Meet the 2017 Detroit Fellows
(back to NLC 2017 Fellows)
Tabitha Bentley, Graduate Student Researcher / Consultant University Of Michigan / Washtenaw Intermediate School District
Tabitha Bentley is currently an Education Consultant for Washtenaw County Intermediate School District (WISD) in which she serves as the Partnership Facilitator for Washtenaw County's My Brother's Keeper Initiative. In her 3 years of consulting for WISD, Tabitha has worked as a strategic planner for the district's priority and focus schools, developed transitional and school reconfiguration plans for school leaders after two local districts' annexation, and has investigated and facilitated conversations with school leaders across the state on international approaches to improving school systems. Tabitha is a Education Pioneers Fellow, in which she worked in Chicago Public Schools' Office of Diverse Learners Supports and Services to investigate, analyze, and later create a comprehensive plan to remedy the districts' school assignment process for students with severe special needs. Yet Tabitha started her career working directly with students; teaching 8th grade reading in Denver, Colorado and Miami, Florida. She has worked as an interim college counselor at Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men in Englewood, Chicago, and later transitioned to a cross-sector space where she managed Aim High, a college-readiness and mentorship program for Chicago Public school students. Prior to transitioning moving to Michigan, Tabitha worked as a teacher and administrator recruiter for Civitas Schools, a charter school network in Chicago. Tabitha holds a B.S. in Social Policy from Northwestern University and a Master's in Public Policy from the University of Michigan. She is currently finishing her doctoral studies in Education, Innovation, and Policy at the University of Michigan. Tabitha is a musician, and teaches piano and violin. She is also in the process of developing a mobile application. She is passionate about systematic change in education, and understands the power of relationships and connection in producing change. She is highly committed to creating the best educational opportunities for students of color, and plans to use her insight, knowledge, and relationships to sustain this commitment.
Angel Brown, Market Development Manager, Coca-Cola Refreshments
Angel M. Brown is a native of Detroit and a Market Development Manager for one of the top beverage companies in the world, Coca-Cola. Her territory includes downtown Detroit and Grosse Pointe, which has allowed her to establish and build relationships with some major corporations in a city in which she loves. Angel is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University with her undergrad in Business Administration and she also received her MBA from Keller Graduate School of DeVry University. While she is all about business and entrepreneurship, she is also a Servant Leader at heart who cares very deeply for the youth;especially young women who come from where she comes from. She is the Founder and President of a servant leadership, non-profit organization, E.L.I.T.E. Women, which stands for Encourage, Lead, Influence, Triumph, and Empower Women. The pillars of the organization are community, collaborate, mentor, and service, in which she stay true to by providing at least 1000+ hours per year towards. Angel is also a newly published Author of, "Fatherless Daughter: A Different Perspective," in which she not only share her story of fatherlessness, but the stories of five other women and even includes a Psychologist perspective. The book came about because of the women and young girls she has mentored over the past three years, in which most have come from a fatherless home. She wanted to provide a tangible tool to aid in forgiveness and healing. She also is an active member of the Detroit Branch NAACP, serving as Co-Advisor of Youth Council. Overall, Angel's mantra is, "We are blessed to be a blessing." She believes that we are all on earth, not for ourselves, but for those around us. She strives to strengthen her relationship with God, while doing the great works He has set out for her life.
Veronica Farley-Seybert, Program Analyst III, City of Detroit
Veronica Farley-Seybert, is a highly motivated and passionate civil servant with a passion for improving the lives of those around her. A graduate of Hope College in 2005 and Michigan State University College of Law in 2008. After graduation, Veronica career began practicing labor law before she transitioned into working in economic development. As a program analyst, Veronica helps package tax incentive deals for real estate development in the City of Detroit. As a founding board member of Cardz for Kidz, Inc., Veronica was able to help create a organization that helps uplift the spirit of children across the world.
Dorothy Heebner, Associate Attorney, Miller, Canfield, Paddock, & Stone, PLC
Dorothy is an associate in the Public Finance group at the law firm of Miller, Canfield, Paddock, and Stone, PLC. She is involved in matters relating to public entity financing, including municipal infrastructure finance and school finance. She also prepares advice for governmental clients on general matters, including intergovernmental collaborations, legislative drafting, and election law and campaign finance compliance. Dorothy is a proud "double Wolverine," having attended law school and undergrad at the University of Michigan. As a law student, she was the president of the Detroit-focused student organization, JDs in the D, and completed a dual masters degree in Chinese Studies. Before law school, Dorothy taught English in an elementary school in rural Taiwan for one year through the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program. Dorothy is an active member of the Detroit Bar Association and lives on the city's east side.
Quentin Henry, Sales Consultant, Tamaroff Motors
Quentin Henry is a life long metro Detroiter, and seasoned business leader with over 15 years of business experience in various industries. Quentin is passionate about the needs and goals of his clients. Mr. Henry is currently the co-owner of the Carter Henry Group, a boutique public relations firm, were he serves as the Executive Vice-President of Operations and Planning. His company specializes in the areas of Political Branding, Community Relations, and Campaign Management. He has just finished his role as lead campaign strategist for Lily Cavanagh, the newly re-elected treasurer of the Charter Township of Redford. Quentin has a passion for volunteering and community outreach, having teamed up with the likes of the Detroit Medical Center, Habitat for Humanity, and Gleaners Food Bank to name a few. Mr. Henry also works at Tamaroff Motors as a Sales Consultant. Where he is a highly motivated and successful sales professional that works diligently to provide a world class experience for all of his clients. For the 2016 calendar year his 5 member team has generated over 2 million dollars in profit. Being one of the highest grossing divisions at the dealership. A shining product of Detroit Public Schools, Quentin is looking forward to attending Wayne State University, majoring in Political Science specializing in Urban Policy for the summer semester of 2017.
Edwina King, Policy Analyst, City of Detroit
Edwina S. King is a proud native Detroiter and has made it her mission to give back to the city that continues to give her so much. With over a decade of policy experience, she currently serves as a Policy Analyst for the Hon. James E. Tate, Jr.; Detroit City Council- District 1. In this position, she advises Council Member Tate on public policy affecting public safety, quality of life, budgetary issues and auditing, addressing and resolving constituent relations and drafting and reviewing drafting ordinances and policy proposals and serves as a member of the Detroit City Council Immigration Task Force and the Detroit City Council Task Force on Black Male Engagement. In addition, Edwina serves as the project liaison for DI$COVER D1, a small business initiative aimed at improving economic revitalization through community engagement within Detroit City Council District 1. Since joining DI$COVER D1, she was a part of the team that received a $100,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to expand buy local incentives and provide valuable resources to business owners within the district and was integral in creating the first comprehensive business directory within a City Council district. Edwina is a proud alumna of Howard University – Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (with a concentration in Pre-Law and Black Politics and a minor in French) and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law- Juris Doctor. During her matriculation, she was involved in several organizations including the Political Science Society, Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, Inc. - Zeta Phi Chapter, Charles H. Hamilton Pre-Law Society, Pro-Bono Students of Canada, Windsor Law Review of Legal and Social Issues, the Immigration Law Clinic, and several bar associations. In addition, Edwina served as the Director of the 2nd Annual International Negotiations Competition, as a member of the International Relations Committee, a member of the Ralph Bunche International Delegation to Haiti. Edwina is a member of several civic professional, civic and community based organizations including the NAACP, NCNW, UAW, UNCF-Detroit Inter Alumni Council, North Rosedale Park Community Association and Greater Grace Temple (Christian Education Ministry). Due to her civic engagement, she is the recipient of the Spirit of Detroit Award and the Wayne County Certificate of Leadership Award. In her personal time, she enjoys traveling- visiting over 40 countries and 6 out of 7 continents- theatre, fine cuisine, shopping, volunteering and new and exciting adventures.
Demar Lewis, Special Projects Project Leader, Detroit Health Department-City of Detroit
Demar F. Lewis IV was born in Los Angeles, CA and spent the majority of his childhood in Denver, CO. After graduating from Regis Jesuit High School, he moved to Minnesota to pursue undergraduate studies at the University of St. Thomas where he had the opportunity to be involved with numerous student organizations, mentoring programs, study abroad opportunities, and leadership roles. Demar graduated from St. Thomas with a BA in International Business and a minor in American Cultural Studies in 2011. Professionally, Demar has acquired skills and experiences over the last 5+ years spanning the private and nonprofit sectors in corporate finance, process improvement consulting, project management, partnership building, and institutional policymaking. Currently, he is serving as a Project Lead in the Special Projects Division of the Detroit Health Department. In this role, he provides program development, operational consulting, and fundraising expertise to mobilize new initiatives as identified by the Health Department's Health Officer or individual division administrators. Additionally, Demar is beginning to build a reputation as a rising academic and intellectual with an agenda focused on issues at the nexus of prisoner reentry, stratification/inequality, and racial politics. As a graduate student at the University of Michigan, he presented his research at Northwestern University, the London School of Economics & Political Science, and other national conferences. At the National Center For Institutional Diversity, Demar provided research, survey design, and relationship management expertise while supporting the Center's national conferences and ongoing activities. He has three publications, including a feature in the 2016 Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy. Demar is the former Managing & Special Issue Editor of the Michigan Journal of Public Affairs and was a Contributing Editor to the 2015 edition of the Princeton Journal of Public or International Affairs. Demar is a proud initiate of the Psi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., a McNair Scholar, a Vincentian Volunteers of Cincinnati Alumni, and an Associate Program Fellow with the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers. He is a 2016 MPP Alumni of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and was recently elected to serve on the Ford School's Alumni Board. In his spare time, Demar enjoys CrossFit, cooking, and time with his partner--Mary--friends, and family. Over the next few years, Demar is interested in launching entrepreneurial endeavors that provide structural support and economic opportunities for underemployed or formerly incarcerated individuals.
Dexter Mason, Regional Director of Events & Programming, Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE)
Dexter Mason serves as a Regional Director of Events & Programming at the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE). It is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to unifying the power of sport to improve race relations. Previously, Dexter was a Political Appointee in the Office of Management & Administration at The White House during President Barack H. Obama's Administration and a Staff Assistant in the Office of U.S. Senator Gary C. Peters (MI). Currently, Dexter actively volunteers as a Business Professional Mentor for the FATE Program, a four-year, cohort-based program for high school students in northwest Detroit. Ultimately, Dexter wants to be a catalyst in the intersection of sports and corporate social responsibility, labor relations, diplomacy, and race relations. In addition, he wants to use his passion, experiences, and skill sets to promote and increase diversity within professional sports organizations and collegiate athletic departments. Hailing from Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan, Dexter earned his Master of Professional Studies degree in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University in December 2014. Additionally, Dexter is a 2013 graduate of the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sport Management. During his time at Michigan, Dexter served as President of the Sport Business Association, Student Manager for the Men's Basketball team and proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Arielle Milton, Program Assistant, The Kresge Foundation
Arielle Milton is a member of the Human Services and American Cities Practice program teams at The Kresge Foundation, a $3.5 billion private, national foundation in Troy, Michigan. She joined the foundation in 2016, with a passion for supporting the expansion of opportunities for those commonly deprived in society. As a member of the Human Services and American Cities Practice teams, Arielle acts as the information and support nucleus, managing, processing and tracking various grant making activities of program staff. She serves as an internal and external liaison for ongoing programming efforts and provides technical support to colleagues, grantees and partners. Arielle has dedicated her career to seeking learning opportunities that promote the improvement of life outcomes for children, youth and families in vulnerable communities. Before joining The Kresge Foundation, Arielle spent over four years at The Skillman Foundation in Detroit, Michigan, providing technical assistance to the program department's four strategy areas of safety, youth development, community leadership and education. Arielle is a graduate of The University of Michigan with a degree in sociology and a minor in political science. She recently earned a master's degree in public administration from Michigan's Rackham Graduate School with a focus on leadership and organizational development. Arielle is an active member of several professional affiliations, including the Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (Michigan Steering Committee Co-Chair), Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (Detroit Chapter Board Chair), The Council of Michigan Foundations, Michigan Forum for African Americans in Philanthropy, National Council for Responsive Philanthropy, American Society of Public Administration, Detroit Young Professionals, The National Council for Negro Women and the University of Michigan Alumni Association.
Mary Naoum, MSW Candidate, University of Michigan
Mary Naoum is pursuing her dual-master's degree in social work and public policy at the University of Michigan. Before starting her graduate studies, she served as the southeast Michigan outreach coordinator for the Citizen's Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending, organizing educational events in Detroit and surrounding communities. As an undergraduate at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Mary focused her studies on arts for social change, dedicating her time to community arts empowerment initiatives in Detroit and facilitating arts workshops in various youth and adult detention centers in southeast Michigan. Mary also has extensive experience in youth development: at the U-M School of Social Work, she was selected to be a National Community Scholar, a program that prepares social work professionals to enable young people and adult allies in creating community change. As a National Community Scholar, Mary developed and co-facilitated a political leadership fellowship to encourage high school girls of color to pursue careers in civic engagement and public office through State Representative Stephanie Chang's district service center. Mary is also a David Bohnett Leadership and Public Service Fellow through the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, a competitive award that enables Ford School students to apply their policy training to benefit the people and government of the City of Detroit. Mary currently lives in Detroit. Her professional interests include youth development, criminal justice reform, immigration advocacy, and policymaking for equitable community and economic development.
Heather Olden, Epidemiologist II, Henry Ford Health System
Heather is currently an Epidemiologist and Project Manager for the Department of Public Health Sciences at Henry Ford Health System (HFHS). Specifically she works with the Patient-Engaged Research Center (PERC) which aims to build a sustainable resource for patient-centered outcomes research at HFHS. A Durham, North Carolina native, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from Hampton University, and a Master of Public Health in International Health Epidemiology from the University of Michigan. For her thesis at the University of Michigan, she conducted original research on the relationship between asthma, exercise, obesity and barriers to exercise among 20-22 year old young adults in Santiago, Chile. She also traveled to Grenada where she developed and facilitated education modules on cancer, diabetes, diet and exercise for hotel resort staff and presented on the effectiveness of the education modules to high-level resort management. At HFHS, she serves as the Coordinator for the Patient Advisor Program and is responsible for ensuring PERC engages patients through many modalities including focus groups, in-depth interviews, and by recruiting Patient Advisors. Patient Advisors are patients, family members and caregivers who participate as partners on Councils and committees around the Health System to bring the patient voice to the table and ensure that all decisions made have the patient perspective represented. In the two years Heather has been working as the Patient Advisor Coordinator she has recruited, trained and placed over 300 Patient Advisors throughout HFHS and has engaged an active, diverse, and representative group of patients and their caregivers as Advisors. Outside of her work at Henry Ford, she is a member of the Eastern Market Cultivation Committee which strives to fundraise, engage the Detroit young professional community, and strengthen Eastern Market's presence and impact in the non-profit realm. She is a member of the NAACP Young Adult Committee, a Big Sister with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit and also serves on the Executive Board of the Detroit Chapter of the National Hampton Alumni Association. She is the owner of Bella Blossoms, LLC, a small business that specializes in designing and producing handmade home and event décor. Heather has aspirations of starting her own non-profit geared towards introducing, engaging, and retaining underrepresented youth in STEM careers. She lives life to the fullest, loves to travel and can't wait to see what the future holds.
Matthew Robb, Law Clerk Damon J. Keith - 6th Circuit Court of Appeals
Matthew Robb currently serves as a clerk to the Honorable Judge Damon J. Keith on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Matthew has committed his life to seeking a fairer, more just society for all people. In 2007, after helping to start a grassroots student group on campus at Michigan State University, Matthew left school to work with Barack Obama's Iowa Caucus staff. He was promoted from Intern to Deputy Field Organizer, empowering hundreds of volunteers, making thousands of voter contacts, and coordinating a historic turnout in five Des Moines precincts. Matthew returned to school where he became the statewide Field Director of Students for Barack Obama in Michigan. During the general election, he left school to organize eight counties, including his hometown in Northern Michigan, where Barack Obama earned historic wins in Leelanau and Benzie Counties. After graduating with honors from MSU's James Madison College, Matthew wrote ""An Unlikely Radical,"" an autobiographical history of his father Dean Robb--a famed civil rights lawyer who was a member of the first interracial law firm in Michigan during the McCarthy Era and Civil Rights Movement. In 2010, Matthew joined Teach for America Detroit, where he taught American History, Civics, Economics, and Civil Rights in Detroit schools. While teaching at Cody High School, Matthew inspired his students to take action to improve their community. His homeroom students led a ""Take Back the Neighborhood Rally"" that garnered support from local non-profits and Detroit City Council. Detroit 20/20 named his class ""Detroit Person of the Week"" and the following year, Life Remodeled donated $5 million to help advance the community vision created by his students. Matthew joined Wayne State Law School in 2013, where he recruited 21 first-year students to partner with Cody High School students to organize a Detroit Youth Symposium in which students could voice local issues to leaders in business, government, and academia. As co-chair of the Keith Students for Civil Rights, Matthew helped organize two Youth Civil Rights Conferences aimed at building cross-cultural conversations surrounding race, identity, and community in Metro Detroit. He graduated Cum Laude from Wayne Law in 2016, and hopes to use his legal education to help people and advocate for a fairer society. Matthew and his wife live in the Woodbridge neighborhood of Detroit and enjoy biking, community events, and getting together with friends to watch sports.
Mechelle Sieglitz, Teacher - World Languages, Kensington Woods Schools
Mechelle Sieglitz is a World Languages Teacher and iOS Developer with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology, International Affairs, and Russian and Eastern European Studies, from Florida State University, a Master of Arts in Religion, from Liberty University, and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Oakland University. Mechelle's experiences have taken her into politics, education, criminal justice, and technology. She began her work in politics at age eight with environmental concerns in her home state of Florida, culminating in a two-year internship with the Florida House of Representatives, and spending the following two years as an advocate for education in the state of Florida. While at Florida State University, Mechelle was heavily involved in the Social Justice Living-Learning Community, serving for two years as a mentor, Alpha Gamma Delta women's fraternity, in which she was the Alumni Coordinator, and Student Government, where she served as a Student Senator. Following graduation, Mechelle worked with Pre-Trial Intervention services with the 7th Judicial Circuit Court in Daytona Beach, FL, working to find alternatives to jail overcrowding, and participated in a fellowship with the Organizing for America campaign. In 2012, Mechelle was accepted into Teach for America, which brought her to Detroit and Mumford High School on the city's west side, where she taught Spanish and a Russian seminar for two years. Following her term of service, Mechelle was accepted into an iOS apprenticeship program, where she learned to program in Objective-C and Swift. She has contributed to six applications currently in the App Store. After two short years in the tech sector, Mechelle returned to teaching and is currently the Spanish and World Language teacher with Kensington Woods Schools. She has also revitalized her interest in politics, particularly in the defense of public education, and sits on the Oakland County Democratic Party Executive Committee.
Marlo Staples, MPP Candidate, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy - University of Michigan
Marlo Staples is an emerging leader in community economic development. Currently, she is a Master of Public Policy Candidate at the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Ms. Staples is a native Detroiter that is passionate about finding ways public policy can support the community development, equity and inclusion in the city. Marlo is a solution-focused professional with years of experience assisting underserved and historically underrepresented populations. She is deeply committed to improving the quality of life in urban areas, helping them become vibrant places to live, work and play. Prior to attending graduate school, Marlo served as an inaugural fellow in Challenge Detroit. As part of this program, she spearheaded human centered design process to create and implement strategies for nonprofit organizations like the United Way for Southeastern Michigan and Matrix Human Services. Marlo also worked as a project manager for TechTown Detroit assisting the organizational governance and program operations for SWOT City, a place-based acceleration initiative for Detroit small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. While working at TechTown, Ms. Staples advised entrepreneurs by setting goals, identifying resources and tactical steps for acceleration and growth. Her clients have gone on to win community grant investment such as NEIdeas and Motor City Match. Marlo Staples graduated from the Mount Holyoke College with a degree in International Relations.
Reda Taleb, Legal Intern, Wayne County Prosecutor's Office
A native Detroiter, Reda Taleb is an accomplished and motivated State Bar of Michigan Candidate, who currently works at the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office in the Preliminary Exams Unit. She is a proud alumnus of Fordson High School, the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School. As a law student, Reda had the distinct honor of interning at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, for the Hon. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Randon, and the Hon. Chief Magistrate Judge R. Steve Whalen. During her time in Chambers, she actively participated in settlement conferences, reviewed search warrants, and researched and drafted legal memoranda on habeas corpus petitions and social security disability cases for judicial orders. Before law school, she worked at the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), the largest Arab American human services nonprofit in the United States. She served as a program coordinator for the Nature in Our Neighborhood project, whereby she collaborated with community stakeholders to promote environmental stewardship, developed project curriculum, assisted in grant funding, and managed a six-figure annual budget. Reda successfully executed the project's goals of recruiting a diverse group of residents from the South End of Dearborn for their participation in creating a school yard habitat, community garden, attending monthly family outings, and a Family Fun Day event that was attended by over 500 residents. Similarly, her passion for improving the quality of life for immigrants and mentorship intersected when she was promoted to project leader of Join In to Revitalize Arab American Neighborhoods (JIRAN), which means ‘neighbors' in the Arabic language. She successfully recruited, trained, and mentored 45 underserved immigrant residents from diverse backgrounds to serve on neighborhood committees, increased voter registration, created graffiti clean-ups, beautification projects, block parties, secured grant funds, and managed an annual six-figure budget. The JIRAN project culminated in a community summit, where participants of the program were awarded certificates for their outstanding commitment to improving the quality of life for their neighborhood, and was attended by 500 guests. Additionally, Reda has mentored underprivileged youth in several local organizations, including serving as a Big Sister with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit. Reda is the proud daughter of Lebanese Muslim immigrants, who in the 1970's fled their war- torn homeland in pursuit of the American Dream. She and her siblings were raised by their faithful, devoted, and loving mother, and overcame extraordinary socio-economic hardships. Reda's mother impressed upon her the importance of higher education, social justice, integrity, faith, humility, volunteerism, and compassion towards self and others. A trailblazer, Reda is the first female attorney in her family, and she passionately embraces that role in changing the trajectory of her family's lineage for future generations. With that same spirit, she is highly equipped and committed to scaffolding emerging minority females, with the goal of promoting their ascension into high level leadership roles in all sectors of society. Specifically, Reda aims to utilize her NLC platform, legal, grassroots organizing, writing, and interpersonal skill sets, to advocate for equal wages for women, and protect the civil rights of minorities. In her free time, she enjoys being Godmother to Adam and Ava, gardening, the outdoors, traveling, cooking, music, fundraising, and volunteering her time with the Federal Bar Association.
Jordan Twardy, Community & Economic Development Director, City of Ferndale
Jordan Twardy, is the Community and Economic Development Director for the City of Ferndale, MI, a progressive suburb of Detroit. He grew up in Warren, Detroit's largest suburb, and studied political science, international relations, and history, before getting his Master's in Urban Planning. Jordan was always passionate about politics and policy craft, even running for Warren City Council in 2007, when he was 21. While he lost that election, Jordan learned a great deal about running campaigns, building a platform and meeting residents face to face. He set off on a path to hone his skills and achieve personal and professional growth. Before taking on his current role in August 2016, Jordan's path took him through multiple leadership roles. He served as Student Body Vice President at Oakland University, and served as Vice President, then President, of the statewide Student Association of Michigan, a consortium of 15 public university student bodies he helped found. After completing his degrees, Jordan worked for, then was ultimately chosen to lead as Executive Director, the regional nonprofit Eight Mile Boulevard Association for nearly three years, and worked in local government for six years prior to that (much of this during his time as a student). Jordan has extensive experience in project management, strategic planning, fundraising and project implementation. In all of these experiences, Jordan has sought to champion increased civic awareness and strategic collaboration toward change. In his current role, and as he looks to the future, Jordan is focused on finding ways to transcend political gridlock through tangible projects. His goal is to help communities articulate their visions and challenges, then help them distill ideas into action that can improve lives and expand opportunity. Jordan's experience has primarily been in working with stakeholders that are fractured and disengaged, whether along Detroit's 8 Mile corridor or in many of Michigan's ideologically “purple” neighborhoods. In those environments, Jordan has found that redefining conversations around core objectives, not ideologies, has been a productive path toward progress, and he plans to continue that approach in his current and future work.
Walter Ward, Corporate Leadership Development Program, Internal Audit & Compliance FCA, US
Walter Ward has a passion for democratizing capitalism and the concept of connecting socially-conscious businesses with the power of the capital markets. Professionally, Walter has ten years of financial services experience; holding positions in Mortgage and Retail Banking, Commercial Banking, Merchant Services and International Treasury Management with Quicken Loans, Bank of America and JPMorgan. He has also worked as a New York based strategy consultant, focused on the financial services industry with boutique consulting firm BTS. While there, he helped to manage an international client portfolio and participated in engagements across the globe, helping high potential leaders understand the financial services industry at an enterprise level. After seven years of traveling and extended engagements in Chicago, Atlanta, DC, and New York, Walter has returned home to Detroit where he currently works for a large automobile manufacturer; identifying financial and operational inefficiencies and leading audit related special projects. As the son of a public school educator, Walter developed his love and passion for education at an early age, receiving a partial scholarship to the prestigious Detroit Country Day School. Today he holds degrees from the School of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University as well as an MBA focused in Finance from Emory's Goizueta Business School in Atlanta, GA. The value of education is something that Walter believes in strongly; dedicating his post graduate school summer, to become a summer fellow for Education Pioneers in Washington, DC and fight for education reform. While a summer fellow, He worked for a $30MM social investment fund that provided debt financing to purchase and renovate charter school facilities. As an entrepreneur, Walter started and learned from two failed self-funded business ventures. ""Blue Flame"", an event productions company started while at Michigan State, operated for three years producing “parties with a purpose”. The second company, ""Gwopple"" was conceptualized as an online funding platform for socially responsible businesses but was stalled due to delays with Title III of President Obama's JOBS act and capital constraints. Personally, Walter is a self-taught equities trader who hopes to one day become a TED speaker and raise an investment fund focused on affordable housing and socially responsible businesses; effectively marrying social good and the capital markets. A native of Detroit, Walter is currently single with no children and enjoys live music, sneaker collecting and traveling to new places with his friends.
Allante Whitmore, Supervisor, Wayne State University
Allante Whitmore is an engineer turned educator and entrepreneur. She studied Biological Engineering at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. During her undergraduate studies, she was exposed to research, focusing on biofuel generation, and has since continued to do research in this area. Allante accepted a full fellowship to pursue a graduate degree in Agricultural & Biological Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2014, she returned to Detroit as the Supervisor of the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program at Wayne State University. Since then, her interest has grown to energy policy and biofuel delivery systems. Allante is the co-host of theHAPPENING, a Detroit based brunch working to create a sense of community amongst the emerging leaders around the city across multiple professional paths.
Miesha Williamson, Engineering Contractor, Ciber
Miesha Williamson is a project management and process improvement professional with automotive manufacturing, energy, and STEM education experience. A transplant to Detroit, she developed a passion for education while working to reform math education in the Detroit Public School system while studying engineering at the University of Michigan. She is the founder of an organization called STEM girl social network. This network looks to expose more young girls to STEM role models by producing online and in-person classes taught by STEM professionals. She is also an elite tutor helping students excel in math, science, and college admissions prep. She has helped many of her students receive near perfect test prep scores and full ride scholarships to the institution of their choices. She hopes to continue to be a champion of STEM education and enter public policy to help reform graduation requirements to include more STEM subjects in public schools and restructure the public school funding model.