Each year, the Michigan Chronicle celebrates 40 professionals under the age of 40 who have inspired others through vision and leadership, exceptional achievements, and community service participation. The recognized professionals represent many industries and endeavors and are business leaders, community activists, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and educators. These professionals were chosen from hundreds of nominees and will be joining a group comprised of our area’s most influential young professionals and community leaders. It is with great excitement that we announce the Michigan Chronicle 2020 40 Under 40 Honorees!
Vice President, Talent Acquisition
Dan joined Quicken Loans in February of 2013 and is the Vice President of Talent Acquisition for Rock Central. In his role, he leads a team that works on identifying, interviewing, and placing a diverse slate of candidates within the Rock Family of Companies. His teams work on development of talent brand, strategy and execution for 30+ companies within the family. Dan’s passion for talent stems from his unique cultural background and his lifelong mission to make an impact with others.
Rep. Kyra Harris Bolden
Michigan’s 35th House District
State Rep. Kyra Bolden is serving her first term representing Michigan’s 35th House District, which includes the communities of Southfield, Lathrup Village, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms and Franklin. Bolden also serves as Assistant Leader for the House Democrats.
A graduate of Southfield Public Schools, Bolden received her bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University and went on to attend the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.
Dr. Lauren Walker
Co-Owner and Medical Director
Colonial Veterinary Clinic
Dr. Lauren Elyse Walker has been a small animal veterinarian in the metropolitan Detroit area for 10 years. A native of Detroit, she is a graduate of Cass Technical High School. Lauren obtained her B.S. in Biochemistry and B.A. in French from Michigan State University. She then went on to the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine to complete her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
Dennis Veal II
Martin Luther King High School
Dennis Veal II, a native East Side Detroiter is currently serving the community as the Assistant Principal at Martin Luther King High School, He is a proud Husband and a Father of two. As a Cass Tech 2003 graduate, Veal matriculated through higher Education receiving a Bachelors of Science from Eastern Michigan University and later a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Phoenix.
Dr. LaToya Thompson
Senior Sports Physical Therapist
The Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan-DMC
Dr. LaToya M. Thompson is a physical therapist specializing in treatment of sport injuries. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Michigan State University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and earned her Doctorate in Physical Therapy at Oakland University.
Executive Director of Innovation & Stakeholder Engagement
Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan
Cortnie Squirewell is the Executive Director of Innovation & Stakeholder Engagement for Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan and is responsible for innovating the typical Boys & Girls Clubs model by developing an impact partner strategy, career pathway program for teens, designing an Esports lab, and establishing a virtual club model to keep youth connected during the global pandemic.
Larry Spruill Jr.
WDIV-TV Local 4 Detroit
Larry Spruill Jr. joined WDIV-TV Local 4 in Detroit as a News Reporter in January 2018. Since then, he has covered several large stories such as the Dayton Mass Shooting, Aretha Franklin’s Funeral. He was also one of the lead reporters while covering COVID-19 and the protests addressing racial equality in Detroit.
Before coming to Detroit, he worked at WJAX-TV in Jacksonville, Florida, making a name for himself there also, covering breaking news stories and the weather. When Hurricane Irma came blowing through Florida, he was one of the lead reporters working around the clock.
City of Detroit
At the age of 32 Bruce Simpson made history by being appointed the youngest Ombudsman for the City of Detroit. Since then, he has shown his dedication to working with residents and community groups to ensure city agencies are providing tax paid services, to improve their quality of life.
Bruce believes “Everything in my training has led me to conduct myself in the most humble and respectful manner as I carry out my duties on behalf of Detroit residents.”
36th District Court
Aliyah Sabree is a judge at the 36th District Court and presides over the traffic/criminal division. She is an executive team member and an integral part of the day-to-day operations. Prior to her current position, Aliyah was Associate General Counsel for the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department. In 2014, Sabree served as the Mayor of Detroit’s Liaison to City Council.
Transition Family Services
Tamika Reeves is a Licensed Clinical Therapist, serial entrepreneur, wife, and mother of three beautiful children. She is the founder of Transition Family Services, a private practice counseling facility in Southfield Michigan. Her practice has provided mental health counseling to over 200 individuals in the Metropolitan Detroit area. She is the founder of Protecting My Peace LLC, a company focused on delivering the message of prioritizing peace and self-care.
Director of Accreditation
Wayne State University School of Medicine
Robert Reaves, MBA (age 31) – is Director of Accreditation at the nation’s largest medical school, the Wayne State University School of Medicine – a 150-year-old institution that produces 40% of doctors in the State of Michigan. The work that Reaves does has a direct impact on 1,200 medical students, six hospital affiliates and health outcomes in Detroit — the city where he was born and raised.
Cass Technical High School
Patricia Perry is on the leadership team at the legendary Cass Technical High School in Detroit. She has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. After graduating from Bowling Green State University, which she attended on a full academic scholarship, Patricia started teaching high school math throughout metro Detroit. Six years ago, her career brought her to Cass Tech as a math instructional specialist where her incredible talent quickly earned her a promotion to her current role as assistant principal.
Deputy Chief Legal Counsel
Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network
Callana, a Detroit native, serves as Deputy Chief Legal Counsel for the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network (DWIHN). During her tenure, she has completely reshaped the organization’s legal department, optimizing its use of technology and creating efficiencies to manage DWIHN’s provider network. She advises DWIHN’s executive leadership and Board of Directors on various legal issues, including current national opioid litigation.
Assistant Program Engineering Manager – Autonomous
Charles Muse was named assistant program engineering manager – Autonomous in August 2019. In this role, he’s responsible for leading two revolutionary technologies needed to execute validation and service of fully autonomous vehicles, managing a $20M budget alongside very complex deliverables. Previously, Muse achieved and surpassed the aerodynamics criteria set forth on the company’s crossover vehicles, improving vehicle energy performance (C02 & fuel economy).
Dr. Sabrina Claude McGahee
Superintendent of Schools
Old Redford Academy School District
Dr. Sabrina Claude McGahee has served as the Superintendent of Schools for the Old Redford Academy School District since July 1, 2019. Dr. McGahee’s philosophy centers on educational equity as the lever to better student outcomes. Her personal commitment to leading for social justice drives her work to improve academic, health and wellness, and social-emotional learning outcomes for students in Detroit.
Jazmine Williams McCoy
Director for Diversity and Inclusion
Jazmine Williams McCoy is a native Detroiter who serves as the Director for Diversity and Inclusion at Rock Ventures serving Quicken Loans and the Family of companies. She shaped the framework for the Team Member Resource Network (TMRN) Program, Quicken Loans’ version of Employee Resource Groups, and currently leads the Team’s engagement efforts.
Senior Vice President and Director of Community Relations
LaTrice McClendon is dedicated Detroit leader. In her current role, she serves as the Senior Vice President and Director of Community Relations for TCF Bank. She has the distinct honor of overseeing the TCF Foundation which gives supports to non profit organizations throughout the Midwest. She is not new to supporting and serving communities as she has led initiatives in Detroit for many years.
East Coast Communications Lead, Cadillac, GMC and Buick
An award-winning communications strategist with expertise in bridging corporate and consumer worlds, Iman Jefferson leads General Motors’ east region communications for Buick, GMC and Cadillac. She plays a pivotal role in developing strategic messaging and storytelling opportunities for these iconic brands. Previously at GM, Iman led communications for Maven Car Sharing and Urban Mobility efforts.
Jordon Jackson, a multifaceted individual; Jack-of-all-trades, master of some. After working for several years in the rapidly growing Georgia film industry, Jordon rejoined the automotive industry in his hometown, Detroit, MI. Jordon previously attended Savannah College of Art and Design where he earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Film and Television Producing and Directing. Before that he received a Bachelors in Business Administration Management at Morehouse College.
Chief of Staff
Detroit Public Schools Community District
Kristen is a natural leader and born communicator. As the Chief of Staff for Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), she has been tasked with revitalizing and restarting core bodies of work. She leads the district’s marketing, enrollment, lobbying, government affairs and community engagement efforts, Board relations, policy development, equity and civil rights compliance and training, and employee misconduct and investigations teams.
Dr. Stephanie Hawkes
Assistant Director for the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement
Wayne State University
Dr. Stephanie Hawkes serves as the Assistant Director for the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement at Wayne State University (WSU). In her role, she develops campus-wide programming and educational opportunities centered on multiculturalism, with an emphasis on addressing issues of equity and inclusion. Dr. Hawkes grew up on the East side of Detroit and is a proud product of the Detroit Public School system. As a first-generation college student, her interests lie in academic support, specifically around initiatives that assist marginalized and underserved students be successful in college.
James H. Cole Legacy Foundation
Antonio Green is a graduate of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree from Bowling Green State University, Green decided to pursue his passion of helping others in their greatest time of need and continue his family’s legacy of funeral service by attending the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. In 2007, he received his license in Mortuary Science from the state of Michigan.
Fiat Chrysler Automotive
Dezmond Gray was born & raised on the east side of Detroit, Michigan. He is a product of the Detroit Public School system. After graduating from Cass Technical High School, he headed to Western Michigan University on a full athletic scholarship where he earned two degrees, in Business Management and Marketing. After a short Professional football career, Dezmond went on to pursue a career in automotive manufacturing.
Founder & Chief Strategist
An urban practitioner with a passion for inclusive economic development, James’s client roster includes New Economy Initiative, Rock Ventures, the Knight Foundation, Wayne State University and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. He has contributed to programs as NEIdeas, Motor City Match, Detroit Demo Day, the Knight Cities Challenge, and Detroit Revitalization Fellows.
Ariel Ellis is an emerging Film Director at Woodward Original. She has directed commercials and social impact content for brands including Crown Royal, Pepsi, Rocket Mortgage, and Huntington Bank. As a young girl, Ariel could quote every line from her favorite films. She always knew she wanted to be a director but had no idea how to make those dreams a reality. Despite her early film obsession, Ariel began her storytelling career as a journalist.
Best Network Design and Associates, LLC
Eze Ejelonu is currently President of BND (Best Network Design and Associates, LLC). BND is an electrical union contractor that specializes in providing low voltage, security/access control, networking solutions and ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) services. Their customer base targets medium to large size commercial customers which include municipal, state and federal agencies. BND’S growth and sustainability can be heavily contributed to Eze’s leadership and hunger for success.
Posh and Popular LLC
Kimberly M. Dobine is the experiential visionary, purpose-driven event producer, moderator, online boutique owner, and lifestyle brand curator redefining what it means to be popular in her daily strides. An impact architect in her own right, Kimberly is an executor of all things womanhood, media, style, and beauty as owner of Posh and Popular LLC, and founder of the Fashion and Beauty Summit and the P.O.S.H and Popular Foundation.
Director of Workforce Development and Education
Jewel Chapman is an educational and business leader, a certified Global Career Development Facilitator, and Focus: HOPE’s current director of Workforce Development and Education, where she’s bolstered Metro Detroit’s workforce with thousands of the region’s most deserving and previously untapped talents. A key leader of Focus: HOPE’s half-century strategic plan implementation, she’s overseen dramatic increase in student enrollments and job placement as well as the securing of $4.7 million in new funding.
USI Insurance Services
All roads lead back to South East Michigan for Inkster native Matthew Carter. After his graduation, he proudly served as a Military Police Officer in the United States Army. Having been fortunate enough to have travelled the world with the Army, he returned to the area with a renewed passion for community betterment. Since his return, he has worked tirelessly to give back to the region that he calls home. He has volunteered with multiple non-profits around the area. In 2017, Matthew served on the executive team of the New Leaders Council – Detroit Chapter.
DTE’s Renewable Sales organization
Knox W. Cameron is currently Manager for DTE’s Renewable Sales organization, where he is responsible for developing and executing the sales strategy for MIGreenPower, the second largest voluntary wind and solar utility program in the country. During his 11-plus year career at the company, he has served in a variety of roles including Sales, Marketing, Operations Project Management.
Flood’s Bar and Grille, The Garden Theater, The Block
Native Detroiter Stephanie Byrd, is the co-owner of Flood’s Bar and Grille in Detroit’s Greektown community, The Garden Theater, and The Block – a casual, gastropub-style dining restaurant on Woodward Avenue between Selden and West Alexandrine streets in Midtown. Stephanie is a graduate of Mercy High school (Farmington Hills), she studied at Howard University in (Washington, D.C.), where she earned her Bachelors degree in marketing and communications.
The DeLaurian Enterprise
DeLaurian is an Entrepreneur, Digital Strategist & founder of The DeLaurian Enterprise. The DeLaurian Enterprise is a multimedia house of Brand & Social Media Strategy, Content Production, Entertainment & Empowerment. As Chief Experience & Creative Director, she helps companies from global corporations to small businesses create authentic, strategic digital marketing campaigns & visual content.
Marketing Insight’s Analyst
Crain’s Detroit Business
Reggie Brown is a multifaceted professional, specializing in marketing and communications, with over a decade of experience working with brands in healthcare, automotive, and education. Currently, Reggie serves as the Outreach Director of Detroit Homecoming, a program designed to engage and enlist the efforts of ex-pat and native Detroiters in initiatives to support the city, he is the point of contact for ex-pat communication and opportunity development.
Executive Director for Development
City of Detroit Mayor’s Office
Kai Bowman serves as the Executive Director for Development in the Mayor’s Office. In this role he’s negotiated over $35M in community benefits as part of $2.5B FCA plant expansion deal generating 5k new jobs. In addition to this work, he serves as co chair for Mayor’s Equity Council Entrepreneurship committee and worked on mitigation strategies for Detroit small businesses in response to COVID-19.
Candice Bowman is a marketer, communicator and catalyst for organizations and brands and served for the previous four years as the National Director of Business Development for PR and integrated marketing firm Lambert & Co. focusing on Detroit, New York and key financial markets. In late 2019, Candice launched EQUALSIGN, an equity & inclusion consultancy focused on diverse board development for public companies and private equity firms, ESG and diversity consulting, strategic audience engagement, and culture-driven marketing and communications.
Director of Medicare Advantage Coordination of Care program.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Chayla Beason is a Southwest Detroit native, who came from very humble beginnings. She attended Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Detroit and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Technology from University of Detroit Mercy and Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Walsh College. At the age of 29, Chayla started her own business providing opportunities to over 40 contractors & employees, managing over 1,400 properties in Michigan for various banks.
Vice President of Small Business Services
Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
Pierre Batton is a community and economic development maven with over ten years of experience leading initiatives and programs that intersect the areas of work force development, entrepreneurship, housing and economic mobility. In his current role as Vice President of Small Business Services at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Batton oversees the City of Detroit’s small business development efforts.
Assistant Corporation Counsel
City of Detroit Law
Alfred Ashu was born in Detroit, Michigan. He is a graduate of Wayne State University and Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. Alfred currently serves as Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Detroit’s Law Department where he has successfully represented the City of Detroit, its agencies and employees in various legal matters as well as in affirmative and defensive civil litigation.
Business Planning Manager for Chairman & CEO
Tarshena Armstrong was named Business Planning Manager for General Motors’ Chairman & CEO in October 2020. In this role, she works directly with Mary Barra, GM’s Chairman & CEO to implement best practices and learning plans to meet business objectives. Additionally, she’s responsible for leading portfolio studies and other project assignments within the Global Portfolio Planning organization.
Senior Consultant; System Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Henry Ford Health System
Sharifa Alcendor has dedicated herself to ensuring the voices of underrepresented populations are heard in healthcare. With over 14 years of progressive experience in healthcare leadership, Sharifa has developed several innovative approaches to addressing social determinants of health barriers for patients and communities.