Washington in 1900, supporting 120,000+ members nationwide, with 125+ Fortune 500 corporate partners and manages local city chapters throughout all 50 states and internationally. The National Business League is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with Regional Offices in Atlanta, GA, Detroit, MI, and Los Angeles, CA.
Russell Harris Jr. is a Chicago, IL native and the first male to graduate from College in his family. In College, Russell was a 3X All American in Track & Field and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Fitness Management. Russell went on to earn his Master’s Degree in Organizational Management and Leadership from Ashford University- Forbes School of Business. In 2013 Russell studied business at Stanford University then education in 2015 at Harvard University, GSE – Principal’s Center. At the age of 25 Russell became a High School principal at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy - Detroit, where under Russell’s leadership, over 98% of all senior classes graduated and gained acceptance to post-secondary opportunities, making the academy a top open-enrollment charter school in the city of Detroit. In 2018 Russell was elected Chair of the Board of Directors for Black Male Educators Alliance, a nonprofit focused on the development and retention of black male educators. Russell founded a company providing consulting support to national nonprofit organizations, where, during the pandemic, he helped launch virtual and in-person Boys and Girls Clubs across metro Detroit. In 2021 Russell became the CEO at Soar Detroit, a nonprofit focused on curbing illiteracy rates among 2nd and 3rd graders in the city of Detroit. Russell also serves as an engineer in the Army National Guard. Russell and his wife welcomed their first child, Kyndelle Belle, in 2021 as well. Russell loves serving the community and mentoring young men. He is currently in the process of launching a public charter, an all-boys boarding school in Flint, MI
Michael Harrison is a passionate brother who uses his professional experiences and strategic thinking to deliver efficient practices for organizations and communities. While conceptualizing activities that address and solve problems, his focus is on delivering timely solutions to adaptive challenges that move work forward. With a passion for ensuring equitable processes and addressing some of the community's biggest challenges, Michael aims to have an impact on improving life for Black Males. Currently, he is the Executive Director of The Kalamazoo Black Male Alliance, which strives to connect all generations of Black males to a well-coordinated system that enhances their capacity to heal relationships that advance solutions to community, personal and professional challenges. He has an MPA from Clark Atlanta University's prestigious Public Administration department and a BA in Psychology from Wilberforce University. In his everyday life Michael is a community and social justice advocate,
Ashton Henderson, a four-year letter-winner for Spartan football (2006-09), returns to Michigan State as Executive Associate Athletics Director for Championship Resources, MSU Vice President and Director of Athletics Alan Haller announced on Feb. 18, 2022. Henderson will begin his appointment on Feb. 28. In this new role, Henderson will oversee student-facing areas associated with health, mental and physical wellness, and student-athlete engagement. He will also work closely with various campus partners in those areas to collaboratively create opportunities and build connections to further enhance the development of student-athletes that extends beyond their time at MSU. He will also work with assigned sports in a sports supervisor role. “A former student-athlete himself, Ashton has dedicated his professional life to the development of student-athletes,” said Haller. “Not only does he bring tremendous work experience and connections across college athletics, but he also has a national reputation for being an individual who cares about all aspects of the student-athlete experience. It’s great to be able to bring another Spartan back home to help support and develop our current student-athletes.” Henderson returns to East Lansing from the Detroit Pistons, where he served as the Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion since February 2021. He was the first individual to hold the position and transformed the way DEI practices were implemented throughout the organization. In 2021, Henderson was named DEI Champion by the Sports Inclusion Conference. Before his work in the NBA, Henderson developed a long track record of student-athlete development at the collegiate level, including stops at Florida State (twice) and Clemson, after getting his start at Michigan State.“Michigan State Athletics is one of the premier athletic departments in the country, and I am excited to join forces with my colleagues and sit on the Executive Team to continue to enhance our mission and guiding principles,” said Henderson. “It is a dream come true to join the place that has given me so much over time, and I am elated to serve the student-athletes, coaches, and stakeholders, and enhance the athletic department’s ideals with my colleagues. I bleed green through and through, and this is one of the most monumental days in my professional career.” Henderson served as an Academic Program Specialist at Florida State University (2012-13), where he worked with the football and track and field programs. After his stint at Florida State, Henderson was promoted to Associate Director of Football Academic Services at Clemson University (2013-16). During this timeframe, Henderson also served as the Chair of the National Association for Academic and Student-Athlete Development Professionals’ (N4A) Ethnic Concerns Committee. In 2016, Henderson rejoined Florida State University as a Senior Academic Advisor and Seminole Leadership Program Coordinator (2016-21). Henderson transformed the Seminole Leadership Program into a one-credit course that has since morphed into a two-credit course. All freshman student-athletes have been encouraged to take this course, which provides an infrastructure to build culture, enhance personal brand development, and ensure character development is at the focal point of the developmental process. In 2018, Henderson was promoted to Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development & Leadership. He also served as the sports administrator for track and field and cross country and had secondary oversight for football. In 2019, Henderson was named Chief Inclusion Officer for the athletic department, while also serving on the President’s Council for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (2017-20). Henderson partnered with the Florida State College of Business to launch a “Professional Development” course for juniors and seniors to prepare them for life beyond college athletics. With Name, Image, and Likeness on the horizon, Henderson prioritized a plan to supplement education and prepare young people to learn more about taxes and maximize their brand. He chaired the NIL taskforce (APEX) at Florida State, which remains in place today. His commitment to student-athletes extends beyond his place of employment as he is a valued leader on the national level. He is the President of the N4A, which is the largest affiliate group under the NACDA umbrella with over 2,000 plus members. Henderson also has won several Association (N4A) awards over the years: Professional Excellence (2020); Model Practice Award - Florida State University (LYFE Program, 2019); and the Professional Promise Award (2015). He is also the recipient of the Cheryl M. Gilliam Young Alumni Award in 2019 presented by the MSU Varsity "S" Club. Henderson’s professional career began as a graduate assistant in Michigan State’s Student-Athlete Support Services. As a student-athlete on the football team, Henderson saw action as both a defensive back and on special teams. In his freshman season (2006), he returned a blocked punt 33 yards for a touchdown vs. Northwestern to help fuel the greatest comeback in NCAA Division I-A history as the Spartans rallied from a 35-point deficit for a 41-38 victory. Henderson holds two degrees from Michigan State; a bachelor’s degree in advertising (2010) and a master’s degree in public relations (2012). He completed his Master of Business Administration at Florida State in 2019.
Dr. James Holly, Jr. is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and core faculty member within the Engineering Education Research program at the University of Michigan. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Tuskegee University and a master’s degree from Michigan State University, both in Mechanical Engineering. He earned his doctorate in Engineering Education from Purdue University. His research paradigm is shaped by his experiences growing up in a Black church within a Black city and later studying engineering at Tuskegee University, a Black institution, three spaces where Blackness is both normal and esteemed. As such, he sees his teaching, research, and service as promoting pro-Blackness—affirming the humanity and epistemic authority of Black people—in engineering education. His scholarship focuses on the ways disciplinary knowledge (i.e., mechanical engineering) reinforces racialized power, the role of culture and cognition in teaching and learning, and preparing pre-college engineering educators to identify and counteract racial inequity. He helped create the Equity, Culture, and Social Justice in Education Division within the American Society of Engineering Education, and serves on the Editorial Board for both the Journal of Engineering Education and the Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research.
ANTOINE D. JACKSON is a minister, strategist, facilitator, and social innovator with 15 years of nonprofit experience leveraging business, community, and philanthropic resources to affect change and impact the lives of youth and families. In his professional role, he serves as Executive Director of MACC Development, a Christian community development corporation serving Detroit's 48214 on the lower east side. A carrier of the entrepreneurial spirit, he founded a small graphic design and consulting firm helping authors, churches, and businesses with publishing, branding, and design needs. Jackson is an acclaimed author of six books. His most recent title, Distorted Reality, reached number one new release status on Amazon’s listing. His work has taken him to Washington, D.C., Chicago, Western New York, and the continent of Europe. He is a graduate of the University of Phoenix, where he studied business administration. He has been named Young Entrepreneur of the Year, a Michigan Chronicle 40 Under 40, Church of God in Christ Achiever 20 Under 40, and recipient of the University of Phoenix Spirit of Service award. He serves his local church as Associate Elder, where he gives leadership to youth and outreach ministry. He is husband to Kassandra and a doting father to Madison, a native of and resides in Detroit, Michigan.
Kenneth L. Johnson is a distinguished Diversity Recruiter and Career Services professional. He drives business results for clients through creative sourcing strategies and global diversity recruiting programs as Founder & President of the premier Diversity Recruitment Firm, East Coast Executives. With an esteemed roster of clients and partnerships, his dedication to innovative talent- acquisition strategies and diverse candidates makes Kenneth a highly sought-after strategic business partner and consultant. Kenneth was selected by Black Enterprise Magazine as a BE Modern Man and Forbes Media as a Forbes Career Coach and Council Member. Mr. Johnson is a TEDx Speaker, Organizer of TEDxHarlem, Google OnAir Career Workshop Facilitator, Indeed Job Cast Instructor and serves as Host of The National Urban League Jobs Network Digital Career Success Series. Kenneth is Developer of blkbox.tech an App designed to support the careers of Black Men.
In his current role, Kirkham oversees all brand and marketing strategies for the Detroit Pistons – this includes influencer and cultural marketing, game presentation, events, social media, merchandising and more. Each department Tyrel oversees shares a common goal of amplifying the Pistons brand position. Since joining the Pistons, the organization has worked on authentic campaigns and activations all anchored in strengthening the team’s connection with culture and community. Prior to joining the Pistons, Kirkham spent two years with the Los Angeles Rams as VP & GM of Merchandising, playing a crucial role during the team’s rebrand and integration into the city of Los Angeles following the franchise’s move from Saint Louis. Before his time with the Rams, Kirkham spent six years with the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center as VP, Global Merchandising. Earlier in his career, Kirkham was with the New York Mets for eight years as a key member of their Venue Services department. A 2005 graduate of the State University of New York at Cortland, Kirkham received his bachelor’s degree in Sport and Fitness Administration/Management. Kirkham remains involved with SUNY Cortland, serving on the school’s Sport Management advisory board. Additionally, Kirkham is a member of the development team for the National Society of Black Sports Professionals - Detroit Chapter and recently joined the board of GIVE MERIT, a Detroit-based nonprofit that provides resources and opportunities for underserved youth. Kirkham resides in Farmington Hills, Michigan with his wife, Adar and their French bulldog, Jesse Jac.
Trevor F. Lauer is president and chief operating officer for DTE Electric, an electric utility serving 2.3 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a subsidiary of DTE Energy. Lauer joined DTE Energy in 2005. Prior to his current position, Lauer was senior vice president of distribution operations. Prior to joining DTE Energy, Lauer was an executive vice president at Pittsburgh-based Strategic Energy LLC, a nationwide energy supplier. He also worked in a variety of leadership and general management positions at Honeywell, Inc. in the Washington, D.C. area. Lauer earned a bachelor of science degree in mineral economics from Pennsylvania State University and a master of business administration degree from the University of Maryland. He is a 2006 graduate of Leadership Michigan. In 2019, Lauer completed the MIT Nuclear Reactor Technology Course. Lauer is active in the community and serves on several boards. He is a member of the Executive Committee for the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and a trustee for the Cranbrook Educational Community and the board chair of the Cranbrook Institute of Science. He is also a board member for the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit and Ann Arbor SPARK.
Phil joined AAA Auto Club Group (ACG) in August of 2007 as Vice President of Marketing. In his current Vice President of Brand and Communications role, he provides leadership for marketing operations, internal and external brand management and creative development, mass media planning and buying, sports and regional marketing management, and loyalty marketing program management which includes Attractions and Discounts and Rewards marketing. Prior to joining ACG, Phil was the Vice President of Marketing and subsequently the Vice President of Membership and Card Services at SAM’S CLUB. He also worked for Walt Disney, Inc. as Brand Manager for Downtown Disney, Pleasure Island, and Associate Brand Manager for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Prior to Disney, he worked for Barnett Bank, Inc. as Assistant Vice President/Loan Officer, and IBM as a Marketing Representative in Orlando, Fl. Phil received an undergraduate Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Florida A. & M. and a Masters Degree in Business Administration in Marketing & Finance from Florida A. & M. Phil is a Director on the boards of Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay and Tampa Bay Boys and Girls Club. He and his wife, Lori, have four children – Nicholas, Morgan, Christina and Philip.
Jay B. Marks, Ph.D. is a widely-respected educator who has been in education since 1991, when he began his career as a Special Education Teacher at Northern High School in the Detroit Public School System. During his career, he has served as a classroom teacher for 17 years with both Detroit and Southfield Public School Systems, as well as an educational consultant on the national level. Currently, Dr. Marks is a Diversity and Equity Consultant with Oakland Schools (the Intermediate School District in Oakland County, Michigan) where he serves and supports the professional development needs of the 28 school districts within Oakland County. He is highly sought after for his work in the area of equity-focused on Anti-Racism, Social Justice, Cultural Competence, Courageous Conversations about Race, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Educating African American Males, and Student Engagement. In addition to his professional work in the field of education, he has been mentoring youth since 1989 and has started several mentoring programs in the Metropolitan Detroit Area as a result of his experiences. His academic credentials include a B.S. degree from Western Michigan University (1990), M.A. degree from the University of Detroit Mercy (1995), and an Ed. Specialist Certificate (1997) and Ph.D. (2005) in Curriculum and Instruction both from Wayne State University. As a graduate student, Dr. Marks studied abroad at Oxford University in Oxford, England as a student in their British Studies Program. Dr. Marks is an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and the proud father of two beautiful daughters, Amari (19) and Jalia (16).
Ken Mathies currently serves as the Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for The Auto Club Group - Automobile Association of America (AAA). Ken is a certified diversity professional (CDP) and has over 25 years of leadership experience within information technology organizations, business, marketing and legal operations. In his current capacity, Ken leads The Auto Club Group (AAA) Office of Diversity & Inclusion organization and works collaboratively with executive leadership, business lines, employees, members and the many communities served to promote a culture that advocates diversity and inclusiveness. Ken is a Business Administration major (TSU) with certifications in enterprise technologies, law of information security, data forensic Investigations, multiple business management platforms and is a certified diversity professional. (CDP) Ken has held a number of leadership roles for The Auto Club Group (AAA) including; Manager Technology Deployment, Director of Enterprise Technology Support & Implementation, Director of Service Desk Operations & Security Administration, Director of General Counsel Legal Operations and AVP, Office of D&I. Ken was the recipient of the MIDC 2018 Diversity Leadership Award, 2020 Corp Magazine Diversity Leader Award and named to the Top 100 Chief Diversity Officers list by the NDC in 2021. Ken serves on the Board of Directors for an Ohio based Information Technology Corporation and also serves on the Board of Directors for the Michigan Diversity Council.
Kirk Mayes is the CEO of Forgotten Harvest, one of Michigan's top Non-profit organizations and one of the Nation's premiere food rescue organizations. Kirk brings passion to his work in the community, and he values his chance to give back as the son of Jamaican parents who immigrated to the United States to create better lives. He attended Brother Rice High School in Birmingham, Mich., and completed his college education at Michigan State University. Upon graduation, Kirk worked in a number of “for-impact” organizations driven by a personal mission to improve the educational, social and economic outcomes of the Detroit community. In 2008, Kirk joined National Community Development Institute and The Skillman Foundation's Good Neighborhood initiative in Brightmoor. As a result of his service and leadership, Kirk has received a number of recognitions and awards including being selected to participate in the prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship in 2013 and an outstanding Alumni of Michigan State University in 2019. In addition to his professional role, he participates in multiple initiatives and projects to improve the systems that drive change in Metro-Detroit.
The career of Glenn McIntosh is filled with pioneering experiences. He currently holds the dual role of senior vice president for student affairs and chief diversity officer at Oakland University (Rochester, Michigan). This position appointment made him the first person at a major university to hold such a unique role. He provides visionary strategic leadership for one of the largest divisions on campus with more 24 departments. He also serves as the co-chair of the Oakland University and City of Pontiac Partnership Initiative. He has successfully led many campus capital projects including the construction of two residence halls, an outdoor recreation and athletic facility, and a major renovation and expansion of the student union. Additionally, he led the establishment of the Gender and Sexuality Center and the Veterans Support Services Office. Previously, McIntosh worked as the assistant vice president and dean of student life. He was the founding director of the Academic Advising Resource Center. He also served as the founding director of the Center for Multicultural Initiatives (formerly the Office of Equity) and established the national award-winning Trustee Academic Success Scholarship program. The program consistently yields one of the highest underrepresented minority student retention and graduation rates in the country. Before joining Oakland, McIntosh held a number of administrative positions at Wayne State University, Eastern Michigan University, and Bowling Green State University. McIntosh shares his time and leadership skills as an active member of many professional and community-based organizations including the Metro Detroit Youth Clubs Board of Trustees, Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) Board of Directors, Renaissance Unity Spiritual Center Ministerial Team, Southeast Michigan Omega Foundation Incorporated Board of Directors, and Sacred Heart of Michigan Board Member. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Michigan Chronicle's Man of Excellence Award; the Novell-Levitz Student Retention Excellence Award; the OU Administrative Professional of the Year Award; the Diversity Excellence Award; the Outstanding Professionals of America Award; the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Man of the Year Award; and the NAACP Community Leadership Award. An avid bodybuilder, he has won multiple bodybuilding contests among them Mr. Michigan and Mr. Ironman. A native Detroiter, McIntosh earned his master's degree in Community and Agency Counseling from Wayne State University and bachelor's degrees in Sociology and Business Administration from Central Michigan University. He recently completed the prestigious American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Millennium Leadership Institute training program for senior level higher education administrators. He is a licensed professional mental health counselor, minister, and certified strength and conditioning trainer. He lives locally with his wife, Lia.
H. Keith Mobley is the Assistant Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for AAA - The Auto Club Group, representing more than 14 million members and 9,500 employees across 14 states and two U.S. territories. His responsibilities focus on three strategic goals; Social and Economic Disparities, Racial Justice, and Education & Literacy. Keith has served as the Director of The Auto Club Group Foundation and Director of Corporate Contributions & Community Relations in his leadership roles. He has had various leadership roles within the Claims Organization. He has successfully led the AAA Ambassador Employee volunteer program. One program with Big Brothers Big Sisters of metro-Detroit, led to AAA being recognized as the Employer Champion of the Year Award. Keith is the executive sponsor for the African American Employee Resource Group. Mr. Mobley’s education is in Business Management with several leadership and insurance certifications, including Leadership Detroit, Multi-cultural Leadership, a “Man of Excellence” honoree, and a recipient of the Cliff P. Norman award for the most effective board member in 2021. Some of his memberships and affiliations include the Detroit Regional Chamber and the Center for Corporate Citizenship. He is an executive board member with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro-Detroit, former first Vice Chair for Reading Works, a board Trustee for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and a member of the Classical Roots Committee.
JUDGE JOHN A. MURPHY IS MICHIGAN’S LONGEST-SERVING CURRENT JUDGE. This year, Judge Murphy will celebrate 44 years of service. JUDGE MURPHY IS MICHIGAN’S LONGEST-SERVING STATE-ELECTED AFRICAN AMERICAN JUDGE. Hard work, community involvement, principled commitment, compassion, and common sense are characteristics of Judge Murphy. John A. Murphy grew up in the City of Detroit where he was educated in the Detroit Public School system. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University Law School. Judge Murphy was elected to the Common Pleas Court for the City of Detroit, a precursor to the 36th District Court, in 1978. With the establishment of the 36th District Court, Judge Murphy continued on the Bench, serving with distinction. During his tenure at the 3 th District Court, Judge Murphy enjoyed the challenge of a variety of administrative assignments. One assignment, in particular, involved acting as Chairman of the Court’s Housing Committee. Judge Murphy worked with builders and developers to select the safe and convenient site which the 36th District Court continues to occupy. In 1981, Judge Murphy was selected to serve as the 36 th District Court’s first Presiding Judge for the Criminal Division. In that capacity, Judge Murphy developed procedures to streamline felony arraignments and preliminary examinations. Judge Murphy assumed the post of Presiding Judge of the Civil Division in 1982, a position which he maintained until his election to Wayne County’s Third Judicial Circuit Court in 1986. With over 40 years of service, Judge Murphy has served in all areas of the court including family court, the criminal division, and the presiding Judge of the Civil Division. Judge Murphy also served as a visiting Judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals. Judge Murphy is also affiliated with a variety of professional and civic organizations, including the Detroit Bar Association, the Wolverine Bar Association, the Association of Black Judges in Michigan, and the Optimist International Organization. His contributions have been recognized by the Detroit City Council, the Wayne County Board of Commissioners and the Michigan State Senate. Judge Murphy has been married to the former Patricia VanDyke for over 48 years. The Murphys have one son, John Brandon Murphy. DUE TO MANDATORY RETIREMENT ON DECEMBER 31, 2022, JUDGE MURPHY WILL HAVE SERVED OVER FORTY-FOUR YEARS ON THE BENCH. Upon retirement, Judge Murphy will continue to serve by assisting litigants in ADR matters.
A native of Gary, Indiana, Jason Parks is a bi-vocational leader, serving as a Pastor, speaker, and financial services professional whose passion and life’s work is to lead, encourage and help individuals in ministry and the marketplace. Shortly after college graduation, the Valparaiso University alum began a career in the financial services industry, a field that he’s escalated in over the last 20 years. Jason has filled various institutional sales & marketing roles. He is currently a Senior Vice President of Loop Capital Markets in Chicago, IL. In tandem with his professional career, Jason has also pursued his ministerial calling. He has served as a teacher and Pastor to a diverse population of people, from youth to adults. He is an international speaker to emerging leaders, having presented to small congregations, global ministries, schools, and leadership conferences. Jason currently serves as Life Groups Pastor at Christian Life Center in Tinley Park, IL. Jason will soon release his first published book and is a regular contributor to various podcasts in Chicagoland. He has been happily married for nearly 20 years and resides in the Chicagoland area with his wife and four daughters.
Jason L. Paulateer serves as Senior Vice President and Community and Economic Development Market Manager, responsible for Michigan and Indiana. In this role, he oversees the Bank’s regional compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act, cultivates community partnerships, and executes community development strategies. With 25+ years of banking and community experience, Jason rejoined the team at Fifth Third in November 2018 where he has been instrumental in helping the bank to establish the Neighborhood Investment Program. He previously served as market manager at PNC Bank, where he led community development activities and financial programs throughout the state of Michigan. He also previously held various financial roles, at Fifth Third Bank and PNC. Jason holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a master’s degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. In 2022, Jason was recognized by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority with the Terrance R. Duvernay Award. In 2021, Jason was recognized by the City of Detroit-Department of Neighborhoods with a Spirit of Detroit Award and Crain’s Detroit Business, Michigan’s Premier Business Publication, among its Notable Nonprofit Board Member’s for his community service work. In 2018, Jason received the prestigious Gene Kuthy Community Development Award bestowed upon him by the Community and Economic Development Association of Michigan. In 2017 he was named to Made Men in Detroit, was a member of Class XXXVIII in Leadership Detroit, and received a Leadership Oakland– Leader of Leaders award. He is the board chair for Communities First, Inc., in Flint and past chair of the Michigan Forum for African Americans in Philanthropy. Paulateer also serves as Finance Director of New Life Community Church and on the boards of Samaritas, Detroit LISC, Develop Detroit, Forgotten Harvest, LifeBUILDERS, and Luella Hannan Foundation. Jason formerly served on the boards of IFF, Gleaners Food Bank of Southeast Michigan, Board of Education Bloomfield Hills Public Schools, Community, and Economic Development Association of Michigan, Home Repair Services, Wedgewood Christian Services, and Matrix Human Services.
Mike S. Rafferty is the President & CEO of New Detroit, Inc. He joined New Detroit on May 20, 2019. Previously he served as Vice President of Small Business Services at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. In this role, he was responsible for developing and leading strategies, programs, and initiatives that support new and existing businesses in their efforts to thrive in Detroit. He comes to the role with nearly twenty years of experience managing projects, programs, and organizations that support community and regional economic development; advocating for and building the capacity of nonprofits and small businesses; and analyzing policy and advising local policymakers. “New Detroit is a coalition of leaders working to achieve racial understanding and racial equity in Metropolitan Detroit. Mike serves as a board member for a number of profit and nonprofit organizations including but not limited to, Henry Ford Health, City of Detroit Board of Ethics, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, TechTown, and Jefferson East Inc. He has a Master’s degree in Urban Planning with a concentration in Economic Development from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and a B.A. in Communications from St. Mary’s College in Orchard Lake, Michigan. He has received a number of honors and awards including the Sue Marx Smock Graduate Fellowship Award for Urban Research, the Business Visionary Award from the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Michigan Chronicle’s Men of Excellence award. Mike and his wife, Heidi reside in Detroit with their two sons, and dogs, Fiona and Noble.
A member of the Black Leadership Advisory Council and advisor to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, appointed by her, at the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO). Joel recently released 11 policy proposals to bring about fairness and equity throughout the state of Michigan for the Black community. Joel serves as the Chair of the Official Democratic Black Caucus of Macomb County. We work to get more Black elected officials and to hold elected officials accountable for the concerns of the Black community in Macomb County. Keeping connected to his hometown of Ypsilanti Michigan is important to me. Joel is a board member of the Friends of Rutherford Pool (FORP) a 501c3. Named after his father Jesse, it provides a safe, enjoyable, and welcoming swimming pool for residents of the Ypsilanti area. I also serve as a member of the Macomb County Veterans Services Commission. The accomplishments Joel is most proud of include the 11 policy proposals we made to Governor Whitmer and seeing her administration bring them to reality. In Macomb County, the Black Caucus was instrumental in helping get Black candidates elected to the Macomb County Board of Commissioners and recently assisted in getting the first Black Circuit Court Judge appointed in Macomb County history. In Ypsilanti, we were able to raise one million dollars to get the pool rebuilt seven years ago and two years ago we raised 750k to get the bathhouse renovated to bring it up to the standards of the current pool. A retired air traffic control specialist and a member of the U.S. Air Force and after retiring with over 20 years of service, Joel worked with a defense contractor and then in federal civil service. Joel worked to ensure fairness for all who desired a career in air traffic control, with it being one of the top three careers in salary and benefits for those without a college degree. In 2022 the average controller salary stands at $120K up to $197K per year. Joel’s hobbies include traveling to many countries. During his time in the Air Force, he traveled to many different countries and loves to continue his exploration to better understand diverse cultures. Joel is the person behind the scenes, getting things done for the community. He is not a big “photo op” kind of person, because for him service to our community and results are more important than whose around. Joel is happy to help educate voters, and aid Veterans to ensure they get the benefits they have earned. We must bring equity to our community!
James H. Speed, Jr. is the retired President and Chief Executive Officer of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. He retired on December 31, 2015, after serving twelve years as President and Chief Executive Officer. North Carolina Mutual has its headquarters in Durham, North Carolina, and is the oldest and largest insurance company in America with roots in the African-American community. A Certified Public Accountant, Speed joined North Carolina Mutual as a Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2002, while the company’s strategic plan was being developed. He helped guide that process, and in January 2004, was named President and Chief Executive Officer. Prior to Speed’s insurance career, he served as Senior Vice President Chief Financial Officer, and Treasurer for Hardee's Food Systems Inc., a $4 billion system-wide food retailer, and became the first African American to attain such a level. Prior to Hardee’s, he spent twelve years with the international accounting firm of Deloitte & Touche, where he was a partner candidate at the time of his departure. Both North Carolina Mutual and Hardee’s were his clients. He earned his undergraduate degree at North Carolina Central University, and in 1979, he received an MBA degree from Atlanta University, where he was named “Most Outstanding Student” in the School of Business. Speed currently serves on the Board of Directors of Investors Title Company, Brown Capital Management Mutual Funds, and North Carolina Central University Foundation. He has also served as a member of AAA National Board of Directors, Past Chairman of AAA Carolinas, and Chairman of The Greater Triangle United Way. Vice Chairman of the President’s Council on Efficiency and Effectiveness for the University of North Carolina, the Governor’s Business Council for Fiscal Reform, the Federal Reserve Board of Richmond, Charlotte Branch, and the Boards of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, North Carolina Chamber of Commerce and UNC Health Care Systems. In November 2016, Speed was inducted into the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame. He is married to Thedora Baker Speed. They have one daughter, Kiera Speed Torres, a son-in-law Louis Torres and a grandson, David Speed Torres.
Terence Thomas knows how to create thriving regional business and community relationships. With more than 30 years in government and corporate affairs, advocating on behalf of the largest health care and business organizations in Michigan, Terence has accomplished far more than creating tens of millions of dollars in value for these organizations; he’s also spearheaded the development of deep community advocacy and engagement that their boards — and those communities — consider priceless. He refined his business advocacy skills as an attorney with Miller Canfield, where he worked in commercial litigation; intellectual property, including e-commerce and internet law; and emerging business development in Detroit. Terence transforms corporate advocacy from taking reactive positions to taking value-added proactive ones, with an unwavering focus on business ethics. While at St. John Providence Health System and Ascension Health, he developed a model to significantly increase community involvement and outreach. Terence is constantly seeking ways to create community and corporate buy-in for legislative, corporate, and community initiatives for his clients. He was recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business as one of Southeast Michigan’s “40 Under 40” to watch. He was also named one of the region’s “Men of Excellence” by the venerable Michigan Chronicle. In 2019, Terence became the first African American to be elected to a City Council seat in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. A native of Detroit, Terence holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Albion College and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Dr. David Turner, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, joined MotorCity Casino Hotel (MCCH) in 2019 after accumulating over two and half decades of multi-level, multi-industry, union & non-union, and exempt & non-exempt workforce experience. As part of the MCCH Executive Team, David strategically partners with the leadership community, offering comprehensive, innovative, and results-oriented services modeled on the very best human resources practices, and ensuring a diverse and inclusive workforce. David is a member of the Faculty at Post University, located in Waterbury, CT. David served as President of D-SHRM, the Detroit Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management, and as President of Michigan CUPA-HR (College and University Professional Association for Human Resources). David is also the past President of the Farmington Public Schools Board of Education. David has the distinction of being elected the first African American male to serve as President of the Farmington Public Schools Board of Education. Dr. Turner has served as a member of various education, business, and community boards served as a guest lecturer at educational institutions and has been featured at multiple conferences and workshops. As an advocate for education, community service, and civic volunteerism David has illustrated this not only through his profession but also through his strong commitment to community service. David is a 2022 Distinguished Alumni Honoree from Eastern Michigan University. David is a 2019 Michigan Chronicle - Men of Excellence Honoree. Dr. Turner is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. David has a Ph.D. (Human Capital Management) and a bachelor’s and master’s degree (Human Resources).
In a career marked by a commitment to service, equity, and community, Maurice Turner spent 15 years as a financial counselor and marketing specialist for GreenPath Financial Wellness, one of the nation’s largest and most respected nonprofits financial and housing counseling agencies. During his tenure he helped educate and support debt management, homeowner/rental education, and foreclosure prevention, with an emphasis on improving the financial lives of black and brown communities. Maurice also helped build and support GreenPath’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access work and strategy. Maurice is now founder and president of Rehab Highland Park, a 501c(3) nonprofit he established in 2020 to revitalize the historic city of Highland Park, Michigan in which he currently lives along with his husband, Blake. The mission of the organization is to restore and grow the historic neighborhoods of Highland Park through community engagement, fundraising and revitalization projects. Most recently, Maurice has taken his passion and commitment to service into the political arena as a candidate for mayor of the city of Highland Park, Michigan. Maurice holds a B.A. in Psychology from Michigan State University, and has specialized training in leadership and human-centered design.
Edgar L. Vann III is a proud Native Detroiter. He attended Cass Technical High School in Detroit and then went on to complete his higher education at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA where he received his Bachelor of Arts, in Business Administration Majoring in Finance. He received his Master’s Degree in Organizational Management from Walsh College of Business and completed a Fellowship in Public Policy and Social Research from Michigan State University. Edgar holds the position of Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for TCF Bank. In this role, he provides guidance to leadership and team members; Partner with teams to effectively use data and analytics to identify trends and create solutions to address individual and group behavior, and recommends strategies for making needed change. He develops and manages ongoing D&I dashboard reporting and program metrics for bank leadership, while managing D&I programs including but not limited to Employee Resource Group (ERG) and D&I councils to assure satisfactory results within established deadlines on budget. Prior to this he was the District Director of Government Relations for Wayne County Community College District. Honoring a lifelong call to service, Edgar has been a mentor, coach, and youth advocate since high school. He is committed to giving back to the community where he lives. He is a Board Member for Eastside Community Network, Michigan League for Public Policy, McDowell Preparatory Academy and sits on the Advisory Board for the National Diversity Council to name a few. He was honored by Crain’s Detroit business Top 40 under 40 and Fifth Third Bank Young History Maker.
Jarrett Waddy is the Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Operations, and Employee Resource Group Development at The Auto Club Group (AAA). In his role, Jarrett works closely with the Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, senior management, and leaders across various business lines and departments to promote and advance The Auto Club Group’s (ACG) diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy. Jarrett has been a key catalyst in the ACG D&I strategy rollout. Jarrett has worked with diverse populations throughout his career with 15 years’ experience centered on higher education marketing, diversity & inclusion consultation, community relations, and professional development. His passion has developed and implemented workforce readiness programs/solutions to empower underrepresented populations to achieve optimal career mobility, employability, and needed resources. Jarrett is a Certified Diversity Professional (CDP), alumni of Challenge Detroit Fellowship, and serves on the Tri-City Community Development Corporation board in Southwest Detroit. He holds a Master of Science degree in Human Resources from Central Michigan University and a Bachelors of Business Administration\Marketing from Eastern Michigan University. He is also married with one daughter and enjoys spending time with his family.
Stefen J. Welch serves as Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) for NBA's Detroit Pistons. A Detroit native, Welch focuses on the team's strategy to attract and acquire diverse talent, professional development opportunities for employees, and identifying strategic business initiatives with the community. Previously, Stefen led DEI for national retailer Saks OFF 5TH and the country's largest mortgage lender, Rocket Mortgage. Stefen's unique take on local and national initiatives has led him to various panels and conversations regarding DEI, including the Black Fashion Movement, Deloitte Bersin IMPACT Conference, Center for Automotive Diversity Inclusion and Advancement (CADIA) Rev Up Conference, and Detroit Policy Conference. To promote life as a Detroiter, Welch has blogged for the Detroit News' - DVoice. He has also appeared on Huffington Post Live as a guest panelist covering various topics in the Motor City. Additionally, Welch has served on multiple boards and committees, including Black Family Development, Inc., CHASS (Community Health and Social Services), and the Oakland University Black Alumni Committee. In 2011, Welch was recognized by Oakland University (Rochester, MI) for his community involvement, receiving the Oakland University Alumni Association Community Service Award. Welch was also recognized by DBusiness Magazine's 2021 class "30 in their Thirties" issue. Welch earned a Bachelor of Arts from Oakland University (Rochester, MI), a Masters of Community Development from the University of Detroit Mercy (Detroit, MI) and a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion certificate from Cornell University (Ithaca, NY). Currently, he is enrolled in the Executive MBA program at Howard University (Washington, DC).
Jahmal C. Williams currently serves as the Director of Advocacy for Racial Justice at San Jose State University. In this position, he is tasked with developing a strategic approach to the institution's external-facing racial justice initiatives, efforts, and key community partnerships. He has been with SJSU since 2014 and previously served as the Program Director of the Black Leadership and Opportunity Center (BLOC). Since January 2020, Jahmal has served as one of the Co-Chairs of the Black Leadership Kitchen Cabinet of Silicon Valley, a community-based coalition based in San Jose, California that provides critical leadership development and training, grassroots organizing, and advocacy on issues of civil rights, racial equity, and economic justice across Black residents in Santa Clara County. Jahmal also chairs the DEI sub-committee as a board member for Momentum for Health, the largest adult mental health non-profit in San Jose. Jahmal is a native of Ypsilanti, Michigan. He holds his Master's Degree in Clinical Social Work from Michigan State University and a Bachelor's Degree in Women's Studies from the University of Michigan. Even though working in higher education has been his calling, Jahmal knows his true passion is working towards true equity for Black lives in this country in all that he does. He hopes to inspire change through his actions, words, and empathy.
Marcuz Young is the Assistant Vice President, Michigan Field Operations at The Auto Club Group (AAA). In his role, Marcuz works directly with the Michigan Field Vice President and works closely with Senior Management, Directors, and Field Leaders to drive long-term, sustainable, and profitable sales growth across various business lines. Marcuz has 20 years of experience in the Insurance and financial Industry. Marcuz started his career at his father’s Insurance Agency (Will Young) as a summer temp. Throughout his career, Marcuz has served people through many roles such as Insurance Agent, EA Consultant, Field Manager and Director. Most recently, he was promoted to Assistant Vice President. Marcuz also serves as a proud member of the AAA African American ERG Team. Working diligently to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace and local community. Marcuz holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Walsh College. Also, he holds a state license for various insurance lines and the designation of Certified Professional Insurance Agent. He is also married with one daughter and enjoys spending time with his family and friends.
William A. Adams is an award-winning D&I innovator, engineering trailblazer, and philanthropist. From an early accomplishment of rolling out critical XML code to many of Microsoft's core products globally, he was later named the first Technical Advisor to the CTO of Microsoft, Kevin Scott. William has founded and overseen global initiatives that revolutionize how underserved communities access jobs and build careers at the company. As co-founder of the Microsoft Leap program – named Microsoft’s D&I Program of the Year in 2020 – he helped launch the training of more than 26 cohorts around the world. Today, a high percentage of Microsoft Leap participants obtain jobs within Microsoft or other high-tech companies. His most recent collaboration has been in the U.S. Virgin Islands, developing a strong tech ecosystem, training technical talent, and evolving critical technical infrastructure. Early in his 35+ year software engineering career, William was one of the first Black entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Through his company, Adamation, he developed mission-critical custom enterprise apps for Steve Jobs’ NeXT computers and pioneered a network instant messaging service purchased by the CIA. He holds two patents. Today, in addition to his role at Microsoft, William is the philanthropic founder of The EV3NT, a collaborative, community-based hackathon designed to solve real-world problems. When he’s not tinkering with bits and bytes, the husband and father of three builds kitchen cabinets, knits, and tries to recapture the exhilaration of riding a motorcycle in India.
With nearly three decades of experience spanning a multitude of industries including non-profit, health care, and higher education, Ken is driven by his passion to initiate cross-cultural dialogue and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. As Chief Diversity Officer for Muskegon Community College, he combines his knowledge and lived experiences to deliver creative, intentional programs to students, faculty/staff, community members, and businesses. Ken is an alumnus of Kentucky State University and Grand Valley State University, from which he holds a master’s in public administration. Most recently, he earned Executive Certification in Diversity Coaching through the CoachDiversity Institute in partnership with Howard University School of Business and is recognized as an Associate Diversity Coach (ADC).
With over fifteen years in the employee development and training industry, Gary has a proven track record of partnering with employers and human resources professionals, looking to understand their business and human capital goals in order to develop prescriptive solutions. Since joining Marsh & McLennan Agency, he has taken on both national and local leadership roles. Gary is a member of MMA’s national Diversity & Inclusion team, charged with setting the direction of MMA’s D&I initiatives including talent recruitment, awareness, and training. In addition, he leads Michigan’s Advantz practice, designed to help organizations maximize their D&I investment while also providing an optimal combination of processes and products to manage their group benefits programs. As our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Practice lead, Gary strategically partners with clients in order to help them establish or grow their D&I plan. Gary’s team provides D&I consulting as well as training for our clients. Prior to joining MMA, Gary was the Executive Vice President of Sales with New Horizons Computer Learning Centers. In this role, he led all business development efforts across the Great Lakes region focusing on helping mid-market and enterprise organizations improve their businesses by maximizing their software and human capital investments. Gary is a graduate of Northwood University with a Bachelor in Business Administration. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration. Gary has been recognized as a 2019 Salute to Diversity Business Leader of the Year by CorpMagazine. Currently, Gary serves on the Board of Directors for Gleaners Community Food Bank as well as the Michigan Diversity Council. Gary is also a member of Conner Creek Academy East School Board. In addition, he serves as a mentor with Winning Futures Organization. Previously he has served on Automation Alley’s Talent & Development Committee. Gary resides in Sterling Heights with his wife and three children. He leads and coaches a youth football program in the area.
A lifelong Detroiter, Orlando P. Bailey learned how to practice community development in the neighborhood where he was born. Passionate about shifting the narrative of Black cities & neighborhoods, Bailey is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, Director of Engagement for BridgeDetroit, co-host of the podcast Authentically Detroit, and host of Urban Consulate. Previously, he served as Chief Development Officer for the Eastside Community Network. A sought-after voice for public dialogues & media, Bailey has appeared on stages & screens for The Aspen Institute, SXSW, Canadian Urban Institute, Wellbeing Cities Forum, American Black Journal on Detroit Public TV & more. In 2019, Bailey traveled across Europe with The German Marshall Fund of the United States. In 2020, he was named a BMe Vanguard Fellow. In 2015, he was selected as an Emerging City Champion by Knight Foundation and 880 Cities in Toronto. In 2010, Bailey was the recipient of the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award from Eastern Michigan University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. Since then, Bailey has had the privilege to interview hundreds of visionaries & changemakers, including Dr. Cornel West, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, Dr. Andre M. Perry & more. Rooted in his faith and radical love for his community, Bailey is a passionate advocate for city residents as experts in their lived experience. He continues to reside on Detroit’s Eastside.
Zenell has over two decades of experience in leading change in the court environment. She has served as an attorney, mediator, supervisor, and director, helping families resolve disputes and creating child support initiatives to improve the well-being of children while improving the efficiency of the court. She has shared the challenges and success of her work with local and national child support and court audiences. She has co-created a mediation manual and has been training aspiring domestic relations mediators for a decade. Currently as Executive Court Administrator of the Third Circuit Court, Zenell oversees a budget of approximately $130 million and directs a staff of 600 professionals and support workers. She supports the 58 elected judges in their efforts to resolve over 60,000 cases each year. A graduate of University of Detroit Mercy (B.A.) and Wayne State University Law School (J.D.), Zenell continues to be a lifelong learner.
Robin Carter currently serves as Oakland County’s first Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and previously held the title as executive director of diversity equity and inclusion for Rochester Community Schools. Robin’s diverse background provides a lens of equity that intersects with multiple perspectives and identities. Her experiences include supporting National AIDS Education Services for Minorities (NAESM) and LGBTQ education, as well as a high school classroom teacher, and program director and lecturer at the University of Michigan-Flint School of Health Professions and Studies. Carter-Cooper’s experience in cultivating welcoming, diverse, and inclusive cultures throughout all aspects of organizations and institutions has provided her with the ability to lead teams to elevate inclusiveness and implement best practices related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Carter-Cooper has developed and facilitated various social justice topics as well as presented at several conferences such as the Facing Race National Conference, National Education Association Center for Social Justice and Human Rights (NEA), as well as local organizations like Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce Infused 365. Her passion, commitment, and track record of success in creating sustainable cultures around DEI have led her to speak, moderate, and serve as a panelist for discussions around equity, access, and social justice. Carter-Cooper, a Flint native and Genesee County resident, received her undergraduate degree from Georgia State University, graduate degree from Central Michigan University, and her Education Specialist postmasters from Oakland University. She is also a certified diversity practitioner CDP and was honored in 2019 by Crain’s Detroit Business as a member of its “Most Notable Women in Educational Leadership.”
Marshalle Favors, Director of Community Engagement: Marshalle promotes positive race relations by developing and maintaining relationships that convene the Arab, Chaldean, African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American communities throughout southeast Michigan. As a lead facilitator for New Detroit’s Leadership Series on R.A.C.E., Marshalle conducts regional forums with representatives from a cross-section of businesses, civic groups, educational institutions, health services, and community-based organizations. She is committed to cultivating cross-cultural collaboration between diverse communities by developing collective strategies and solutions that affect social equity.
Tam is a Performance-Driven and Accomplished Financial Service IndustryProfessional with a successful 20+ year career history of directing consumer banking, risk management, and account management. As part of the Government Banking Team at Huntington Bank, she manages a portfolio of government clients and executes sales strategy while maintaining exceptional customer satisfaction at all professional levels. Respected as a motivational, influential leader and collaborator Tam was given the distinct honor of being the inaugural Champion of the African Ancestry Network – East Region Employee Resource Group for 2020 - 2021 by the TCF Bank office of Diversity and Inclusion and Executive Diversity and Inclusion Council. As a leader, Tam is able to provide transparent feedback to influence positive change in the organization to senior and executive-level leaders. Tam holds an Associate of Science, Business Management Degree from Davenport University and is a candidate for a Bachelor of Science, Business Management degree from Wayne State University. Tam holds an Advanced Certified Public Funds Investment Manager (ACPFIM) certification and National Diversity Council Certified Diversity Professional (CDP) certificate. Tam is a 2020 recipient of the first CARE LIKE A NEIGHBOR AWARD and is recognized as a 2021 DEI Champion awardee by the National Diversity Council. Tam freely gives of her time leading Business Resource Groups, volunteer projects in her community through work and personal commitment. Additionally, Tam is an Alopecia Awareness Advocate through her iRockitBald platform which strives to encourage, motivate, and uplift individuals living with or loving someone with hair loss. Tam has been featured on multiple radio shows, podcasts, magazines, as a motivational speaker, in a documentary and fashion shows to support Alopecia Awareness, and is a published author. Married to her high school sweetheart Jason, they are the proud parents of two sons Jason Jr. and Joshua. Tam has been an equestrian since the age of six, enjoys personal fitness, traveling, and spending quality time with friends and family.
Prior to joining The Right Place in October 2021, TaRita served as the Director of the Career Center at Calvin University where she was responsible for the center’s overall mission to equip students to succeed on their lifelong vocational path. She oversaw the center’s career coaching, employer relations, event and marketing analytics, and assessment. She was responsible for cross-divisionally creating and launching a career and life skills program, Calvin LifeWork. Before joining Calvin, TaRita was a Talent Acquisition Manager for corporate recruiting at Meijer. She oversaw recruitment for accounting, audit, finance, human resources, information technology, legal, properties, procurement, and real estate. Previous to her work at Meijer, she was Vice President of College and University Relations at KeyBank where she developed, executed, and oversaw the bank’s college recruitment program for all lines of business. Her other positions include adjunct Social Work professor at Calvin, Assistant Director of Admissions at Baldwin Wallace University, Enrollment Management Officer at Pennsylvania State University, Psychiatric Specialty Counselor at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, and Program Specialist for TRIO’s Educational Talent Search Program at Savannah State University.
Darlene King began her career with the Michigan Diversity Council-MIDC, a division of the National Diversity Council, in 2015. As the executive director, her charge is working with corporations and organizations in developing diversity and inclusion initiatives, programs, processes, and procedures. She also oversees the growth of the council in the area of business development throughout the entire state of Michigan. Prior to her tenure with the MIDC, she held the role of director of events, consultant services, training and development for all 34 school districts under the Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agency for over 10 years. Her territory covered implementation and execution of all workshops and conference as well as maintaining CEU’s for teachers and administrators within Wayne County MI. She managed more than 60 consultants as well as county-wide, signature events such as the Teacher Job Fair, County K-12 Art Fair and the Cultural Collaborative for Learning. Darlene was also an inaugural member of the Diversity Strategic Planning Committee, which rolled out a county-wide diversity plan for all districts. Darlene’s background is widespread. She spent six years as a national concert promoter, traveling around the world with some of today’s most popular artists in the industry. She has produced and promoted shows at every concert venue in Detroit and beyond. In 2008, she launched her consulting company, Life’s Journey Training and Consulting. Competing in today's global market, Life’s Journey offers services in industries ranging from education to automotive, medical, non-profits and manufacturing. Its area of expertise consists of diversity and inclusion, leadership development, marketing, and public relations. Life’s Journey has provided service deliverables to Wayne County Head Start Programs, Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, The Order of the Fisherman, The Detroit Medical Center, Revival Home Health Care, RTM Music Group, Real Times Media, Stonecrest Behavioral Health, Detroit Area Agency on Aging, Universal Studios, Detroit Community Schools, MASCO Corporation, Diversity Lansing and many more. Darlene is a native of Michigan and enjoys spending time with her family, nephews and niece. She says her faith in God, family, passion for people and her love of traveling and gardening are the drivers which keep her on a Life’s Journey. Darlene has a passion for people and earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing from Wayne State University in Detroit. She has been operating in this capacity as well as in education and organizational development for 25 years. Darlene earned her National Certification as a Certified Diversity and Inclusion Professional in 2018.
After more than 40 years as a broadcast journalist, Huel Perkins officially retired in March from WJBK-TV. Over the decades, he has traveled the country with Nelson Mandela, covered Pope John Paul's visit to Detroit, and reported on nearly every major political convention in America. But, it was the creation of a local talk show called “Let It Rip!” that allowed him to use his legal and journalistic training to bring eloquent, opinionated people together to discuss the issues of the day. It became one of the city's most popular programs. He’s the recipient of three Emmy Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. More than 60 civic and charitable organizations have recognized him for his lifelong commitment to education and financial empowerment. Huel has also been honored with a U.S. Congressional Proclamation for his integrity and service to the public. Yet, his biggest reward comes from the lives he’s changed and the career doors he’s opened for the next generation of minority journalists. He’s developed a deep and abiding faith in the people of Metro-Detroit. And in return, they have given him their trust. It’s a bond that will continue as he begins the next chapter of his life. Huel is celebrating 38 years of marriage to his wife Priscilla, who is the President & CEO of the Accounting Aid Society of Detroit. They have two adult sons. Jared Perkins is the creative director of the Waterhill Marketing Agency, in Ann Arbor. Vincent Perkins is an engineer with Toyota in San Antonio.
Erica White recently joined Corewell Health to lead Supplier Diversity. She has previous experience in various industries, including insurance, healthcare, automotive, city government, and small business. Over the course of her career, Erica has earned several awards for her work in DEI and Supplier Diversity from the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, Women’s Business Enterprise - Great Lakes, and others. Erica is passionate about community, entrepreneurship, economic development, creating equitable and inclusive environments for all, and helping diverse-owned businesses succeed. Erica holds a BA in business from Kentucky State University, an MBA from Wayne State University, and is a Certified Diversity Professional through the National Diversity Council. She serves as an advisory board member on the Michigan Diversity Council and has held a prior board position with the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Erica is a Detroit native and currently lives in Farmington Hills with her husband, daughter, and son. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, playing volleyball, and shopping.