Meet Our Graduates

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Hear from graduates of Leadership Detroit on their experience surrounding the program.

 

Tracie McKinney, LD XXXIX
Managing Editor
WSB-TV
Iltefat Hamzavi, LD XXXIX
Vice President
Hamzavi Dermatology
Wendy Ernzen, LD XXXIX
Director of Development,
Arc of Northwest Wayne County
“Leadership Detroit will call you to look within, dig deep, connect with your best self and then share it with the world. It demanded that I stretch myself to move past my own pain to achieve greater understanding from multiple perspectives.” “During a very turbulent time in our country, state, and region, the LD experience reminded me about all that is good in the metro Detroit area. If we have this group leading us, then I am hopeful for the future and whatever may come our way.” “LD did a great job putting together a group of talented, professional, and passionate people with diverse connections and authentic intentions who have the future potential to solve our toughest regional challenges with civility and grace.”

Marc Berke, LD XL
Chief Development Officer,
Autism Alliance of Michigan

“The experience I had will have a positive impact on the rest of my life, both professionally and personally. Spending 10 intense months with remarkable people from all over the Detroit area, learning important and hard-hitting issues facing our community, and looking at where you are as a leader can impact your community and your organization. I am so appreciative that I had this opportunity to be a part of something that will continually help shape the leader I want to be in Detroit.”

Adelaide Pascaris, LD XL
Senior Area Manager,
Local Government & Community Affairs, ITC

“Leadership Detroit delivered on its promise of being a transformational leadership development program. In the past ten months of the program, I have expanded my knowledge of the key issues that affect that Metro Detroit region while interacting with a cohort full of energy, inspiration, and business acumen. I am leaving the program with a heightened sense of awareness and new tools to succeed as a business leader.”

Cynthia Gardner, LD XL
Senior Vice President/Business Banking Market Manager, PNC

“One of the most valuable takeaways of my Leadership Detroit experience was connecting with an amazing group of leaders from across the region. This experience showed me that there are people who are deeply passionate and committed to the success of the Detroit region. As our class gained greater knowledge about the opportunities from local leadership, there was an energy of becoming united in a singular desire to move the region forward. And it hasn’t ended with graduation. It continues — an ever-burning fire of commitment.”

Zaineb Hussein, LD XL
Deputy Chief of Staff,
Michigan Department of State

“Since the Great Recession, transformational change across the region has occurred quicker than many expected, yet we are reminded often how far we have to go. As Leadership Detroit highlighted, we must address serious issues like affordable housing, education, workforce development, and inclusion head on. As a region we must establish an equitable, strong, and vibrant region where all can prosper and pursue the best version of ourselves. Ultimately, I walked away from the program understanding that lasting change is difficult, takes time, and must be intentional. Luckily, I walked away with a new family to help achieve just that.”

Joshua Best, LD XL
Director of Training,
Quicken Loans

“Although I was aware of Leadership Detroit’s track record before I applied to the program, the personal and professional development and relationships I gained far exceeded my expectations. The challenges our region faces are complex and interconnected, requiring a collaborative approach and a multidimensional strategy to identify and execute solutions. My experience broadened and deepened my understanding of adaptive leadership, providing tools and resources that I now use on my leadership journey. Leadership Detroit’s intentional focus on bringing together leaders that represent multiple sectors, diverse perspectives, and different geographic boundaries is a microcosm of the recipe needed for transformational change in our region.”

Amanda Hanlin, LD XL
Chief of Staff, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation

“My experience in Leadership Detroit really helped me tap into creative ways of thinking about the most significant challenges and opportunities in our region. I found new perspectives and developed deeper connections that have already helped me bring a more holistic viewpoint and more effective strategies to my work. I also feel grateful for the adaptive leadership toolbox that the program provided me. It has made me more confident and helped me remove barriers to progress in my organization. Overall, I feel inspired and better equipped to contribute something positive to broader regional causes.”

Jamie Kaye Walters, LD XL
Creative Services and Programming Director, WDIV

“What I know for sure is that leadership doesn’t come automatically with a job title. Leadership Detroit helped translate my experience, curiosity, and perspective into practical tools in my career and my community. The program gave me time to evaluate my place in my professional and personal journey while exposing me to new people and perspectives. Those in my cohort were the most valuable takeaway from the program. Because of them, Leadership Detroit truly “has legs” into the future. The conversations, relationships, and honest engagements we started will continue for years, even after we’ve returned to our smaller spheres throughout metro Detroit.”

Kristina Robinson Garrett, LD XL
Judge, 36th District Court

“Leadership Detroit Class XL afforded me the distinct honor to join a group of individuals who share my passion for making a difference in the community, build long-lasting relationships, and expand my understanding of the Detroit region. I gained insight and appreciation for transformational leadership by taking a deep dive into problem-solving discussions, learning to challenge the process, and the importance of asking myself, ‘Where am I?’ I now humbly serve the city of Detroit as a judge at 36th District Court and as a conscious leader who remains committed to learning, listening deeply, speaking unarguably, and enabling others to act.”

Christine Quane, LD XL
Regional Food Hub Director, Eastern Market Corporation

“I was stretched, inspired, humbled, and pulled out of my comfort zone in ways that have profoundly benefited my performance in my career, as well as deeply enriched my personal and professional relationships. It was an honor and privilege to be among such generous and brilliant leaders and together, I feel we leave LD united and equipped to lean into the difficult work that lies ahead with empathy, dedication, and a shared passion to shepherd Detroit to an equitable, economically democratic place of innovation, grit, and inclusion.”

 

Ryan Maibach, LD XXXI
President & CEO,
Barton Malow Company

“Leadership Detroit was an amazing, eye-opening experience. Having grown up in metro Detroit and lived in the community most of my life, I felt I understood the area and the issues pretty well. After going through the LD experience, I gained context and understanding of why some aspects of our community are the way they are and how diverse leaders in the area are working to improve it.”

Jack Elsey, LD XLI
Executive Director,
Detroit Children’s Fund

“In the midst of a global pandemic and nationwide uprisings protesting racial inequity in our country, my LD experience offered me a unique opportunity to understand the Detroit experience from multiple lenses: with new friends comes new perspectives, never more valuable than at this time.”

Monique Stanton, LD XXXVIII
President & Chief Executive Officer,
CARE of Southeastern Michigan

“Leadership Detroit surpassed all of my expectations. I found myself having real dialogue about race, class, economics, and other issues that are impacting our region, state, and nation that I didn’t expect to have in a leadership development program. I’ve made some genuine friendships and relationships that go beyond general networking.”

 

Angela Vincent, LD XL
Owner & Operator, Mix Bricktown

“As an entrepreneur, Leadership Detroit had a direct effect on my business model by teaching me specifics about my leadership style and what effect it has on my bottom line.  I have been able to take it a step further with my staff and management by opening up the dialogue regarding their assessment of my leadership.  This allowed us to quickly attack weak areas within the company.  Our approach has led to increased moral and a stronger work ethic collectively. The transformative leadership lessons I learned in the program have prepared me for my next stage of entrepreneurship excellence.”

Shannon Smith, LD XL
Vice President, Siebert Williams Shank

“One key takeaway from my Leadership Detroit experience is that the time for leadership and collaboration has never been more important. This region has the potential to become a global economic hub, and it’s hard for me to see us achieving that without meaningful collaboration. Leadership Detroit was the first time in my life where I witnessed leaders from this region work together to achieve something great for all. In order to balance the needs of people, planet, and profit we have to start thinking about collaborating to expand the pie for all and not compete for a slice of it.”

Michelle Sherman, LD XL
Chief Operating Officer, Southwest Solutions

“Leadership Detroit has allowed me to reconnect with my city and forced me to think deeply the challenges we have faced as a major metropolitan city in this region. The LD journey reminded me of all the great people, who do amazing work in our community every day. We take a lot for granted and it’s a wake-up call that we have much more work to do. It will continue to take the collective effort of many (for profit, not for profit, government, and others) to improve the lives of everyone in our community. As we look forward, it will be important for corporations and nonprofits to work together, diversify their workforce and support the community. The change has been positive because there were so many leaders who have a vision and so many who are committed to working together to realize it. We each have to find our place as visionaries and/or the workers who carry out the vision.