Detroit 2018 Fellows

Meet the 2018 Detroit Fellows
(back to NLC 2018 Fellows)

Aidan Ali-Sullivan

Assistant Marketing Manager, General Motors

Detroit_Aidan_Ali-Sullivan_-_Aidan_Ali-Sullivan.jpgAidan is an assistant marketing manager at General Motors currently working on the Chevrolet US truck team and is currently in his first year of a three-year rotational management development program (TRACK) with General Motors. Aidan grew up in the California Bay Area and completed dual undergraduate B.A. degrees at the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science and Urban Planning. After graduation Aidan was selected as one of twenty individuals to join the California Capitol Fellows Program as a Senate Fellow. While working in Sacramento, Aidan served as a legislative consultant to the Senate Committee on Local Government and had six bills he consulted on signed by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Upon completing the Senate Fellows program, Aidan accepted a position with the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs beginning at the Embassy of Canada in Washington, DC and then the Consulate General of Canada in San Francisco, CA. Serving as a political and economic relations officer, Aidan represented the interests of Canada to both California and Hawaii federal, state, and local government officials. After five years with the Canadian Government, Aidan returned to academia to pursue graduate studies at the University of Chicago. He completed both his M.P.P at the Harris School of Public Policy and M.B.A at the Booth School of Business, earning scholarships to both including a full tuition Fellowship to the Harris School. While in graduate school Aidan completed two summer internships, first as a Google Policy Fellow in San Francisco and subsequently a role with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle. Prior to starting his role with General Motors he also completed a summer program with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in Palo Alto on US copyright and intellectual property law. This past fall Aidan made the move to Detroit and is proud to call the city his new home."


Lola Banks

Director of Diversity and Inclusion, University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry

DetroitChapter_Lola_Banks_-_Lola_Banks.JPGLola Banks currently serves as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry. Prior to her work at the University of Detroit Mercy, Lola served as a College Adviser to high school students in Muskegon, Michigan. During that time, she discovered her interest in the inequalities in education, college access and success and retention of first-generation low income students in postsecondary education. Lola was born in Illinois and spent most of her childhood in Illinois before moving to Texas in High School. She found herself residing in Michigan after attending the University of Michigan and receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2013 and attending Michigan State University and receiving a Master’s degree in Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education in 2016. Lola currently serves as a volunteer on the Wayne County College and Career Access Network Leadership Alliance Team. This organization works to provide adequate educational support to all learners and create a college-going culture in all out- Wayne county schools by lowering systematic barriers preventing students from pursuing education beyond high school and improving coordination of higher education access services, particularly to those who come from low-income families or who are first in their families seeking postsecondary attainment. In her spare time Lola enjoys reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with family and friends.


Dwayne Barnes

Engagement Strategy and Urban Outreach Coordinator, The Center for Michigan

Detroit_Dwayne_Barnes_-_Dwayne_Barnes.pngDwayne Barnes is a self-described “Scholar, gentleman and musician.” He is the founder of Social Tech, a public policy think tank that focuses on the issues related to technology creation, consumption and its impact in urban communities.

Currently, Barnes serves as engagement strategy and urban outreach coordinator for the Center for Michigan and Bridge magazine a nonprofit and nonpartisan think and do tank. Prior to joining the Center, Dwayne worked as the Deputy Director of Project: Better Man, Inc. a prostate cancer awareness, education and prevention organization where he earned the Spirit of Detroit Award for his work. Dwayne began his career in Public Relations working with nonprofit organizations and political campaigns.

In 2017, Dwayne earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Oakland University. Dwayne is married to Doria Barnes and has one child Dwayne Barnes III.

In addition to his educational and professional accomplishments Dwayne enjoys playing music, reading biographers, African American history and spending quality time with his family.


Ryan Bates

International Product Planning Manager, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles


Ryan E. Bates was born and raised in the Metropolitan Detroit area as part of a multiracial household. Ryan is a 2004 graduate of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (GO BLUE!) where he majored in Economics and Italian. After college, he moved to Pittsburgh to attend the University of Pittsburgh School of Law where he studied Business Development and International Law. While at Pitt, Ryan was an active member of the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA), and served as the Mid-Atlantic Convention Coordinator.

In 2007, Ryan moved to Atlanta, Georgia to begin his legal career. After gaining admission to the bar, he served as a criminal litigator defending low-income individuals. In addition, Ryan has legal experience as a judicial clerk, commercial litigation consultant, and running his own law firm focused on Business Development. In 2013, Ryan decided to round out his skill set, despite his successful legal career, in order to pursue a Master's of Business Administration, which took him to The George Washington University in Washington D.C.

While at GW, Ryan studied International Business and Operations, studying abroad in both Istanbul, Turkey and Copenhagen, Denmark. Upon graduation from GW, Ryan elected to move back to Detroit in 2015 to be closer to family. As part of this effort, he wanted to look for ways to leverage his international skill set and to assist the socially-economically disadvantaged community in Detroit.

Professionally, Ryan works at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles focusing on strategic planning for the Chrysler and Dodge brands in Asia, Europe and Latin America. In his spare time, Ryan's social interests include history, technological advancement, and social justice. As part of NLC, Ryan is eagerly looking forward to connecting with his cohort and the alumni base in order to empower the predominantly minority community in Detroit.

Mayra Bravo

Senior Strategist, DTE Energy

DETROIT_Mayra_Bravo_-_Mayra_Bravo.jpgMayra Bravo is currently a Senior Strategist with DTE Energy. She has been with the company for over six years in various roles and departments. She joined as a summer student while working on her bachelor’s degree at Wayne State University. She spent two years as a co-op student in Human Resources and transition to the Finance organization upon completion of her degree. In finance, she served as a Senior Business Analyst supporting Customer Service budget and forecasting planning. She was promoted as an Analyst within the Revenue Management and Protection organization where she was responsible for managing all the outside collection agencies. She also served as the Supervisor for the manual collections team. She later moved on the become the Senior Analyst supporting strategic planning for RMP. The role involved leading benchmarking projects and continues improvement. Mayra recently completed her MBA at Wayne State University, Mike Ilitch School of Business. To further exemplify her professional capability and recognition as a high-potential business leader, she was recently awarded the 37th Annual Student Recognition Award, which is awarded to outstanding MBA students. She was also invited to study in an executive program in China, to better understand the health of the Chinese economy. Mayra also served as the Treasurer of the Board of Directors at Cesar Chavez Academy for four years and she mentors young ladies in college through the summer student programs at DTE Energy. She has been blessed with ordinary mentors who have paved the way and she hopes to pay it forward. In the words of her idol Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, “My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.”


Amanda Brewington

Loan Officer, ProsperUS Detroit (a program of Southwest Solutions)

Detroit_Amanda_Brewington_-_Amanda_Brewington.jpgA small business advocate working to make the entrepreneur experience in Detroit feel less like a solo mission. Founder of Always Brewing Detroit a community gathering space that also serves coffee in the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood in Northwest Detroit. Amanda was able to own and operate her own business for four years, but sole proprietorship was a journey not a destination. After paying back $20,000 in loans and receiving business awards from Detroit SOUP, FoodLab Detroit, and Motor City Match, Amanda sold her business in November of 2016. She now spends her time helping small business owners secure capital through non-traditional loans as a loan officer at ProsperUS Detroit. Amanda teaches classes at Build Institute. At Build, she developed a curriculum that takes entrepreneurs through the process of permitting to grand opening and nurturing a sustainable retail business. Amanda has two Bachelor of Arts’ degrees from Michigan State University, one in Communication with a specialization in Public Relations and a second degree in Telecommunication Information Studies and Media with an emphasis in audio production. She now spends her days behind a desk instead of behind a bar (as she did for over 15 years in the service industry) and you might just catch her some nights behind a mic as a stand-up comedian. For entertainment Amanda runs half marathons, belongs to a few creative writing groups, and creates themed playlists for friends.

Djeneba Cherif

Assistant Principal, Ypsilanti Community Schools

Detroit-_Djeneba_Cherif.PNGDjeneba is the Assistant Principal at Ypsilanti Community High School, serving as one of the youngest school leaders in Washtenaw County, Michigan; the same high school she graduated from. DJ began her career in education as a teacher, where she taught middle school mathematics and sixth grade in Detroit, Michigan. She played an integral role in exposing students to rigorous instruction, empowering them to take ownership of their learning, and inspiring them to pursue higher education.

In addition to her career as an educator, DJ has served as Teach For America – Detroit’s Manager of Alumni Leadership Development, supporting alumni and working with local schools, districts, and non-profit leaders to support them with their talent and hiring needs. Her developed leadership skills and content expertise allowed her to excel, as she then became the Dean of Students at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. In that role, she also served as the College Preparation Team Lead, monitoring all promotional requirements, and graduating 98% of the senior class with 100% college acceptance.

A magna cum laude graduate of Hampton University, DJ holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology with departmental honors. Additionally, she holds a master’s degree in educational studies and urban pedagogy from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

In service to her alma mater, DJ serves as the Vice President of both the National Hampton Alumni Association, Inc. Midwest Regional Board and Detroit Chapter. She was awarded the 2016 NHAA, Inc. Recent Graduate Merit Award as well as inducted into the 2017 Top 40 under Forty Alumni Society.

DJ currently serves on various educational boards and committees that provide mini-grants to teachers, as well as scholarships and other opportunities for high school students. She is also a member of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals.


Tyrone Michael Clemons

Software Developer, Detroit Labs LLC

Detroit_TyroneMichael_Clemons_-_T_Michael_Clemons.pngTyrone M. Clemons, also known as T. Michael Clemons, is a native to the Detroit metro area and specializes in digital design and interactive development. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Howard University in Washington, D.C. While attending graduate school, Tyrone leveraged his design skills to assist local businesses and non-profits with their branding and public outreach needs. He also worked as a Goldman Sachs media fellow for the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution. It was during his time in graduate school that he found the intersection of arts and technology to be powerful and intriguing. This interest was further reinforced through his experiences with Smithsonian public outreach programs and arts education initiatives at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, where he was a part-time instructor for high school students in grades 9-12.

Tyrone returned home to Michigan in 2014 with the intention of applying his arts and technology background to the city of Detroit. He worked freelance for local arts organizations like Emergence Media before joining the inaugural class of Hacker Fellows, a software engineering fellowship through Grand Circus, an organization that trains adults for careers in tech. As a Hacker Fellow, Tyrone gained rich experiences in software engineering through working with Detroit-based startups. He is currently working at Detroit Labs, a startup focused on mobile app development for companies throughout Detroit. Tyrone also creates animated content for Spellbound/ALTality, a start-up based in Ann Arbor, MI that focuses on using mixed reality experiences to help children cope with medical procedures. Tyrone passionately aspires to continue building more relationships and pursue opportunities that will allow him to provide equitable technology and art experiences for all Detroiters.


LaToya Cunningham

CEO and Creative Director, Posh PR & Events LLC

Detroit_LaToya_Cunningham_-_LaToya_Cunningham.jpgFounder and Creative Director, LaToya Cunningham, is a driven, enthusiastic and detail oriented leader who realized her purpose and passion for public relations eleven years ago while serving as Publicist for a local church in metro Detroit. LaToya’s entrepreneurial spirit led her to establish Cunningham Consulting Agency, LLC in 2011, a boutique public relations firm specializing in non-profits and the entertainment industry while being employed by the Department of Defense as a Logistics Management Specialist.

In the summer of 2014, LaToya rebranded her company to POSH PR & Events LLC, a full-service public relations and event planning firm. POSH caters to service oriented agencies, non-profit organizations, small businesses and corporate clients with passion, optimism, style and heart. After 13 years of civil service, she resigned from Federal Service to pursue full-time entrepreneurship. As a Public Relations and Event Planner — with an eye for fashion and design — she knew it was time to combine her knowledge and passion and fully delve into her passion to serve others and level up their business.

LaToya is a product of metro Detroit. She received her undergraduate degree from Eastern Michigan University and a graduate MBA degree from Lawrence Technological University. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. LaToya is the Public Relations Director for the NFL Alumni Detroit Chapter and Detroit Recovery Project, Inc., President of the National Black Public Relations Society - Detroit Chapter and provides social media and etiquette workshops to corporations, teens, creatives and progressives in metro Detroit.


Arielle Johnson

Owner, Arielle J. Events & FIERCE Detroit

Detroit_Arielle_Johnson_-_Arielle_Johnson.jpgFemale Icons Encouraging Real Concepts of Empowerment (FIERCE) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization established with the aim to connect women, especially young mothers, to the tools and resources needed for healthy living, financial stability and career growth. FIERCE uses a role-model approach by pairing each member with a female mentor, creating an immediate and present source for coaching and inspiration. FIERCE also produces quarterly events to further comradeship among members/mentors, provide group learning opportunities, deliver necessities and offer experiences often beyond the reach of the women being served.

FIERCE is led by Founder and CEO, Arielle Johnson, a female entrepreneur from Detroit, who became a mother during her sophomore year in college. Arielle felt a calling to share the resources she was given on her path to success and thus FIERCE was born. After studying Food & Beverage Management, Culinary Arts, Hotel Management, Hospitality Marketing, Finance and Event Planning, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Business from Michigan State University and later received her Master of Public Administration from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. As an independent contractor, Arielle’s clients have included Michigan Women’s Foundation, Figure Skating in Detroit, Detroit Jazz Festival, the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee, Major League Soccer and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. To incorporate her hospitality background, extend career training to a broader community and increase employment potential for young adults, Arielle has launched a sister company in 2017, FIERCE Staffing. The goals of FIERCE Staffing are to provide career pathways for young people through exceptional training while contributing to the growing hospitality industry in Detroit. Arielle leads both the FIERCE non-profit and FIERCE Staffing with a passionate sense of duty to ensure that young adults in Detroit have real world experiences and the skills to succeed.


Dr. Candace Johnson

Emergency Medicine Physician, DeGara

Detroit_Candace_Kimpson_-_Candace_Johnson.jpgDr. Candace Johnson is a board certified Emergency Medicine physician and has completed a sub-specialty fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Dr. Johnson obtained a Bachelors degree in Biology from Tennessee State University, where her transformative HBCU experience cemented her resolve to use her knowledge for the betterment of her community. Prior to attending medical school at Wayne State University, Dr. Johnson worked for Straight Gate International Church in Detroit, where she developed and managed their community outreach department. In this role, she partnered with United Way and The Heat and Warmth Fund, securing grant funding to support church and community members in need of utility payment assistance. She also established and oversaw the ministry’s food pantry program. She went on to complete her residency training and fellowship at the Detroit Medical Center and Veterans Administration hospital respectively. Dr Johnson supported former DMC, CEO Mike Duggan in his 2013 bid for Detroit Mayor, volunteering as a Neighborhood Team Lead for the successful campaign.

After completing her training, Dr Johnson moved to Dallas, TX where she was appointed Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern. In addition to training residents, participating in research and contributing to Emergency Medicine publications, she worked as an Attending Physician at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. She was honored to be invited as a guest speaker for the 2016 National Youth Leadership Forum: Explore STEM conference. Dr Johnson returned home to Detroit in 2017 in preparation for marriage to her husband, Justin Kimpson. She is presently working as an attending physician for DeGara physician group. She is excited to be a part of the renaissance that Detroit is experiencing and looking forward to lending her voice and talent to continue to build on the progress that has begun.


Bianca Lawrence

Public Health Project Leader, Detroit Health Department

Detroit_Bianca_Lawrence_-_Bianca_Lawrence.jpgBianca Lawrence is a Public Health Project Leader within the Special Projects Division of the Detroit Health Department. In this position, she is responsible for managing key components of planning, developing, and implementing projects that address important health disparities and health inequities. Bianca has worked on numerous public health projects that have ranged in focusing on health issues related to HIV/AIDS among vulnerable populations to domestic violence prevention; however, her passion for health equity and the state of public health among Detroit residents led her to pursue a career at the Detroit Health Department. Before her role as Public Health Project Leader, Bianca served as the Community Health Educator for the Maternal Child Health Program focused on educating moms and families about infant safety and as the Special Projects Liaison to the Director in which she focused on strengthening partnerships and collaborations on multiple interagency and interdepartmental projects. Since working at the department, Bianca has raised over $2 million for Mayor Priority Projects that focus on reducing infant mortality in the city of Detroit and established a strong partnership with a national non-profit agency that brought vision care services to over 3,000 Detroit elementary and middle school children. Bianca thoroughly enjoys working in her role as a public health professional and sees herself as an advocate for improving the health of Detroit residents. Bianca received both her Bachelors of Science in Brain, Behavior, and Cognitive Science, and her Masters of Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan.


Robert Lockett

Director of Revenue Cycle Management, Planned Parenthood of Michigan

Detroit_Rob_Lockett_-_Robert_Lockett.jpgRobert L. Lockett is a strategic business leader with more than 10 years of experience in accelerating organizational growth across diverse business functions. He has an established track record of success; working with senior leadership, solving business problems and providing solutions for significantly growing enterprise value. Through a triangulated approach of strategy implementation, operational excellence, and team building; Robert adds value for customers and key stakeholders.

Professionally, Robert is Director of Revenue Cycle Management for Planned Parenthood of Michigan (PPMI), a state-wide health system in which he oversees the strategic and operational execution of revenue generating activities contributing to the mission of the organization: To promote healthy communities and the right of all individuals by providing health care and education; serving as a strong advocate for reproductive justice. Robert guides the organization’s effort to position itself financially for expanded market opportunities while creating value through expanding access to quality care. A strong developer of talent, Robert seeks to create a motivating atmosphere; exploring opportunities for advancement and encouraging a spirit of innovation and diversity that embraces all.

“If one cannot serve, one is not fit for leadership”- A statement central to Robert’s personal mission of building better communities for all through public policy initiatives and development. Civic engagement, social justice, and accessible leadership has shaped his personal journey. As an active member of the Civic and Non-Profit community in his native Atlanta, GA; Robert has served as Cabinet Member, United Way of Greater Atlanta African American Partnership, Executive Leadership Committee Member, National Black MBA (NBMBAA) Atlanta Chapter, as well as Board Trustee for the Center for the Visually Impaired. As a transplant to the Detroit Area, Robert is eager to engage entities that place first the care and vitality of its residents- ensuring that underrepresented communities have a voice. Robert is a Charter-Member of the Rotary Club of Southfield, MI. and Member of the NBMBAA Detroit Chapter. Robert looks to bring his experience policy-making and civic engagement to advance progressive leadership and development within the Greater Detroit Area. A strong proponent of education, Robert received his Undergraduate degree from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University and holds Masters in Business Administration from Goizueta Business School at Emory University.


Ashleigh Maddox

Software Test Specialist, General Motors

Detroit_Ashleigh_Maddox_-_Ashleigh_Maddox.jpgAshleigh Maddox is a technology professional with a passion for giving back to the Detroit community. She currently works as a Software Test Specialist for General Motors in the Global Product Integrity department. Ashleigh began her transition into a STEM career nearly four years ago after receiving a scholarship from Google for Entrepreneurs to learn software development and later completing a coding and software testing bootcamp at Grand Circus. Previously, she worked for a non-profit, The Peace Alliance, in Washington, D.C., as a National Program Coordinator, advocating for sustainable peacebuilding legislation and reducing and resolving violent conflict both on the national and international levels. She also served as the African American Outreach Intern on former President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University in International Relations. Ashleigh is committed to the city of Detroit, helping to advance women in technology, and creating access for minorities in the STEM field. As an advocate, she volunteers her time on the Early Career Task Force for the Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation. She also co-founded the Social Innovation Summit which brought over 60 metro Detroit college women and high school girls to General Motors headquarters to hear a panel of technology leaders and network with local STEM organizations. She was recently named a “GM Champion” for Black Girls Code, during their Detroit chapter launch and actively volunteers with the organization including speaking on a panel at Detroit International Academy for Young Women about the importance of diversity in STEM. She believes these types of community initiatives are integral in creating an inclusive and diverse technology space. She has also tutored youth in the Detroit Public Schools and is an active alumni member of Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Co-ed Business Fraternity.


Joshua Rivera

Project Manager, Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan

Detroit_Joshua_Rivera_-_Joshua_Rivera.jpgJoshua Rivera is a Project Manager at Poverty Solutions, a University of Michigan initiative to inform and support innovative solutions for the prevention and alleviation of poverty. In this role, he manages the evaluation of social programs while providing technical assistance in policy design and data analysis to research partners.

Prior to working at Poverty Solutions, Josh was a dually appointed fellow at the Mayor’s Office, City of Chicago and Education Pioneers where he worked with senior government officials on evaluating and improving workforce development and education initiatives.

Josh is a strong supporter of the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues, a nonprofit dedicated to providing access to debate programming to middle and high school students in urban areas, and is a member of NAUDL’s strategic advisory task force. In the past few years, Josh has spoken at the Aspen Ideas Festival and has been published in the New York Times on the subject of urban debate and civic engagement. During college, Josh completed in parliamentary debate and won a record-breaking number of national debate tournaments for Southern Illinois University.

Josh is a proud first-generation Saluki and Wolverine with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science from SIU and a master’s in Public Policy from the University of Michigan.


Cedric Scott

Director, Media & Communications, Triumph Church

DETROIT_Cedric_Scott_-_Ced_Lover.jpgCedric M. Scott is the Director of Media & Communications at Triumph Church, Michigan’s largest church with eight campuses throughout the state and more than 15,000 people in attendance each week. Here, he oversees more than 100 volunteers and eight ministries at locations throughout southeast Michigan. During this time, the church has been recognized as one of the fastest –growing and overall largest churches in America.

Previously, Cedric served as the Promotions Director for Radio One - Detroit, managing the external marketing for Hot 107.5, 105.9 Kiss, Praise 102.7 and 1200 WCHB-AM. Prior to that, he held a similar position at Club 93.7 radio station in Flint while serving as its top-rated afternoon personality, “Ced Lover.”

Philanthropy is a staple for Cedric, starting with his undergraduate years, where he was a founding member of an organization – USC Dance Marathon – that has raised more than $2.9 million for 150,000 children in the Children’s Miracle Network. Additionally, for the past four years, he has led a volunteer team that feeds 200 less fortunate people each December during the holidays.

As a former Flint radio personality, Cedric was a leading voice in the Flint Water Crisis, organizing national media broadcasts from Flint while assisting in the collection and distribution of water for residents.

He has also created intern, apprentice and mentoring programs that have helped young people navigate into adulthood and professional careers. Mentees and protégés under his care have gained employment with media companies across the nation, including the Animal Planet, BET, Beasley Media Group, Cumulus, Radio One, and others. Additionally, he supports the efforts of the Tom Joyner Foundation and historically black colleges and universities by assisting with the annual charity cruise.

Recently, Cedric was recognized for his outstanding achievement and strong leadership with a “40 Under 40” Award from the Michigan Chronicle. Additionally, he has won multiple awards from the American Advertising Federation’s multicultural Mosaic Center and is forever enshrined in the Hall of Leaders at the University of South Carolina.


Raven Thompson

Communications and Project Coordinator, City of Detroit, OCFO - Office of the Controller

Detroit_Raven_Thompson_-_Raven_Thompson.pngRaven serves as Communications Specialist and Project Coordinator for the implementation of the Human Resource Information System (HRIS), delivering change management in support of the transition to Cloud-based solutions for the City of Detroit. She has worked as a communications professional for 5 years within the Automotive and Digital Industry, as well as through her entrepreneurship endeavors.

Raven began her career with Volkswagen of America (VWoA), as a former Communications and Advocate Writer. She increased scoring and response time when she developed and personalized templates when identifying the VWoA driver audience. She later ventured into consulting for new businesses in multi-faceted industries, such as; fashion, entertainment, and technology. As she offered her consulting services as a writer and branding strategist. As a result, she produced high-impact results from implementing optimization techniques, content development, and strategy, just to name a few.

Raven returned to the VWoA brand as a Digital and Content Strategist. While in this role, she managed relationships with program vendors to maintain 48 Tier III level sites across the West, South, and Northeast Regions. She further contributed her written skills by creating and delivering a series of communication to the National VW dealer body. Prior to her professional work experience, she developed content for e-Learning portals, and website content for the faculty of her College alumni, Western Michigan University (WMU). She also was a Reporter for Kalamazoo, Michigan’s National Public Radio, leading the Michigan Marijuana Legalization Initiative in 2012.

Raven takes pride in her work and how it will impact the client as well as her cohorts. She is a regular speaker for the Annual College Panel of Alumni, Wylie E. Groves High School. She has volunteered to the honorable program, Adopt A Child Program for 11 years; since her introduction in 2006 as a volunteer at Vernor Elementary, Detroit Public Schools. Raven is dedicated to nonprofit advocacy software through the development of communication strategy, and fundraising to more effectively target young African-Americans.


Nguvu Tsare

Flight Attendant, Delta Air Lines

DetroitIMG_9811_-_Nguvu_Tsare.JPGNguvu Tsare is a flight attendant at Delta Air Lines and currently serves as the Director of Development for New Era Detroit, a Back empowerment organization dedicated to the economic and political liberation of African American people in Detroit and around the United States. Born and raised in Lansing, Michigan to a single mother of five, Nguvu experienced the realities of systematic racism and oppression of black people at an early age and resolved to do his part to eradicate it. In 2006, Nguvu founded the Black Student Union at his high school in Holt Michigan. He went on to found an organization by the name of We The People, a group of Black youth, dedicated to the empowerment of Black youth. This youth-led movement was able to raise over 1,000 books to the Black Child and Family Institute. In 2007, Nguvu moved to Detroit and became a prominent member of MPowerment Detroit/Young Brothers United, an HIV prevention organization focused on preventing the spread of HIV in the young, Black and gay community. After becoming a flight attendant at the age of 21, Nguvu moved to Chicago, IL and got involved with the movement to end the mass incarceration of African American people as a member of President Obama's former church, Trinity United Church of Christ. In 2012, he moved to Washington, DC where he served as the Vice Chair of the DC Chapter of the National Black United Front. After moving back home to Detroit and rising up the ranks at New Era Detroit, Nguvu ran an impressive write-in campaign for Detroit City Council, District 2, earning 2% of the vote and placing third out of four candidates . Nguvu also currently serves on the Belle Isle Community Engagement Committee and just completed his role as one of the Executive Vice Presidents of the 13th Congressional Democratic Party.


Phaedra Wainaina

Law Student, Wayne State University Law School

Detroit_Phaedra_Wainaina_-_Phaedra_Wainaina.jpgAs a proud city of Detroit native and current District 6 resident, Phaedra has exhibited a longstanding commitment to the city and it’s residents. Phaedra is the Co-Founder and Vice Chair of QUAD College Advising, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. QUAD seeks to assist traditionally underrepresented students in the metro-Detroit with the college application process through interactive labs (workshops) mentoring, and the creation of social spaces conducive to information and advice sharing.

Phaedra is a graduate of Renaissance High School and the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. She is currently a joint J.D./M.B.A. student at Wayne State University. As a student at Wayne Law, Phaedra has served on the Executive Board of several student organizations, most notably Wayne Law’s First Generation Professionals (FGP) minority affinity group, which Phaedra co-founded as a result of her own struggles during the law school process. Phaedra served as the President of FGP from 2016-2017 and developed programming to address the academic, civic, professional and social development of law students in the metro-Detroit area. As a result of Phaedra’s enduring commitment to social equality, both inside and outside of the classroom, the Wolverine Bar Foundation awarded her the Damon J. Keith Scholarship in May of 2017.

In addition to her academic accomplishments, Phaedra has been afforded the opportunity to pursue a variety of internship and employment opportunities in the Detroit legal community. In 2015 Phaedra was selected as a Wolverine Bar Foundation Judicial Clerkship Participant where she interned for the Honorable Marianne O. Battani of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Following her internship with Judge Battani, Phaedra pursued an internship with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan where she served as a legal intern for the civil defense unit.

Phaedra is currently a law clerk for the International Union, UAW General Counsel’s office. As a law clerk, Phaedra utilizes her previous experiences with the National Labor Relations Board to feed her desire for a career in labor and employment law. Phaedra’s desire to practice is rooted in the fact that a healthy employment relationship is an integral part of society and essential to the social welfare of any community. At this time Phaedra’s goal is to pursue a career full of challenging legal advocacy and diverse experiences.


Daralynn Walker

Regional Technical Recruiter, Kelly Services

Detroit_Daralynn_walker_-_Dara_Walker.jpgWhether as an author, Human Resources Professional or managing her summer mentoring program, Daralynn Walker has devoted the last 15 years of her life to servicing the Detroit Metropolitan area in a myriad of ways. Daralynn currently works as a Regional Technical Recruiter for Kelly Services where she consults with Engineering and technical talent across Southeastern Michigan and matches them with Tier 1 and 2 suppliers in the Michigan. A native Detroiter in her own rite, Daralynn attended Communication and Media Arts High School and went on to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Theatre arts with a minor in Marketing. While on the college campus she was very active and volunteered her time with various youth organizations including the King-Chavez- Parks Program, The summer Incentive Program and worked closely with organizations like The Black Student Union and Meals on Wheels. Immediately after college Daralynn went on to intern with Councilwoman Jo-Ann Watson as a legislative Assistant. There she was able to learn more about the political side of the City of Detroit and develop an understanding of how she could give back to the city that raised her.

While working for a University for some time, Mrs. Walker visited a multitude of Detroit Public High schools and developed relationships with teachers and students alike. After speaking with Counselors, and volunteering her time with Winning Futures; A non-profit that works directly with high schools and brings life skills curriculum straight to the classroom, she a saw a need in the community for a mentoring program for girls and partnered with the Friends of the Children’s Museum of Detroit to create The Urban Rose Foundation. This 7 week-Saturday only program accommodated over 30 girls at the Detroit Public library and hosted workshops related to health and wellness, education, entrepreneurship and etiquette. Since 2012, The Urban Rose Foundation has been able to give over $5000 away in stipends to young girls going to school in the fall and assist in developing mentorship opportunities within the community. The Urban Rose Foundation was able to Partner with Wayne State University and Marygrove College to implement programming geared toward young women between the ages of 12-18. In addition to this, Daralynn has authored five books within the last 7 years and has completed her Master’s Degree (MBA) in Strategic Management from Davenport University.