What is your company and title?
Quicken Loans – Training Consultant
Tell us why you’re best for this committee!
The intersection between policy, equity, and social life is an area of interest that I’ve had the opportunity to explore quite a bit. I think the idea of creating an ecosystem as opposed to an echo chamber is super important to developing a truly equitable base from which you can really begin to understand how you can help those who get left at the margins. As a student at the University of Michigan, I competed on the policy debate team. This gave me a plethora of skills that I use everyday, but I think there are a few specific skills that I gained which will help me excel in this role. The first thing that comes to mind is research skills. Each year we would debate a new topic for the entire season ranging from National Health Insurance to Executive Authority. The range of topics allowed me to gain knowledge about the way the government operates and thinks through policy options on a variety of issues. Additionally, since we debate the same topic all season it forces you to adapt and create new proposals that take into account the way arguments have developed over the year. I think this makes me capable of researching areas that we want to explore quickly and deduce a creative recommendation from there.
The second skill I would like the highlight is the ability to see the unintended consequences of polices as well. We know that not all polices that come from our governmental officials with the intention to help “everyone” meet that goal. In fact, often times those polices end up being parasitic on the communities that needed the help most. To be of service to our community it is always important that we don’t forget those who are at the margin of the margin. What a major focus on ensuring our recommendations start from a place of true equity and inclusion is key to creating sustainable polices. Lastly, as a policy debater you NEVER work alone. You literally cannot win a debate if you don’t have a partner. This gives me a very good insight to developing policy in a team environment. Preparing for a specific round or tournament is a total team effort even though we all compete in just teams of two. Even if we aren’t all making the same set of arguments we were constantly working together to refine the way we think in general.
Outside of crafting recommendations, I also love throwing events to inform the community about them! I was able to serve on multiple advisory committees when Michigan was creating their DEI plan and after it was rolled out I arranged a town hall meeting with leaders from various organizations that would like to debrief their specific communities about what it all meant. I’ve also had success hosting presidential debate watch parties and discussing some of the key concepts that were debated about. I also put together a music festival in Ann Arbor with artist from around the state to fill the void of a lack of celebration of black culture in the area. Lastly, as Political Actions Chair of our Black Student Union I organized a pancakes and politics conference with over 250 students from various campuses around the state. We had multiple great guest speakers and a panel of young black professionals that provided great insight around how theme “How to stay Black in White Spaces.” With the help of an amazing committee, we were able to increase our attendance from the previous five fold, increased our budget more than 50 fold (from $300 to a $17,000 event!) and we were able to get it fully funded from outside sources.
The type of collaborative environment that you all have already built is so invigorating for me and if given the opportunity I would be committed to helping develop that space with Connect 313!
Why are you interested in serving on a Connect 313 Committee? What do you hope to gain from the experience?
I’m interested in being more active in my community and offering my skills in a way that also excites me! I hope to expand my network of likeminded people and take our work to the next level
What is your vision for bridging the digital divide in Detroit?
I think the Memorandum from Chairman Pallone to the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology gives a very clear view of where our main pain points lie: affordability, access to devices, and digital literacy. When we think about these three pillars we see that they are also largely affected by other areas of social life (i.e. internet affordability issues can stem from issues finding stable employment). So when thinking about bridging the digital divide we’re really asking how do we provide more equity to the most vulnerable in the city in the digital age. So my vison for bridging the divide is empowering those systemically excluded to have the access and confidence to succeed in an increasingly technological society.
Please share your current community activities and/or volunteer work.
Debate coaching and virtual interview prep
Please share any skills, experience, or interests that you may have.
Public Relations / Marketing / Communications
Outreach / Advocacy
Education / Training
Empathy (the ability to understand and share the feelings of others)
Relationship Building + Management
Leadership / Coaching Skills
Please share any other relevant information that you feel is important to include with your nomination.
I went to public school my entire life and entered college as an independent student so I have first hand experience of what it feels like to be in school and experience that divide. I never want anyone to feel like they can’t excel because they don’t have the tools they need to reach their potential.