Detroit 2015 Fellows

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Amanda Alexander, Attorney & Soros Justice Fellow, University of Michigan Law School

	Amanda	Alexander	Amanda Alexander is a Soros Justice Fellow in the University of Michigan Law School's Child Advocacy Law Clinic and the Detroit Center for Family Advocacy. She directs Michigan Law's Prison & Family Justice Project, which serves families divided by incarceration and the foster-care system using a combination of direct representation, know-your-rights education, targeted litigation, and advocacy. The project works with people in prison and their families to reduce the impact of incarceration and to promote family reunification and successful reentry into society. Alexander serves on the Board of Directors of the Prison Policy Initiative and as an advisor to the National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated. She earned her JD from Yale Law School, where she co-founded the Women, Incarceration, and Family Law Project and was a student attorney in the Detention & Human Rights Clinic. During law school, she interned with The Bronx Defenders and worked on alternatives to stop-and-frisk policing as an Ella Baker Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights. She also conducted research for National Advocates for Pregnant Women and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

A PhD candidate in history at Columbia University, Alexander's research and teaching interests include mass incarceration, criminal law, reproductive justice, family law, and social policy. Alexander lived in South Africa for several years, where she was a Fulbright-Hays Research Fellow at the University of Cape Town and a fellow at the Centre for Civil Society in Durban. She has given invited lectures and talks at the University of Sussex, the University of Virginia Batten School of Public Policy, Columbia University, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Cape Town's Centre for Conflict Resolution and New York's Center for Immigrant Families. She is co-editor of Biko Lives: Contesting the Legacies of Steve Biko (Palgrave Macmillan) and has published articles in The Michigan Child Welfare Law Journal, Journal of Asian & African Studies, Review of African Political Economy, Feminist Africa, the Mail & Guardian, and several edited volumes. She earned her BA, magna cum laude, in government and African studies from Harvard University.


Shaniece Bennett, MBA, CPA Founder, Accutrak Consulting & Accounting Services PLLC 


Shaniece founded Accutrak Services, a Michigan based accounting and tax services firm. She combines her 15 year professional expertise with charisma while helping others achieve business, financial, and personal goals. She is noted for her personal approach and going beyond the numbers to add additional value. Her areas of expertise include individual and small business taxation, accounting, payroll, full-cycle cost control, budgeting and forecasting, and administration.

Prior to founding Accutrak Services, Shaniece worked as customer service representative and billing specialist at DTE Energy. She was an internal audit intern at General Motors. She spent nearly seven years at Chrysler where Shaniece worked in accounting and finance. She has developed and managed budgets in excess of $70 million, prepared and secured capital appropriation requests exceeding $9 million, and maintained records for capital assets exceeding $320 million. She also worked in public accounting at a local accounting firm.

Shaniece graduated with honors from Wayne State University (Bachelor in Finance) and Walsh College (MBA). Shaniece is licensed in the State of Michigan as a Certified Public Accountant. She is a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and she has taught accounting,   financial management and economic courses to future business professionals as an adjunct instructor.

Shaniece is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Michigan Association of CPAs (MiCPA) and the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA). She is a Certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) and Certified Women Owned Small Business (WOSB). She serves as a loan committee member of the Detroit MicroEnterprise Fund and finance committee person for the Junior League of Detroit. Shaniece continues to advocate and educate the public by offering services and training as a registered Pure Michigan Business Connect Partner (PMBC) and a guest speaker for various organizations (MDOT, DEGC, SDBA, MEDC Programs). Shaniece is a native of the Motor City. She enjoys spending time with her family, playing board games and usually welcomes many challenges.


Christopher M. Blount, Attorney 

Christopher Michael Blount was born and raised on the Westside of Detroit by his parents, Michael (a retired Detroit Police Sergeant) and Sandra (a retired Detroit Public School teacher). He is also the grandson of Frank Anderson Blount, Detroit's first Executive Deputy Chief. Christopher attended and graduated from Detroit Mumford High School. While at Mumford, Christopher was a member of the swim team and went on to work for the City of Detroit Recreation Department as a lifeguard a position he maintained through college and law school.

After graduation from high school, Christopher went on to Wayne State University. Where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Master of Urban Planning and in 2006, a Juris Doctorate. Wayne State University is where Christopher devloped a sensitivity to issues dealing with the urban envirorment, and was supplied an oppurtunity to study the urban environment abroad in South Africa. He was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan in 2007, and currently manages a practice that consists of criminal and probate law. Prior to and during his years as a lawyer, Christopher heard the many stories and expericened first hand some of the crime that occurs in Detroit. As an attorney and a personal victim of armed robbery, multiple home invasions and numerous motor vehicle crimes, Christopher is aware of the issues and problems surrounding Detroit and its citizens. These events have not made Christopher fearful of the city but has helped him realize that he has to be a part of change for the better. Acknowledging that change should start with the most disenfrachised people and progress from there. This desire for change is what led to his candidacy for Judge of 36th District Court in 2012. He was a primary winner in that election cycle but was not as succesful as he would have liked in the general election. Luckily he is undeterred and plans to run for this same office when the opppurtunity arises.

Christopher is a lifelong Detroiter and believes in being involved with organizations that seek to empower and uplift the community. These organizations include AFSCME Council 25 Local 542 (past member), Detroit NAACP, Wolverine Bar Assiciation, Wayne County Criminal Defense Bar Association, Charles H. Wright museum Of African American History, St. John Church, University District Community Association, Isaiah Literacy Program, Belle Isle Conservancy, and Golf coach for Communication and Media Arts High School. In an effort to provide free information to the community and he has conducted numerous expungment workshops throughout Detroit.



Kristen Carethers 

While attending the University of Michigan as an International Relations major, Kristen interned as a Congressional Black Caucus intern in Rep. John Conyers, Jr. office. Upon graduating for University of Michigan she attended University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Graduate Professional Producing Program. Throughout Kristen's life she has traveled extensively in Europe, South America and Africa, including a two year stint in London.

Today, Kristen enjoys a fruitful career in television and entertainment where she has experience managing multi-million dollar productions. Her experience, as a Producer, extends across multiple platforms; broadcast TV, in-cinema, web, and print.  She has worked on production teams at American Idol, Playboy, Propaganda, BET, Ford and Lincoln. Recently, she has filled the role of Field Producer and Contestant Coordinator on BET's award winning TV show, Sunday Best.  In addition to her experience in television and commercials she has also played significant roles in shooting many music videos for major artists from Tina Turner to Eminem.  The wonderful world of television, commercials, and advertising has brought her to exotic places to capture an interesting  range of subjects from luxury cars to world cup campaigns.


Axel Cooley, Executive, Metallon LLC 

Axel Cooley was raised in the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle, Kitchener-Waterloo. She graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University, one of the top business schools in the nation, accredited by AACSB obtained by only the top 5% of business schools worldwide. Here, she earned an Honours BBA degree and was hand-selected for its co-op program exclusive to the top 400 students. Axel's career has largely focused on empowering individuals and helping to advance communities around the world through wisdom, which is the most powerful gift awarded to man. For 9 years, she served as Press Officer for Rey de Salem TV & Radio, oversaw Press Departments in 30 nations, and collaborated with outreach programs to teach individuals their self-worth, since prosperity begins in the mind. In this role, she travelled to 20 countries conducting press conferences, and collaborating with global media networks: CNN, NBC, ABC, FOX, DISCOVERY, NATGEO, TELEMUNDO, UNIVISION, and more.

Widely known as a God-fearing woman of vision, commitment, and courage, Ms. Cooley has also made her mark as a creative force in the world of business. She currently serves as President at Metallon, which provides precious metals to the automotive industry. The accomplished entrepreneur is co-owner of Derjers International and Nocce Designs. Previously, Axel secured technology and finance positions at some of the world's largest companies including Goldman Sachs, FritoLay, Open Text, and marketing for high-tech corporations: DSPFactory Ltd. and ITOPA Technologies. The well-rounded and tenacious professional began her career as a Supervisor at ServiceMaster where she hired, trained, and motivated 60+ telemarketers.

Ms. Cooley's philanthropic endeavors have extended beyond helping individuals have better lives. One of her major philanthropic concerns has been helping victims of abuse. To this end, she led the Press Dept. for the Are Your Children Protected Foundation, conducting reports around the world in multiple languages, working with advocates, and interviewing victims, public figures, or topic experts. With a keen interest in current affairs and global issues that affect mankind, Axel also volunteered as an investigative reporter for NetGracia Radio, handling LIVE newscasts and authoring thousands of articles widely syndicated. As the current Vice-Chair of the Education Committee for the MHCC, she looks to motivate minority entrepreneurs. With Christ as her foundation, she takes pride in proceeding as a citizen of love, power, self-control and is often referred to as an "inextinguishable light filled with joy". Her most powerful weapon? Genuine friendship and love.


Eze Ejelonu, Business Consultant, First Data/Huntington Bank

	Eze	Ejelonu	Born in Buena State, Nigeria, Eze Ejelonu relocated to Michigan at the age of five with his family to pursue a better education and opportunities that extended beyond his current reach. He instilled the never quit attitude since he was a child and overcame much adversity and negative influence while spending most of his adolescent life in Pontiac, MI. Eze eventually graduated from Pontiac Central High School where he excelled in music arts and sports.

As a result of achieving a high level of perseverance, Eze attended Ferris State University and became a graduate of Michigan State University in 2005. He successfully juggled the difficulty of being a student athlete as a member of the Michigan State Football Program and community leader. Eze has and still continues to be involved in numerous organizations throughout the community including the NAACP Young Adult Committee, the Institute for Black Male Achievement, a Detroit Charter member of the New Leaders Council, Michigan Democratic Party, Michigan Democratic Black Caucus, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, Charles H. Wright of African American History, and was a award recipient for the Michigan Front Page 40 under 40.


Angela Fortino, Business Development Representative, Detroit Regional Chamber

	Angela	Fortino	Angela Fortino is an economic developer + urban strategist with a Bachelor's of Science in Geography, Cum Laude, from Western Michigan University and a Master's of Urban Planning in Physical Planning and Design, Social Justice Honors, from Taubman College, University of Michigan. Her studies in geography, cultural preservation, community empowerment, urban planning and design have led to interdisciplinary projects based in the United States, Tribal and Indian Land, Iceland and Mexico. As a project planner over the past six years, Fortino has collaborated and led economic revitalization strategies, regional business attraction strategies, small business incubator models, transit oriented development and public space proposals. Fortino is currently based in Detroit. As a project manager she has lead real estate developments, market feasibility studies, facade programs and brown field work plans. Projects include: the Woodward Garden Historic Theater and Garden Apartment developments, The Children's Center Campus Feasibility Study, Blood Run Creek Greenway and the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy's Commercial District Redevelopment Initiative.

Currently, she is a business attraction representative for the Detroit Regional Chamber and works with companies and developers looking to expand and invest in the Detroit Region. Fortino's clients are both domestic and global, including American, Canadian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, and German companies. In this capacity, Fortino also manages the Detroit Regional Chamber's Business Attraction Strategy for regional attraction and development in partnership with the 11 counties of Southeast Michigan. Fortino's varied experiences are intentional as she seeks opportunities to stabilize the local economy, lead commercial district and community revitalization while using her experiences with physical planning, community engagement, business attraction and real estate development.


Sean Harness, Buyer, General Motors, Inc.

	Sean	Harness	Confident. Charismatic. Concise. Creative. In short, these are just a few words that describe Sean Harness, a well exposed young professional from the metro-Detroit area. Sean is a first generation college graduate with a strong passion for youth mentorship, enticing cuisine and international travel. His expertise includes but is not limited to: Project Management, Design Engineering, Technical Writing, Business Strategy, Relationship Development, Change Management, Competitive Benchmarking and Cost Management. Sean currently works as a Buyer within the General Motors Global Purchasing and Supply Chain division. Harness manages approximately $400 million in annual spend across the Corvette, Volt, Camaro, Equinox as well as many other car and truck chassis programs. His major responsibilities include strategic negotiation, contract management and global supplier development. Additionally, Sean has had the unique opportunity to work as a Global Sourcing Manager and Process Improvement Manager with Caterpillar and Intel Corporation respectively. Harness was born in Chicago, IL although he spent most of his time growing up in the historic city of Detroit.

Sean is a 2013 graduate of the Broad School of Management at MSU (Michigan State University). In addition to his MBA, he holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering, also from MSU. Just last year Sean completed two business study abroad trips to Europe and Africa. In his leisure Harness dedicates his time and energy to service. Sean has volunteered for programs like the City of Lansing Boys and Girls Club, DAPCEP (Detroit-area pre-college engineering program), Meals on Wheels, The Ideal Education Foundation and COTS (Coalition of Temporary Shelters). Sean recently started a company, Harnessing Innovation, LLC. with a major focus on the critical thinking, leadership and communication aspects of inner-city youth development. Harness is very excited about the transformation Detroit is currently beginning to undergo and has a strong belief that youth education is the key to successful economic sustainability in the future.


Adrienne Hill, Education Improvement Consultant, Wayne RESA

	Adrienne	Hill	Adrienne Hill is an emerging leader in education reform. Currently, she is an Education Improvement Consultant for Wayne County Regional Education Service Agency. Her role is to provide support and coordinate reform efforts to school districts and schools throughout Wayne County. This work requires Adrienne to work with closely and collaboratively with the Michigan Department of Education and other Intermediate School Districts across the state. Her special roles include, Intervention Specialist, School Improvement Facilitator, Professional Development Provider and Coordinator and Monitor and Trainer of Instructional Coaches. Ms. Hill is national trained by The Northwest Evaluation Association), Johns Hopkins University Parent and Community Partnerships, and Pearson Education Professional Learning Communities. Adrienne began her education career in 2003 as middle school English Language Arts teacher in the Romulus Community School District in Romulus Michigan. Throughout her career in Romulus Adrienne taught 7th through 12th grades, took on multiple leadership roles and facilitated significant student achievement improvement through a multimillion dollar Federal School Improvement Grant.

Adrienne spent her childhood in Inkster, MI, attended Wayne Memorial High school in Wayne, MI before attending the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1999. She received her Master's of Science in Education Leadership from Concordia University in Ann Arbor, MI in 2007 and is currently in working on her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership, at the University of Michigan, Dearborn. Adrienne is the proud parent of two sons, Jackson (10) and Kent (7).


Modeira Johnson, CEO, Owner & CEO of iCloud Intelligent Business Solutions

	Modeira	Johnson	With nearly 20 years of IT experience, Modeira Johnson is the CEO and Founder of iCloud Intelligent Business Solutions, LLC, a Michigan-based IT Managed Service Provider company that had its name prior to Apple, Inc. In addition to being a Managed Service Provider, iCloud also has an online IT training school with 6 campuses throughout the Metropolitan Detroit area, training and certifying participants as Enterprise Desktop Support Technicians, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers, Email and Database Solution Specialists, Network and Security Engineers, and Virtualization Experts.

Modeira also has a weekly, live motivational broadcast titled "I believe - the greatest belief that you can have is the belief that you can". He is also an inventor with a product that has the potential to be as revolutionary as the iPhone. Modeira is passionate about making the lives of others better by helping people to develop their natural leadership abilities and to promote self-awareness. His core belief to his success is "Whatever I don't know, I will learn, and whatever I don't have, I will create." He is a self-taught businessman and professional IT Consultant.


Marcus Jones, Director, Detroit Training Center

	Marcus	Jones


Marcus is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a Master of Science Ð Environmental Policy and Masters of Urban Planning degrees. His previous experience is in real estate and green building, with 8+ years of experience in both residential and commercial real estate, serving as a real estate and green building consultant. He also holds a LEED Green Associates Certification, demonstrating his knowledge of sustainable construction.

Marcus currently serves on the board for the Green Schools Committee for the Detroit Regional Chapter at the U.S. Green Building Council. His previous position was with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council. Marcus is also the Director of the Detroit Training Center, serving as the Director of the organization.



Rakiba Mitchell, School School Counselor, Detroit Public Schools

	Rakiba	Mitchell	Rakiba Mitchell is a licensed professional counselor currently serving as senior school counselor in the Detroit Public Schools. She earned her Master of Arts in Counseling in 2005 from Wayne State University, where she specialized in both School and Community Counseling. Ms. Mitchell also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education in 2000 from the University of Michigan, where she concentrated in Elementary Education with a major in Literacy Arts and a minor in Fine Arts. In addition to her license and two degrees, Ms. Mitchell also is certified in Language Arts K-5 (6-8 self-contained); Fine Arts K-8; School Counseling K-12; a California teaching certification and pending certifications (2015) in Post-Secondary Planning and in the state of New York. Over the course of almost fifteen years she has held various positions in three different districts (Oak Park Schools, Southfield Public and Detroit Public) servicing students as Art Instructor, Language Arts Instructor, Middle School Counselor, Ninth Grade Counselor, and High School Counselor. She also has experience at every grade level (elementary, middle and high) and has worked in various settings (traditional, small school, magnet, alternative, and school of choice).

Some of her accomplishments include: Support Staff Person of the Year, recognition yearly as an Impact Educator for the Detroit Public Schools at the Superintendent's 3.5 Banquet, nominated to receive a scholarship for a post-secondary training course through MCAN (Michigan College Action Network), selected by the College Board to present at the 2014 College Board Forum in Las Vegas, and co-chair of the MACAC (Michigan Association of College Admissions Counselors) 2015 Urban Counselor's Workshop. Ms. Mitchell was also selected to represent Detroit Public Schools Office of Guidance and Counseling as a speaker at the 2014 Michigan Kinship Care Conference. She is the coordinator and facilitator of the Greekology 101 Forum held each year with the purpose of exposing, educating and encouraging dialogue between high school seniors and undergraduate students who are members of the nine black fraternities and sororities that comprise the NPHC (National Pan-Hellenic Council) and promote active involvement in student organizations at the collegiate level. Aside from her role as an educator Ms. Mitchell is also an artist who recently had one of her pieces featured at the "What Teacher's Create Art Exhibition" at the Art Institute of Michigan. She also is Co-Founder/Administrator of Caribbean Greeks; a social network for members of Greek organizations who are of West Indian heritage.


Jay Rayford, Dream Director, The Future Project

	Jay	Rayford	Founder of Social Sushi, Jay is born and raised in Detroit. He is a Detroit Public School Alumni (Cody High School), BMe (Black Male Engagement) Leader, two time Spirit of Detroit Awardee and most recently a Dream Director with The Future Project to work with inspiring high school students to find their passions, dreams and create steps to take action immediately. Jay left Detroit for about 5 years to do work as an electrical engineer living in Florida, New York and Pennsylvania.

While away, he was able to see Detroit from the outside looking in and saw the potential for incredible impact. After sharing thoughts of returning to the city with family and friends, Jay was met with a sense of hopelessness and told it would be best not to return. Deeply troubled by this, Jay was determined to return and focus full time on engaging all aspects of what creates Detroit's sense of place and connecting new and current Detroiters to opportunity, to community and to each other. With growing staples in the social media realm both online and off, his social entrepreneurship ventures are poised to be a leading contributor to igniting the flame in giving back to various communities through a 5 point system that each endeavor embarks: Community, Talent, Business, Youth and Opportunity.


Lawrence Robinson, Program Assistant (FOCIS), Director of Field Operations (ADP), Wayne State University - Forum On Contemporary Issues in Society

	Lawrence	Robinson	Lawrence B. Robinson Jr. is a Program Assistant and Director of Field Operations for the Forum On Contemporary Issues in Society (FOCIS) program at Wayne State University (WSU). In addition, Lawrence serves as a mentor to several Detroit area teens through the Big Brother Big SisterÕs Metro Detroit organization, the Winning Futures program at Cass Technical High School, and the Detroit Urban League College Club program. In the Fall of 2015, Lawrence will start the WSU School of Social Work Master's program with his concentration being "Innovation in Community, Policy, and Leadership." His mission is to develop and effectively manage organizations that serve youth in urban communities.

Born and raised in Saginaw, Michigan, Lawrence moved to Detroit after high school to pursue a higher education at Wayne State University. As an undergraduate student Lawrence served two terms as President of the Student African American Brotherhood WSU Chapter which is dedicated to "Saving Lives, and Salvaging Dreams" of African American and Latino males, graduating them from college within 4 to 6 years. In addition, Lawrence served as a Residential Advisor for 3 years, a Student Senator, and founded the Wayne State Detroit Style Ballroom Organization. During his academic endeavors Lawrence traveled to the country of Ghana in 2012, where I had the privilege of conducting a two week research project with Ghanaian college students titled "Future Hopes, and Dreams: Young Ghanaians." In May of 2014, Lawrence became the first male in his family to earn a BachelorÕs Degree from a four-year institution, his major being Psychology with a minor in Business Administration. During the summer of 2014 Lawrence added to his professional experience by serving as a College Math Literacy Worker with The Young People's Project of Michigan, and as a Servant Leader Intern for the ChildrenÕs Defense Fund Freedom Schools program.

Most importantly, he has discovered his passion. Lawrence is dedicated to advancing the world through service to youth and their surrounding communities. Encouraging young people to step outside their comfort zone, utilize their resources, and develop a personal relationship with God. Lawrence has appeared on Detroit Channel 4 News, Channel 7 ABC News, and was interviewed by Ebony Magazine to be recognized for his efforts in mentoring and serving others.


Brittany Stallworth, Corporate Admin Fellow, Beaumont Health System

Brittany Stallworth is a native Detroiter and a Howard University graduate with a passion for the environment and health. While attending Howard University, Brittany created the "Green is the New Black" campaign centered around environmental justice and health. After graduating from Howard University, Brittany participated in a fellowship at the National Cancer Institute where she helped organize an environmental health education program for children from low-income families in Washington D.C.

After realizing she could make an impact in her hometown, Brittany returned to the city of Detroit to participate in the Challenge Detroit Fellowship. Challenge Detroit is a program that encourages social entrepreneurship among young professionals in the city of Detroit. As a part of the Challenge Detroit program, Brittany works for Beaumont Health System in the corporate office. As an aspiring physician, she plans to use all of her experiences in health education, research, and administration to become a well-rounded, empathetic doctor. She has a passion for being involved in the community and wishes to impact change within the community at a policy level. Brittany is motivated by the indelible mark that the citizens of Detroit have made on her life, and is determined to practice medicine and spread health in the city.


Robert Thomas, Vice Chairman Board of Zoning & Appeals, City of Detroit

	Robert	Thomas	Robert E. Thomas is a first generation college graduate and former foster youth of the State of Michigan. He has experienced a multitude of placements with foster and group homes. Entering the system at the age of 6 and exiting out at the age of 14. Robert emancipated when he was 15 years old, and worked to support himself while finishing Detroit Northwestern High School. Robert went on to obtain his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in (2001) and his Masters in Science in Industrial Technology Manufacturing Systems (2004) from North Carolina A&T State University. Upon graduation, Robert served as a lead engineer for Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News, VA, as a jet fuel engineer and project manager on the new generation nuclear aircraft carriers. Robert also worked at Alion Science and Technology as senior engineer and Major Area Team Lead for Naval Sea Systems Command next generation nuclear submarines. In addition, Robert has experience with the United States Patent and Trademark Office as a Patent Examiner in the heating fluids, reactor vessel arts.

As a civic leader, mentor and respected industry advocate, Mr. Thomas has an innate passion for serving his community. In addition to these great accomplishments, Mr. Thomas has continuously been placed in leadership positions. His organizational affiliations include; Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Grand Tribunal (International Judicial & Disciplinary Board), 100 Black Men - Virginia Peninsula, The National Society of Black Engineers ÐAlumni Extension, the Student Division of the American Bar Association, City of Newport News Planning Commission Ð District Task Force, City of Newport News Social Services Advisory Board, and currently a board member of Minority Males of Higher Education, The State of Michigan Ð Foster Care Review Board, Foster Care Alumni of America - Michigan Chapter President, Member of the Foster Care Work Group (FCWG) of the Youth Transitions Funders Group (YTFG), Michigan Political Leadership Program (MPLP) 2014 Fellow, and the Vice-Chairman of the City of Detroit Board of Zoning Appeals as well as various other boards.


Treasure Thomas, Community Development Specialist, National Community Stabilization Trust

	Treasure	Thomas	A native to the city of Detroit, Treasure M. Thomas is an urban planning and community development professional who works to provide affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents throughout the city. As Community Development Specialist at the National Community Stabilization Trust, Treasure leads collaborative efforts to support NCST community partners in the acquisition and remediation of distressed housing within the context of Detroit's strategic land use framework. She is also Principal and Owner of Public Asset Management Consulting, LLC, a real estate consulting firm specializing in strategic management of government-owned real property assets. Prior to, she worked as an Assistant Program Manager for the Detroit Public Schools' Office of Real Estate where she managed, sold and leased former school buildings for one of the most distressed real estate portfolios in the state of Michigan.

Treasure is a graduate of Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, where she earned a Master of Public Administration, and also holds a BachelorÕs degree in Public Relations from Central Michigan University. She is also a licensed real estate broker in the state of Michigan. Beyond her professional commitments, Treasure volunteers with local nonprofit food distributors to feed hungry families in the metropolitan Detroit area.


Parker Tracey, Multi-State Government Affairs Manager, DTE Energy

	Parker	Tracey	Originally from the Detroit area, Parker Tracey graduated with honors from the University of Michigan and spent over a decade in Washington DC, working on both Capitol Hill and as an advocate. With extensive experience in electoral politics and public policy at the federal, state and local levels, Parker is the first to hold a multi-state government affairs position for DTE Energy. Representing a multi-billion dollar diversified energy company in nineteen states, Parker spends a great deal of time on the road, doing her part to keep the nationÕs lights on. As a Congressional Committee staffer, Parker was responsible for analyzing policy and crafting legislation pertaining to Native American issues. While working for the electric power industry, Parker helped guide legislative and regulatory initiatives before Congress and the Administration. Working to transition the utility sector to a clean energy future, Parker's work focused on emerging technologies, at-risk customer issues, and electric transportation. Parker also has campaign experience, having worked for the Nevada Democratic Coordinated Campaign in 2000. Spotlighted in three editions of The Almanac of the Unelected, Parker regularly presents on energy and environmental policy at events including the National Women's Leadership Summit, industry conferences, and the occasional high school career day. Parker has sat on the boards of the National Fuel Funds Network and WomenÕs Energy Resources Council. Fueled by a mean curiosity streak and desire to make an impact, Parker has facilitated leadership programs with The LeaderShape Institute and worked with students through the Hoop Dreams Scholarship Fund. She is currently a mentor with Winning Futures.

A former competitive figure skater, Division I runner, Krav Maga student, and Core Fusion instructor, Parker has a passion for movement. She holds a variety of athletic certifications and enjoys helping others create strong bodies that are ready for everything. When she's not exploring cities by bike or feeling old at concerts, you can find her plotting her next mountain-based adventure.


Royda Urey, President, Valiant Public Relations & Events

	Royda	Urey	Royda P. Urey is the CEO and founder of Valiant Public Relations & Events. Born in Brooklyn, New York to Liberian parents she spent her child hood in Liberia, Maryland, and Michigan. Graduating from Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI) with a B.A. in Public Relations, Royda is working towards a MasterÕs Degree in Management from Walsh College.

Before founding Valiant Public Relations & Events, urey held a position at Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) as District Director of Public Relations. Also holding, the position of Director of Public Relations of the not-for-profit organization ÒWe R LoveÓ, founded by Louis Delmas of the Detroit Lions. Working with this non-profit has been a large accomplishment and many events and initiatives have been very successful. Playing an intricate role in planning and executing several fundraisers that have benefited the underprivileged. The biggest success thus far has been the partnership she established with We R Love and another not-for-profit World Wide Shelters (WWS). Through this partnership We R Love was able to donate two shelters to the devastated country of Haiti who experienced a devastating earthquake early in 2010. Having all the qualities of a well rounded public relations professional, the knowledge of the public relations and marketing field, good standing on the Detroit networking scene, and the love of sports and entertainment it was only natural to venture into this niche. Working with organizations such as WCCCD, Women Healing Women, Greektown Casino-Hotel, the City of Detroit, and the Detroit Mayor's Office (Bing Administration) has positioned Urey with the knowledge and experience that will poise for many future successes in the field. With a vivacious passion for her work and the public relations field Urey continues to work toward becoming a top professional in her field.

Experience, education, and quest for gaining more knowledge proves the commitment to the continued success of Valiant Public Relations & Events and its clients, by utilizing the expertise acquired through real life experiences and practical knowledge applied to her position improving her skill set, client and public relations.


Eboni Wells, Public Policy Fellow, The Skillman Foundation 

Eboni Wells is a public policy fellow at the Skillman Foundation. In her role, Eboni manages special public policy projects and conducts research on public policy issues affecting neighborhoods and children. Prior to her start at the Skillman Foundation, Eboni received her master’s degree from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Ms. Wells received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor with a double major in Political Science and African & African-American Studies and a minor in International and Comparative Studies. Eboni is a native Detroiter, a product of Detroit Public Schools and has intentionally established her interests in the intersection of community development and public policy.