Listen to a panel of professionals in Southeast Michigan about the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion for small businesses, initiatives. that will help the small business landscape, and how Detroit-based businesses can get priority consideration in procurement opportunities.
Watch A Recap Of The Event:
Chanel Scott Contreras, Executive Director, ProsperUS
Driven by her empathetic nature and passion for entrepreneurs of color, Chanell Scott Contreras is deeply committed to increasing economic equity throughout Detroit. As the executive director of ProsperUS, she collaborates with a rich network of partners to strategically grow and develop training, business services, and microlending for underserved entrepreneurs in Detroit’s neighborhoods.
Prior to joining ProsperUS, Scott Contreras worked on a range of community and economic development initiatives with organizations such as Kiva in Detroit and the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland. She refined her skills in economic development as a National Urban Fellow at The Cleveland Foundation while completing a Master of Public Administration at Baruch College of the City University of New York. Before Scott Contreras pursued a career in community economic development, she was a small business owner working to help independent producers of fair-trade and eco-friendly products market and grow their own small businesses.
Scott Contreras’ commitment to equity and inclusion was strengthened during her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan and is rooted in the beautiful diversity of her friends and extended family. In her free time, Scott Contreras is often playing outside or enjoying cultural events with her family, buying another pair of earrings, or listening to NPR.
Portia L. Roberson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Focus:HOPE
A native of Detroit, Portia Roberson has been actively involved in the community throughout her career. She currently serves as the chief executive officer and president of Focus: HOPE, a racial and social justice nonprofit organization. She previously served as group executive of Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity (CRIO) for the city of Detroit. In this role, Roberson ensured that Detroit residents and businesses played an integral role in city development initiatives. Additionally, she also served as corporation counsel for the City of Detroit.
In 2009, Roberson was appointed the director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Justice by President Barack Obama and served as Detroit lead for the White House Domestic Policy Office’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) initiative. She is passionate about bettering the lives of others and improving equality, inclusion, diversity, and justice for all.
Roberson earned her Juris Doctor from Wayne State University Law School and her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Michigan. She was admitted to the Michigan Bar in 1994. Roberson currently sits on the Michigan Department of Civil Rights Commission, serves on the board of Delta Manor, and is involved with numerous other civic, legal, and social organizations.
Kim Rustem, Director of Civil Rights, Inclusion, and Opportunity Department, City of Detroit
Kimberly Rustem is the director of the City of Detroit Civil Rights, Inclusion, and Opportunity (CRIO) Department. Prior to that, she served as Mayor Mike Duggan’s chief policy advisor and the senior policy advisor to the director of the Detroit Health Department. Rustem has worked in Washington D.C., Lansing, and Detroit on issues of social and health policy since receiving her masters’ degree from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy in 2015 and a bachelor’s degree in comparative cultures and politics from James Madison College at Michigan State University in 2011. Rustem is responsible for overseeing over 25 staff members at CRIO who are dedicated to making sure that Detroiter’s civil rights are protected, voices are included, and opportunities are accessible. This includes:
- The Civil Rights Team, which investigates resident and employee civil rights complaints.
- The Incentives and Compliance Team, which ensures developers remain in compliance with the city’s community benefits ordinance and the Mayor’s 51% Detroit hire executive order.
- The Construction Outreach Team, which connects Detroit’s skilled trade workforce to construction job opportunities in the City.
- The Detroit Homegrown Team, which provides technical and financial assistance to Detroit’s marijuana entrepreneurs and oversees the medical and recreational marijuana licensing process.
- The Detroit Business Opportunity Team, which certifies Detroit-based businesses for procurement opportunities with the city.
- The Office of Disability Affairs, which works to improve accessibility for Detroit’s disabled community.
- The Office of Early Learning, which is a new office that will help connect pre-k families to available pre-k seats in the city.
Rustem is also is the chair of the mayor’s equity council which is made up of department leaders across the city dedicated to breaking down barriers to opportunity for Detroiters.
Learn how the Chamber is committed to racial justice and economic equity.