Afton BrancheDetroit City Council, Community and Policy ManagerMore
Afton is the Community and Policy Manager at the office of Detroit City Council Member Raquel Castañeda-López. She leads the office’s neighborhood infrastructure building program which builds on the capacity of grassroots leaders in underserved neighborhoods to advocate for community change. She also works on ordinances to advance the Council Member’s legislative agenda.
Previously, as the North America Program Manager at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, she managed a pro bono legal network linking innovative US social enterprises and NGOs with attorneys at top law firms around the world. At the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, Afton led DMI Scholars, a leadership development program for college activists from underrepresented communities. She began her career at DMI as Immigration Policy Analyst, speaking out against local involvement in immigration enforcement and highlighting local and federal policies to advance immigrant integration.
Afton has earned a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she focused on nonprofit management, community planning, and program evaluation. While at Michigan, she served as a Center for Social Impact Board Fellow with Nonprofit Enterprise at Work and a Senior Editor of the Michigan Journal for Public Affairs.
She is also a passionate advocate for gender equity, serving as a volunteer for an anti-street harassment collective in Brooklyn, NY and the president of Women and Gender in Public Policy while in graduate school. At the Thomson Reuters Foundation, she co-launched the Trust Women Scholars program, an initiative to ensure grassroots women’s rights leaders from the Global South have access to their annual conference in London. Throughout her experiences in the nonprofit and government sectors, Afton has focused on making connections to advance equity and access for all.Less
Aparajita (AJ) JeediguntaTraumatic Brain Injury ActivistMore
Aparajita (AJ) Jeedigunta is a social psychologist with a specialization in cultural studies, immigrant transition and adjustment processes, and interpersonal relationships. With over a decade of experience as a researcher, AJ loves to use statistical analyses to reframe prevalent socio-cultural theories to make social science more representative of minority populations. Most recently, AJ has spent over two years collecting data and understanding the intricacies of race and gender dynamics in competitive gaming virtual online communities.
As a student at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, AJ helped restart and revitalize the Psychology Club and Psi Chi, the National Honor Society for Psychology, as its President. She then went on to complete her MA/PhD in Social-Personality Psychology at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, where she was the first person of Indian heritage admitted into the program in its history. While in Hawai’i, AJ was also a dynamic educator who taught over 5,000 traditional and non-traditional students in her career as a lecturer. After her doctorate, she drew on her varied interests and knowledge to develop an inclusive, person-centered model of organizational culture, and a suite of tools to assess cultural inclusivity in organizations.
AJ has always been a dedicated champion of highlighting cultural heritages of minority populations—especially of immigrant groups from the Indian diaspora. To this end, she has volunteered with various Indian organizations and initiatives to increase visibility and awareness of Indian cultures through performance arts for over 20 years. She has also given talks in Michigan, Hawai’i, and internationally on the importance of shifting the focus of corporate diversity initiatives to inclusion, on the salience of people’s cultural identities in their professional lives, and on the social imperative to create better systems to address the mental health needs of minority group members.
As an immigrant woman and as a Traumatic Brain Injury survivor, AJ is passionate about the inclusion of individuals with invisible disabilities, illnesses, and injuries. She is currently channeling this passion into creating a blog and website to create a voice and a virtual support and resource center for minorities with invisible conditions.Less
Ashley WilliamsRIZZARR, Founder and CEOMore
Ashley M. Williams is the leading Millennial strategist, spokesperson, consultant, and speaker for brands that want to reach Millennials — helping brands to create the right campaigns, craft the right messages, and produce events that bring brands and Millennials together.
She is the founder and CEO of RIZZARR, the Millennial Marketplace.™ Through RIZZARR, brands are able to find and work with Millennial content creators and micro-influencers. She is also the founder of Millennials Change, an event series created to inspire Millennials to make a positive impact on the world.
Before starting her journey into entrepreneurship, Ashley was an award-winning journalist. She worked for NBC News, WBAL Radio, and USA TODAY. She graduated with honors from the University of Southern California, earning a B.A. in broadcast and digital journalism as well as minors in international relations and Spanish.Less
Brittany HutsonFord Motor Company, UX Design ResearcherMore
Brittany Hutson is a User Experience (UX) Researcher at Ford Autonomous Vehicles, LLC, a new organization charged with accelerating Ford Motor Company’s AV business. As a UX researcher, Brittany develops and executes research studies to learn about human behavior, and those insights are used in the creation of new products and services. She is also a freelance journalist with a decade of experience covering a range of topics, including entrepreneurship, community development, and food and culture. Her work has appeared in Black Enterprise magazine, Essence magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Tostada Magazine, Eater Detroit, and Hour Detroit.
Originally from Long Island, New York, Brittany attended Howard University in Washington, DC. In her junior year, she studied abroad at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, focusing on African language and literature. Following graduation, she worked in editorial and public relations positions for web and print publications, the federal government, and nonprofit entities. She moved to Michigan in 2014 to attend the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where she obtained her Master’s in human-computer interaction. In 2016, Brittany was a fellow in the Global Information Engagement Program (GIEP) through University of Michigan’s School of Information. As part of the three month fellowship, she returned to Cape Town to work with the Haven Night Shelter, a nonprofit that supports the social reintegration of homeless adults. She was on a student team that conducted research on the organization’s client registration system.
Since moving to Detroit in 2015, Brittany has become attracted to the city’s grassroots approach to rebuilding and supporting communities using food as a focal point. She is a volunteer with FoodLab Detroit and Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan’s Cooking Matters classes. She is building her portfolio as a food journalist, with the goal of bringing diverse stories into food media and highlighting black-owned food businesses. Currently, Brittany is a food journalism fellow under a collaboration between WDET and Feet in 2 Worlds, a NY-based journalism training program, that brings the work of immigrant journalists and journalists of color to public radio.Less
Courtney SmithDetroit Phoenix Center, Founder & Executive DirectorMore
Courtney is an advocate fighting to break the cycle of poverty in Detroit. She has distinguished herself as an industry leader and champion for youth.
She is the Founder & Executive Director of Detroit Phoenix Center (DPC). Detroit Phoenix Center is a high-impact nonprofit organization that provides critical resources and a safe, nurturing environment for youth experiencing homelessness. Under her visionary leadership, Detroit Phoenix Center opened the first and only drop-in facility meeting the emergent needs of teens and young adults in crisis in Detroit, launched a scholarship fund, and tripled their operating budget to expand their programs and services to get more youth off the street.
Her commitment to professional excellence, advocacy, and service has led her to be featured in Comcast Newsmakers, USA Today, Michigan Chronicle, Rolling Out magazine, Mic, NPR and many other media outlets.
She was recently named to the prestigious “Crain's Twenty in their 20s” list of trailblazing millennials to watch in the region and is a Forbes Under 30 nominee. Courtney is a double-time recipient of the Spirit of Detroit Award, a recipient of the Women of Excellence Award, and received the Community Champion of the Year Award from the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness; among many other awards and achievements.
Courtney is a sought after speaker and facilitator on topics related to: youth and community development, advocacy and servant leadership. Her unique and practical engagement style has landed her international speaking engagements and conducting leadership workshops for Fortune 500 Companies and Big Ten Universities.
Courtney received a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Eastern Michigan University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Entrepreneurship. She serves on the Board of Directors for School House Connection and is National Youth Advisor for the National Network For Youth.
DamarQio (DK) WilliamsBedrock Detroit, Project ManagerMore
DamarQio (DK) Williams is Project Manager at Bedrock Detroit, a full-service real estate firm specializing in acquiring, leasing, financing, developing, and managing commercial and residential space. Williams leads cross-functional projects in what some call the renaissance of Detroit.
Over the past decade, Williams’ unwavering dedication to youth empowerment and community engagement has earned him the reputation as an advocate of positive change. From serving in his local school and church to an international platform, Williams has always sought to lead and give back to his community through progressive change. This inspiration has led Williams to the research and development phase of founding a nonprofit organization, Detroit Father, for fatherless men in Detroit. His mission is simple: build the future and restore the past.
He holds active membership at Detroit Fintech, Building Owners & Managers Association, Toastmasters International, Detroit Young Professionals, Detroit Parent Network, and National Black MBA Association. Furthermore, Williams received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Liberty University and currently enrolled in graduate school studying Public Administration. Williams currently resides on the east side of Detroit, Michigan with his lovely wife, La’Nyce and their beautiful daughter, Jenesis. He has been fortunate to learn from ordinary leaders who have paved the way and hopes to pay it forward.Less
Darlisha BarnesTeach For America, Director, Finance & Project ManagementMore
Darlisha Barnes is a Detroiter. She’s a believer, a thinker, and a doer. She thrives on helping others, and as a proud graduate of Detroit Public Schools, is committed to a safe, hopeful, and loving future for its students, families, and school communities. Over the last 10 years, Darlisha has studied media's impact on childhood socialization, taught middle and high school students, coached and developed new teachers, and worked as a senior leader at a nonprofit fighting for education equity. While leading staff recruitment, hiring, and operations, Darlisha began to recognize the connection between an organization’s culture and its ability to deliver on its promises to the people they serve. Currently, Darlisha is a part of Teach For America's Human Assets team, where she creates and manages centralized processes and executes special projects for the Deputy Chief People Officer.Less
Emberly VickCity of Detroit, Policy AnalystMore
Emberly Vick is a self-proclaimed justice warrior with a passion for civic engagement, entrepreneurial endeavors and the promotion of upward mobility. As the creator of the DOPE IDEA Scholarship Fundraiser, a unique scholarship award that sprung from a fundraiser created to fund her undergraduate degree, the award serves HBCU bound scholars between the ages of 18-25 at any classification. The award is primarily administered on the basis of academic achievement and community impact.
A magna cum laude graduate, Ms. Vick received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science Pre-law with a minor in the Administration of Justice from Howard University where she was a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society and the Charles Pre-Houston Pre-Law Society. She is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree in entrepreneurship and innovation and is set to attend law school fall of 2019. At present, Ms. Vick serves the City of Detroit as a Policy Analyst and Small Business Liaison to Councilman Scott Benson and also serves as the Director and Communications Liaison of the Detroit City Council Airport Task Force.
Dedicated to leadership through public service, community advocacy, and social justice activism, Ms. Vick has a history of volunteer involvement with political campaigns and non-profit organizations such as LINC Academy for Social Transformation, Vote Yes for Kids, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Rapids Public Schools, and Revolutionary Art Supporting Black and Brown Artists to name a few. She has served as an Americorps member and community organizer for others.
Ms. Vick collaborates with local leaders, engages and empowers constituents, and looks forward to transforming the community by promoting economic and social justice.Less
Esmat Ishag-OsmanWayne State University/CitizenDetroit, American Government Instructor/Ph.D. Candidate/Senior Policy AssociateMore
Esmat Ishag-Osman is a Ph.D. Candidate (ABD) in political science attending Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. He is currently working on his dissertation which is expected to be complete by the summer of 2020. His research focuses on political parties, party organizations, the institutional rules and effects of primary election systems, voter behavior, and political participation. Esmat is currently an instructor at Wayne State University teaching for the political science department. He teaches American government and comparative politics. He was recently awarded the GEOC Teaching Award for the 2017-2018 school year in the social sciences. His previous role had him working for the Graduate School in Wayne State University as a project manager for the Next Generation Ph.D. grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Esmat also serves as a member of the board of directors for Black Family Development, Inc. He is very active in local party politics serving as a former Executive Vice Chair, DNC liaison, and Chair of the Political Organizing Committee for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District Democratic Party Organization.
As Chair of the Political Organizing Committee, Esmat worked in conjunction with the Michigan Democratic Party to put together civic engagement workshops for the 13th District. Esmat also managed a city wide, Detroit school board campaign and served as a treasurer for a district judge’s re-election campaign during the 2018 election cycle.
Additionally, Esmat is a senior policy associate at CitizenDetroit, a civic engagement nonprofit focused on educating the citizens of Detroit on issues critical to their well being, seeking to increase civic literacy, and working to establish a standard of public accountability to Detroit's elected leadership. Esmat also has fundraising experience working with the Democratic National Committee to put together a fundraiser focused on millennial engagement in Detroit in the spring of 2017.
Farah ErzoukiACCESS, Public Health CoordinatorMore
Farah Erzouki is the daughter of Iraqi immigrants, born and raised in Oakland County, Michigan. She currently serves as the Public Health Manager of the Community Health and Research Center of ACCESS, the largest Arab American community nonprofit organization in the country. Through her role, Farah oversees the agency's public health initiatives and manages programs focused on increasing access to healthcare and health equity. She has led efforts responding to health policy changes at local, state, and national levels. Farah also supports and coordinates the research activities and partnerships within the department, grant writing efforts, the intern and volunteer program, and serves as a liaison between ACCESS and various community stakeholders. She previously served as Public Health Coordinator and has been at the agency since 2016.
In addition to working at ACCESS, Farah serves as a Board Member of LaunchProgress, a PAC that supports young, bold progressives from diverse backgrounds for state and local office. She is also involved in national organizations such as War Resisters League and local groups including the Detroit Black and Arab Unity Network.
Farah studied at the University of Michigan, completing her Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience in 2014 and a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology in 2016. During her time in college, Farah gained experience in progressive, grassroots organizing for organizations such as Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, and she built her leadership experience as a student government representative and graduate student instructor.
In her spare time, Farah travels often and enjoys eating her way through each place she visits. She cherishes quality time with friends and family.
Ian BridgesUniversity of Michigan, Dual M.B.A/M.A. Educational Studies CandidateMore
Ian Bridges is a Dual M.B.A./M.A. Educational Leadership and Policy student at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and School of Education, with focuses in Strategy and Management & Organizations. At the Ross School of Business, Ian served as the co-chair for the Black Business Student Association’s 42nd annual Alfred L. Edward Conference, the school’s longest-running student-led symposium. He also served as a 2017-2018 Consortium for Graduate Study in Management campus liaison, supporting the organization’s mission of reducing the significant underrepresentation of minorities in top-ranked business programs and global management careers. Additionally, his studies have afforded him the opportunity to complete consulting engagements for the Tennessee Department of Education, Dickinson Wright Law Firm, and the Starbucks Corporation.
Prior to graduate school, Ian was an educator in the Detroit Public School system, the same district where his academic journey began. As a classroom teacher, Ian co-founded Gingerbread Scholars, a Detroit based organization working to expose inner-city elementary school students to mirror images of collegiate success. To date, the organization has exposed over 700 Detroit students to Detroit area natives attending colleges and universities around the country. In addition to his career as an educator, Ian worked as a National Manager of Recruitment and University Partnerships for Teach For America. In this capacity, Ian worked to attract educators, from various undergraduate institutions (Spelman College, the University of Michigan, Morehouse College, etc.), to teach in high-needs communities.
A magna cum laude graduate of Morehouse College, Ian holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Ian is a proud educational equity advocate committed to ensuring that all children—regardless of their zip code—have access to a quality education.Less
Jenell MansfieldDetroit Public Schools Community District, Executive DirectorMore
“To lift as I climb“ has been the motto for Jenell Mansfield as she has built her career. She was born and raised on the west side of Detroit and is a proud product of Detroit Public Schools. She was the first person in her family to obtain a college degree, graduating from the University Of Michigan with a double major focusing in Psychology and African American studies. During her undergraduate career, mentoring and facilitating pre-college opportunities for Detroit area high school students sparked her passion for youth. She used this passion to garner her Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan and to serve as a 2012 Teach for America Detroit Corp member. She went on to serve as not only a school teacher, but also a social worker in public and charter schools. In 2015, she joined Say Detroit Play Center as the Director of Academics, and after four years of serving the organization and the east side of Detroit she is now the Executive Director of the Parent Academy within the Detroit Public Schools Community District, Office Of Family & Community Engagement. The Parent Academy is a robust catalog of courses serving the parents of 53,000 students to support them in becoming their best selves for the success of their students and their families. Jenell is also a part of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority incorporated, alumna of the Michigan Political Leadership Program, and a member of the Michigan Democratic Party. In Jenell’s free time she enjoys spending time with her three children, listening to podcasts, and cooking.Less
Kayla SheltonSTEM AdvocateMore
Kayla Shelton is a native of Detroit, MI. As a 2009 Valedictorian from Renaissance High School, she was inducted into the National Honors Society and the Spanish National Honors Society. She was the recipient of the Grandmont Rosedale Scholarship as well as the Spirit of Detroit Award.
During her time at Harvard University, Kayla served as Mentorship Chairperson for the Harvard Society of Black Scientists and Engineers. She created "Science Day," where undergrads volunteer to help middle school students work on science experiments and give college advice to high school students. Kayla received the David D. Simms House Spirit Award for enhancing interaction within her residential house. She also received a Harvard Foundation Award for her efforts in bringing diversity to the freshman body. Kayla graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Secondary in Spanish.
Kayla was recently a Construction Supervisor for DTE Energy, where she was responsible for gas service installation and pipeline construction across Southeast Michigan. Previously she served as the inaugural participant of the three-year Rotational Leadership Program for DTE Gas Operations. During that time, she served on the engineering team that redesigned gas pipelines in the aftermath of the Melvindale Gas Explosion in July 2016.
She remains active in her community serving as a board member for the Harvard Club of Detroit, the Detroit Young Professionals, DTE’s SURGE group, and the Covenant House of Michigan. She is also a member of the Society of Women Engineers and the National Society of Black Engineers. She has been featured in BLAC Detroit’s Ones to Watch 2017 Calendar as well as various media outlets including BLAC Detroit magazine, Deadline Detroit, Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Empowering Michigan, and Motor City Woman Radio, and the American Gas Association. She is also a regular contributor to the Black Girls Code chapter in Detroit.Less
Louis BaileyThe Disability Network Wayne County-Detroit, Benefit Planner & CoordinatorMore
Louis Bailey is a self-described professional nomad, social entrepreneur, and advocate for marginalized populations. As a native of Detroit, who happens to have a hearing disability, he understands the need to advocate for populations that are unable to advocate for themselves. Bailey received his Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Michigan University in 2012 and a dual Masters of Business Administration from Robert Morris University in Human Resources and Management in Chicago, Illinois. In 2014, Bailey returned to his hometown of Detroit where he eventually founded The Professional Nomad Co., a startup that focuses on creating and developing ethical entrepreneurial solutions in marginalized communities.
Bailey has curated a diverse skill set from his experiences as an international student in the United Kingdom and France; a law clerk for the Law Clinic of Michigan; and as a Student Leader Intern at the Bank of America, Detroit Medical Center, and Focus Hope.
Bailey has recently completed the Michigan Disability Right Coalition 2018 LEAD Fellowship, in which he received training on developing safe spaces and increasing access to individuals with disabilities.
Bailey currently serves as a Benefit Planning Coordinator for the Disability Network Wayne County-Detroit where he creates, develops, and leads programming that helps individuals with disabilities obtain and maintain independence. In his spare time, Bailey enjoys traveling and experiencing new countries and cultures.Less
Luz MezaDetroit Economic Growth Corporation, District 6 Business LiaisonMore
Luz Meza holds a B.A. in Economics and International Studies, an M.A. in Applied Economics, and an M.P.P. from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor. During college, she served as a founding member of the Coalition for Tuition Equality, a member of One Michigan, Detroit’s youth-led immigrant rights group, a member of the University’s task force on undocumented students, and a leader in the successful movement for in-state tuition for undocumented students at U-M. Luz additionally served as a bilingual educator in Dallas, Texas.
Currently, Luz is a District Business Liaison with the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation where she serves small businesses in Council District 6. Her hope is to expand the influence of Latino communities in policymaking circles. The goal: to positively impact the social, civic, and economic wellbeing of minorities in the United States.Less
Malika VelinorJalen Rose Leadership Academy, Dean of College SuccessMore
As the current Dean of College Success at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy (JRLA), Malika works toward the mission of college access, success, and completion as the leader of JRLA’s College Success Program. In her role as Dean of College she leads a team that facilitates programming for 9th-12th grade scholars and their families through campus tours, Parent University trips and events, “FAFSA & Fajita Night,” weekly workshops, on-site and admissions visits, field trips, and the creation of a Seminar course to assist scholars with the college application and matriculation process, where 100 percent of scholars have received at least two college acceptances.
The College Success Program at JRLA operates as a 9-16 model that supports alumni through the completion of their postsecondary pursuits. This includes robust alumni programming through college visits each semester, academic and socioemotional support, renewable scholarships, alumni panels, social media pages, events during the holidays, summer send-offs, and alumni parent meetings. Malika’s passion for college access and success began as an English teacher at JRLA. During her time as an 11th and 12th grade teacher, Malika stayed in contact with many of her former scholars, often hearing about their collegiate experiences and challenges. This prompted Malika to begin creating ways to improve instructional and cultural practices in her classroom for first generation and low-income college students.
Prior to relocating to Detroit, Malika was born and raised in London, England and later moved to Brooklyn, New York during her teenage years. During her time in New York City, Malika received an internship with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Arts in Education department and summer AileyCamp. It was here that Malika received the support and mentorship necessary to navigate the college process as a first-generation immigrant college student, as well as developed the passion for young people and the environment needed for them to live out their dreams. She later attended Penn State University where she received dual degrees in Sociology and African American Studies before pursuing her Master’s in Education: Urban Pedagogy from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. The mentorship that Malika received to be able to pursue her career aspirations, she now pays forward through JRLA’s Advisory Program and the mentorship of many of JRLA’s alumni. It is Malika’s hope to continue her goal of providing gateways to success for her scholars, while someday merging best educational practices from the US and her hometown of London, England.Less
Sahar MahmoodMichigan State University, Recruitment CoordinatorMore
Sahar Mahmood is a recruitment coordinator in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University. In this role, she is able to work with high school students - juniors and seniors - in the state of Michigan and throughout the country in regards to college. She is passionate about education, working with young people, and being a guide to college access.
Originally from Afghanistan, her family had to resettle in Pakistan and then again in Michigan. Growing up in three different countries gave Sahar a reason and passion for wanting to make the world a better place. Sahar received her B.A. in Comparative Cultures and Politics from Michigan State University. Subsequently she served as an AmeriCorps Member through City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley where she worked to bridge the education gap through social emotional skill building and class interventions. After a year of volunteer work, Sahar moved back to her hometown of East Lansing, MI where she worked in a non-profit, Peckham Inc., as a youth services specialist. At Peckham, she worked with court involved youth to develop job skills and set SMART goals. She conducted one-on-one skills training, relationship building, and provided resources and support in efforts to motivate youth to graduate high school and maintain employment. Sahar is also extremely passionate about intentional traveling and has led two study abroad programs for high school students – one to Dominican Republic and one to Costa Rica.
Sahar’s experience with youth in different forums has given her a diverse understanding on young people and their environments and challenges. Sahar will continue to empower young people through education.Less
Samantha HarrisDeloitte Consulting, LLP, Human Capital ConsultantMore
Samantha is a passionate advocate for high-impact, community-focused work to drive progressive and holistic change within state and local governments. She is a Consultant in Deloitte’s Human Capital practice and has aligned herself to the Government and Public Services industry; an industry committed to improving public outcomes through a focus on people. She is specialized in leading clients through large organizational transformations and technology implementations. Over the years, she has helped implement integrated eligibility and electronic health record solutions to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the State of New York governments, respectively.
Samantha has also had the opportunity to serve the Detroit and Flint communities through Deloitte’s pro bono offerings in efforts to help nonprofits address mission-critical issues. Through her pro bono work, she provided organization design and talent strategy solutions to the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation (DESC). She also led the project management of 20 high-impact and sustainable private-public partnership projects to drive long-term success for Flint citizens in light of the Flint Water Crisis.
Although she is vehemently devoted to her 6.25 square-mile hometown of Inkster, MI, she has welcomed Detroit into her heart as her home for the past 6 years. She moved to the city shortly after graduating from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with degrees in Sociology and African American History. In the community, she serves as a mentor for Cornerstone Schools, The University of Michigan – Stephen M. Ross School of Business “Buddy Program” for undergraduates, and City Year Detroit. Samantha is a 2019 Detroit New Leaders Council (NLC) Fellow, an MBALaunch (Forté Foundation) participant, and a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated.Less
Scott SmithPlante Moran, Data Science Consulting ManagerMore
Scott Smith is a Data Science Consulting Manager and works with organizations to better leverage their data and analytics through thoughtful data science initiatives. In this role, he serves a range of clients within both the public and private sectors, ranging from nonprofits, higher education institutions, and K-12 school systems to manufacturers, distributors, and financial institutions.
His professional experiences include strategy consulting; managing complex strategic technology initiatives for the Dallas Independent School District; providing data analytics guidance to schools, nonprofits, and Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) School of Education; and serving the students of Dallas as a Teach For America corps member. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from The College of Wooster, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Southern Methodist University.
In addition to his professional experiences, he has spent considerable time volunteering with education reform and community support initiatives—serving as an analytics adviser to several nonprofit programs, supporting local school board elections, organizing advocacy events, and meeting with community stakeholders to help drive local progressive action.
Most importantly—he is happily married to the love of his life and a thankful father of a wonderful daughter.Less
Steven BensonDetroit Public Schools Community District, Training and Support CoordinatorMore
Steven Benson is a millennial that is super passionate about education reform, particularly in marginalized and underrepresented communities. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a political science and environmental studies degree. After college, he decided to do nothing related to those majors and join Teach For America. Steven spent 5 years teaching high school English at his placement school in Tulsa, Oklahoma. While in Tulsa, he received his Master’s in school administration and hopes to one day become a principal of a public school. Steven grew up in West Bloomfield, Michigan and recalls very few instances of spending time in Detroit as a child, unless it was for a professional sporting event. He attributes his current passion for social change in Detroit to his lack of connection to the city growing up, which he believes stemmed from the implicit biases he held, which were largely constructed from the false narratives and misconceptions spread about the city. Steven prides himself in being a Detroiter for the long haul and is persistent in his efforts to unlearn some of the toxic and oppressive mindsets the world taught him as a kid. In his free time, Steven enjoys watching Netflix documentaries and auditioning (16 times, but who's counting) for the TV show Survivor. He is honored to be a part of the NLC Detroit Class of 2019 and can’t wait to learn from some of the brightest and best in his city.Less
Tiffani MoncriefBoys Hope Girls Hope of Detroit, Manager of Community AffairsMore
Tiffani S. Moncrief currently serves as the Manager of Community Affairs at Boys Hope Girls Hope of Detroit. Tiffani is responsible for communications, development, social media, as well as sharing the mission and vision of the Detroit affiliate. With a strong desire to succeed Tiffani is excited about the great opportunities working at Boys Hope Girls Hope of Detroit brings and being an example to current and future scholars. As she is strengthening her skills in her second career, this former teacher is thankful for a life-changing opportunity with ALSAC/ St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a former intern and employee.
With a passion for education, serving others, and strong interest in political progress, Tiffani wants to be an advocate for her hometown of Detroit and inspire others to try new things and think outside the circle (a circle has no parameters). Tiffani is proud to be a member of the Anti-Defamation League Detroit Chapter and active member in her church, Central Baptist Church. Tiffani holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Central Michigan University in Community Development.
For leisure, Tiffani loves to travel, spending time with family and friends, and trying new ways to stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle.Less
- Aidan Ali-Sullivan
- Amanda Brewington
- Arielle Johnson
- Ashleigh Maddox
- Bianca Lawrence
- Candace Kimpson
- Cedric Scott
- Daralynn Walker
- Djeneba Cherif
- Dwayne Barnes
- Joshua Rivera
- LaToya Cunningham
- Lola Banks
- Mayra Bravo
- Nguvu Tsare
- Phaedra Wainaina
- Raven Thompson
- Robert Lockett
- Ryan Bates
- Tyrone Michael Clemons
- Allante Whitmore
- Angel Brown
- Arielle Milton
- Demar Lewis
- Dexter Mason
- Dorothy Heebner
- Edwina King
- Heather Olden
- Jordan Twardy
- Marlo Staples
- Mary Naoum
- Matthew Robb
- Mechelle Sieglitz
- Miesha Williamson
- Quentin Henry
- Reda Taleb
- Tabitha Bentley
- Veronica Farley-Seybert
- Walter Ward
- Aghogho Edevbie
- Akunna Olumba
- Branden Snyder
- Cory Connolly
- DeAndree Watson
- Elizabeth Taylor
- Jereshia Hawk
- Julius Readus
- Kamilia Landrum
- Keith Jones
- Latonya Garth
- LaTrice Davis
- Lauren Bealore
- Marva Goodson
- Matthew Carter
- Meredith Loomis Quinlan
- Quentin Love
- Russell Harris
- Thomas Turner
- Adrienne Hill
- Amanda Alexander
- Angela Fortino
- Axel Cooley
- Brittany Stallworth
- Christopher M. Blount
- Eboni Wells
- Eze Ejelonu
- Jay Rayford
- Kristen Carethers
- Lawrence Robinson
- Marcus Jones
- Modeira Johnson
- Parker Tracey
- Rakiba Mitchell
- Robert Thomas
- Royda Urey
- Sean Harness
- Shaniece Bennett
- Treasure Thomas