Detroit Policy Conference


Register for the 2017 Detroit Policy Conference: Reigniting an Innovative Spirit. The Conference will highlight and celebrate Detroit’s ongoing economic resurgence by bringing together over 600 key business, community and political leaders.

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Speaker Announcement

During a highly anticipated discussion, panelists including: Maurice Cox, Brenda Jones, Justin Robinson and Moddie Turay will discuss initiatives underway, challenges and opportunities on the horizon to increase business investment and creating opportunities for all Detroiters.

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The 2017 Detroit Policy Conference will be held at MotorCity Casino Hotel on Thursday, March 2 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Register for the Conference here.

Strengthening Detroit: Partners in Economic Development

During a highly anticipated discussion at the 2017 Detroit Policy Conference, panelists from the city of Detroit, city council, Detroit Economic Growth Corp. (DEGC) and the Detroit Regional Chamber will discuss initiatives underway, challenges and opportunities on the horizon to increase business investment and creating opportunities for all Detroiters.

Growing Detroit from the inside out, the Detroit city government and leading business organizations are partners in executing an impactful economic development strategy. From downtown to the neighborhoods, city government and business leaders are spearheading strategies to ensure sustainable economic growth.

Panelists: Maurice Cox, Planning Director, City of Detroit
Brenda Jones, President, Detroit City Council
Justin Robinson, Vice President, Business Attraction, Detroit Regional Chamber
Moddie Turay, Executive Vice President, Real Estate and Financial Services, Detroit Economic Growth Corp.

Moderator: Stephen Henderson, Editorial Page Editor, Detroit Free Press

Lawyer for the People, Kym Worthy Takes the Sound Board Stage

Named one of CKLW 2011- Photorain’s Detroit Business “100 Most Influential Women” in 2016, Kym Worthy, prosecutor for Wayne County is the first African-American and the first female to hold the position. Worthy will take the Sound Board stage to discuss how her office is safeguarding the community in a session sponsored by Comcast Business.

In 2009, Worthy’s office discovered 11,341 sexual assault kits in a Detroit Police Department property storage facility that had gone untested. Worthy will also discuss the partnership her office has with the “Enough Said” campaign and their mission to ensure every kit found is tested and every case is investigated.

As a result of her courage and integrity, she has been recognized by numerous professional organizations and was named a “Woman of Excellence” by the Michigan Chronicle

Power Perspectives: Hear From Detroiters That Are Passionate About Helping the City Progress

During the Conference attendees will hear Power Perspectives from four passionate individuals who are helping sustain Detroit’s momentum by supporting and strengthening Detroiters across the city. Each Power Perspective speaker will share brief remarks on how their work in the city has had an impact on Detroit’s revitalization. Power Perspectives are sponsored by Grand Valley State University.

David Alade

David Alade is the co-founder of Century Partners, an organization that facilitates holistic community revitalization through sustainable residential housing development. Under Alade’s leadership, Century Partners has rehabbed more than 30 housing units in Detroit’s neighborhoods and developed innovative ways for Detroiters to fiscally benefit from the city’s revitalization.

Rita Fields

Rita Fields is the executive vice president for the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit and an associate professor of management in the School of Business at Madonna University. Fields and the theatre seek to empower Detroit’s youth to create positive changes in their lives and communities by helping them develop patterns of cooperation, disciplined work habits and effective problem-solving skills.

Cornetta Lane

Cornetta Lane is the founder of Detroit Dialogues, a discussion group that focuses on strengthening Detroit communities through conversation and civic engagement. In addition, Lane also founded “Pedal to Porch,” an initiative supported by the Knight Foundation, that explores Detroit’s untold history through monthly bike tours leading participants through different areas of the city to hear residents tell the story of their neighborhoods.

Olga Stella_headshot

Olga Stella is the executive director of the Detroit Creative Corridor (DC3). A seasoned economic development professional, Stella started her career working for Mayor Dennis Archer and previously served as chief of staff to former state Rep. Steve Tobocman. Stella currently leads DC3, metro Detroit’s creative industries advocacy organization, where she serves to elevate the economic output and social impact of Detroit’s creative economy.


Detroit Police Chief James Craig to Discuss Innovative Approaches to Reducing Crime

chief Craigs head shotDetroit’s ongoing economic resurgence, from downtown to the vibrant neighborhoods has been a collaborative effort between a number of key people, organizations and initiatives. At the forefront of the conversation around crime and safety, Detroit Police Chief James Craig. During a moderated discussion sponsored by Comcast Business, Craig will discuss the technology and innovative methods that the Detroit Police Department (DPD) are utilizing to decrease crime and create a safer Detroit.

A notable method that has proven effective is Project Green Light Detroit, the first public-private-community partnership of its kind, which reduced crime by 50 percent among the first group of businesses to enter the program. To help expand this effort, Comcast Business made it more accessible to businesses by offering a program that allows eligible business to join for reduced equipment costs.

In addition, Craig will analyze conflict resolution strategies for the community to stop criminal activities from escalating before they happen, as well as share approaches the DPD is taking to reintroduce prisoners to the community and efforts to reduce recidivism

Urban Transportation Expert Janette Sadik-Khan to Share Playbook on Better Streets 

jskLeading urban transportation policy expert and best-selling author, Janette Sadik-Khan is the principal transportation consultant for Bloomberg Associates. A proven urban transformation leader, she oversaw an ambitious program to improve safety, mobility and sustainability for New York City’s transportation infrastructure.
In her book, “Street Fight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution,” she explains how she managed the seemingly impossible and transformed the streets of
one of the world’s largest cities into dynamic pedestrian- and bike-friendly spaces.

Having recently worked in Detroit, Sadik-Khan is familiar with the challenges the city faces and recently consulted on molding Detroit into a more pedestrian-friendly city. She will discuss the noticeable changes in Corktown through dedicated bike lanes and what can be done to help craft a long-term vision for mobility across the city.

Nationally Renowned Urban Planner Toni Griffin to Deliver Keynote AddressIn 2011, Griffin was called upon to serve as the project director for the Detroit Work Project Long Term Toni Griffin photo - noah kalina (credit)Planning Initiative for her expertise in urban planning, and to strategize and implement a plan for what to do with Detroit’s overwhelming amount of underutilized land, among many other urban issues.

Over the course of three years, Griffin and a team of professional civic leaders studied land use, neighborhoods, city systems and economic growth. This collaboration between public and private sectors created Detroit Future City, a 20-year comprehensive citywide framework for urban transformation. The projects overall goals are to reignite Detroit’s economy and implement the city’s first comprehensive plan for land use.

Looking forward, she will offer insight into what is needed to ensure Detroit’s continued success and innovative strategies for urban revitalization, drawing on her experience in cities like Memphis, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh.

Detroit Spotlight:

In 2013, Detroit was thrust into the national spotlight as a city in bankruptcy. We’ve remained in that spotlight because of our shared vision and passion to innovate for a brighter Detroit. The 2017 Detroit Policy Conference will highlight how unprecedented collaboration inspired countless acts that reignited our iconic city’s innovative spirit.

Innovation District has the Potential to “Supercharge” Detroit’s Economy

Model D

Touching on the 2017 Detroit Policy Conference theme of reigniting an innovative spirit, this article shows how innovation lives on Midtown Detroit.

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Tech and Innovation Power Detroit’s Manufacturing Revival


A confluence of factors—including public and private initiatives, high-tech incubators, philanthropic fundraising, an influx of venture capital and a craftsmanship movement—are bringing Detroit back from the depths of municipal bankruptcy and widespread unemployment, which stands at 7.8 percent in metro Detroit, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Motor City’s All-American Small Business Comeback


From a city in bankruptcy to a place where people can’t keep up with all the new businesses popping up downtown. Since 2013, there has been at least $3.4 billion in investment and development announced in the city.

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Why JPMorgan Bet $100 Million on Detroit

CNN Money

Detroit is the largest city in the United States to go bankrupt, but many large companies still see the city as a smart investment; a key reason for the resurgence of Detroit.

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Lear CEO Sees New Detroit Innovation Center as Turning Point for Company, City

Crain’s Detroit Business

Recognizing the importance of Detroit’s transformation Lear Corp. leveraged what the city has to offer and opened a new Innovation Center in the heart of downtown.

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West Village Site to be 1st from $30M Neighborhood Fund

The Detroit News

Touching on last year’s Detroit Policy Conference theme, neighborhoods, a new development was designed to drive inclusive economic growth in the city’s neighborhoods.

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Detroit is UNESCO’s First Official ‘City of Design’

Travel and Leisure

From the deep roots of innovation, Detroit has been recognized as the first “City of Design” by UNESCO. Alongside 116 cities, the network aims to “foster international cooperation with and between cities committed to investing in creativity as a driver for sustainable urban development, social inclusion and cultural vibrancy.”

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Read session recaps and watch full videos from the 2016 Conference here.