Conference Speaker Series Presenters 2019
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
2019 Images and Perceptions Diversity Conference speakers to be announced soon!
Thank you to our 2018 Conference Presenters:
Thank you to our 2018 Conference Presenters:
Richard Lui MSNBC
Richard Lui has been an MSNBC dayside anchor since September 2010. He
has anchored some of the network’s major breaking stories, including
the 2011 debt-ceiling debate, the Arab Spring, and the deficit
supercommittee failure. His daily reports have included the Tea Party
movement, candidates’ social media strategies, and the link of
unemployment to electability.
Before joining MSNBC, Lui spent five years at CNN Worldwide, most
recently with CNN Headline News as the solo anchor of the 10 a.m. hour
of “Morning Express.” He led the network’s morning political
reporting throughout the 2008 presidential election. Lui occasionally
is a guest on political talk shows The Bill Press Show and The
Stephanie Miller Show.
Lui’s passion for politics started in the 70s, debating California’s
controversial Proposition 13 on bus rides to school. That interest
turned into a job at the age of 19: campaign manager for San
Francisco College Board incumbent Alan Wong. After the election, Lui
returned to college. His plan was to write on policy and the affairs
of state, subscribing to the Washington Post when it had to be mailed
to the west coast.
In the 1990s, Lui reported for news radio KALX during a unique time in
California politics. He was assigned to stories including Dianne
Feinstein’s first successful U.S. Senate campaign and the Rodney King
verdict and riots.
Later in the 2000s, Lui reported from Asia during an increasingly
heated political climate. Two Muslim countries in Southeast Asia
transformed: Indonesia’s Sukarno family was defeated after rule
spanning over half a century; and Malaysia’s prime minister, after
almost a quarter of a century handed over power. Lui also reported on
Taiwan’s controversial election between pro- and anti- China political
parties. He was at Channel NewsAsia, an English-only news network in
20 countries and territories.
In addition to his political and journalism work, Lui spent 15 years
in business working in consulting, manufacturing, food and beverage,
and environmental industries. During the late 1990s, Lui worked with
several new technology businesses in Northern California. Most
recently he cofounded the first bank-centric payment system for which
he holds a patent. He also worked for firms including Citibank, and
Mercer Management Consulting in New York.
Lui has spent 25 years in community service in Africa, Asia, and the
United States, volunteering for organizations like the United States
Capitol Historical Society, the Asian Pacific American Institute for
Congressional Studies, and APIA Vote.
Lui attended UC Berkeley majoring in the political economy of industrial
society, later graduating with a BA in rhetoric. He received his MBA from the
Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and is enrolled at
Stanford University in its program in International Security.
Haaz Sleiman : Star of “Killing Jesus”, “Nurse Jackie” and The Nationally acclaimed movie “The VisitorHaaz Sleiman was born and raised in Lebanon. He moved to the United States when he was twenty-one years old, and he developed a love for acting in film, television and theater. His breakout role was “Tarek” in the award-winning film The Visitor. He was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for his performance. He has since appeared in Nurse Jackie, Nikita, 24, and Covert Affairs. He recently appeared on the NY stage in the critically acclaimed play Food and Fadwa.
Haaz Sleiman /ˈhɑːz ˈsleɪmən/ (Arabic: هاز سليمان; born July 1, 1976) is a Lebanese-American television and film actor. He most notably played the role of Tarek in the 2007 film The Visitor and the role of Jesus in the American TV mini-series Killing Jesus, in addition to a number of American TV series.
Haaz Sleiman was born and raised in Lebanon. He moved to the United States when he was twenty-one years old, and he developed a love for acting in film, television, and theater. In 2006, Sleiman portrayed an American soldier in Iraq on the NBC series ER and, that same year, had a recurring role as an Arab billionaire in the CBS series Company Town. He portrayed the terrorist suspect Heydar in three 2007 episodes of the FOX series 24 and appeared on both NCIS and Veronica Mars in 2007. He co-starred as Tarek, an undocumented Syrian immigrant in the critically acclaimed 2007 independent film The Visitor, a drama directed by Tom McCarthy. The film was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Academy Award. Sleiman also had small roles in the 2006 film American Dreamz and the 2007 film AmericanEast. Sleiman played gay nurse Mohammed “Mo-Mo” De La Cruz in the first season of the Showtime dark comedy series Nurse Jackie, which premiered in June 2009.
In 2011, Sleiman played the role of Omar, a Palestinian activist, in the Channel 4 mini-series The Promise. Sleiman also played the role of Kasim Tariq in the CW Network TV show Nikita; he appeared in two episodes. Sleiman played Dr Rabia, a gay Syrian doctor in Channel 4‘s, The State. In 2013, Sleiman started as the titular character in the short lived Off-Broadway musical Venice.
Rev. Wendell Anthony
When the Detroit chapter of the NAACP chose the Reverend Wendell Anthony as its president in 1993, it signified a new era for this particular branch, which has the largest membership roster in the country. An outspoken, dynamic minister whose master’s thesis once discussed the church as an agent for reform and renewal inside the urban African American community, Anthony immediately set about revitalizing what some saw was a moribund local organization.
Reverend Wendell Anthony is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. He was educated in the Detroit Public School system. He graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Political Science, and Marygrove College with an M.A. in Pastoral Ministry. He also attended the University of Detroit for Advanced Study in Black Theology. Reverend Anthony is a Certified Social Worker with the State of Michigan. He became the Pastor of Fellowship Chapel in December of 1986 following the passing of Reverend James E. Wadsworth, Jr. and was installed as Senior Pastor in February of 1987. Through the grace of God and the labor of his ministry, the church has experienced the greatest growth in its 40 year history. Through its James E. Wadsworth, Jr. Community Center, Fellowship Chapel has a full-time outreach ministry with programs ranging from computer programming, adult education, narcotics and alcoholics anonymous, homeless assistance, Education 2000 (tutoring from elementary through college), job training and placement, special SAT and ACT college preparation training, and much more. Reverend Anthony is the developer of the Isuthu Institute (Coming into Manhood) program for boys ages 6-18 and the Intonjane Institute (Coming into Womanhood) program for girls ages 6-18. It is one of the oldest mentoring programs in the country.
Reverend Anthony has traveled extensively throughout Africa. He has preached in churches in West and South Africa, and the Caribbean. He has led groups of Detroiters on special pilgrimages to visit the roots of African-Americans and to establish cultural ties between Detroit and Africa. In 1990, Reverend Anthony served as a special delegate with the Religious Action Network to South Africa representing clergy from across the country. He held a meeting with the African National Congress, South African Council of Churches, Nelson Mandela, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and Reverend Allan Bosesak to discuss political and social conditions inside South Africa. Reverend Anthony served as Co-Chairman of the International Mandela Freedom Tour to the City of Detroit, 1990. In 1994, Reverend Anthony organized a Rwanda Relief program in which the Detroit Branch NAACP raised nearly one million dollars for food, medicine, clothing, and transportation vehicles to aid in the relief for the hundreds of thousands of refugees in both Rwanda and Zaire. In April of that same year Reverend Anthony was apart of a special delegation of the National NAACP leadership to visit South Africa in support of the national elections held in April of 1994. In March of 1996, Reverend Anthony founded the Fellowship Chapel Health Care Clinic in Cape Coast, Ghana, providing medical service to children and adults throughout the central region. In April of 2000, Reverend Anthony organized Project D.R.E.A.M.Z.S. (Detroit Relief Effort to Aide Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa) raising nearly $300,000.00 to aid the victims of the flood in those nations. Again, Reverend Anthony and a special delegation personally distributed food, medicine, and clothing for purposes of aiding displaced victims of the flood.
He is a member of several boards and councils inside the City of Detroit and has received numerous local and national awards. He is a board member of the First Independence National Bank, the National Association of Securities Professionals-Detroit, and the Detroit Building Authority, overseeing the construction of various building programs within the city of Detroit. In 1995, Reverend Anthony served as a Co-Chairman for the Million Man March Committee. Detroit had one of the largest delegations with more than 75,000 men in attendance in Washington D.C. Reverend Anthony is Co-Chair of the Detroit Fair Banking Alliance, which is responsible for negotiating over $7.2 billion in economic development with local banking institutions. He currently serves as the Citizen Trustee for the Detroit General Retirement System Pension Fund, managing a pension fund of nearly three billion dollars. He has also served as chairman of the Detroit Police Department citizens review panel making recommendations for new policies and procedures on the use of less-than lethal force. This panel also made various recommendations for the reform of Detroit Police Department.
In 2005 he was appointed by Governor Jennifer Granholm as Chairman of the Detroit Public Schools Transition Team. The purpose of the Transition Team is to create new directions and make recommendations for new strategies to prepare for a newly elected and empowered school board in the City of Detroit.
Reverend Anthony was elected as president of the Detroit Branch NAACP in 1993, the largest branch in the country. He was recently re-elected to an unprecedented 8th term. During his first term, Reverend Anthony organized and led a march of over 250,000 persons in the City of Detroit commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the march of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to Detroit in June of 1963. This march occurred before the historical march in August of that same year. This was the largest march organized for this purpose since 1963. In 2001, Reverend Anthony founded the Freedom Institute which is a 501(C)3 non-profit, urban think tank. The Freedom Institute sponsors Freedom Weekend annually with emphasis on economic, social justice and political empowerment. Additionally, he is also the founder of the Fannie Lou Hamer Political Action Committee. This is a grassroots activist organization supporting issues and candidates both locally and nationally with an 80% success rate for endorsed candidates.
On June 5, 2005, Reverend Anthony led his congregation, community and business leaders, government officials, supporters and well-wishers in a procession to the new Fellowship Chapel; call the The Village, for its grand opening and inaugural worship service. The Village will contain the new church and soon to be developed 140 units of single-family homes and condominiums as well as the James E. Wadsworth, Jr. Community Center. This is a $40 million dollar project which will result in the building of a new community.
On September 10, 2005, Reverend Anthony was married to First Lady Monica G. Anthony.
Barbara McQuade Former US Attorney
Barbra McQuade: Born in Detroit, McQuade received her A.B. degree in 1987 from the University of Michigan and her J.D. degree in 1991 from the University of Michigan Law School. Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, McQuade practiced law at the firm of Butzel Long in Detroit, and served as a law clerk for Hon. Bernard A. Friedman on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
McQuade was an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan from 1998 until becoming U.S. Attorney in that same district. She was also a professor of law at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law from 2003-2009.
McQuade was appointed by President Barack Obama and started her term as U.S. Attorney on January 4, 2010. Upon taking office in January 2010, McQuade restructured the office for the first time in more than 35 years to align attorney resources with the priorities of the district; national security, violent crime, public corruption, civil rights and financial fraud, including mortgage fraud, health care fraud, and environmental crimes.
Significant case accomplishments during McQuade’s tenure include the conviction of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on public corruption charges, the conviction and life sentence of an Al-Qaeda operative for attempting to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009, the conviction of a former Michigan Supreme Court Justice on bank fraud charges, and the convictions of former employees for stealing trade secrets from Detroit automakers. McQuade also joined with other law enforcement leaders to launch Detroit One, a violence reduction strategy and community partnership.
McQuade serves on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, and serves as co-chair of the Terrorism and National Security Subcommittee. She also serves on subcommittees addressing civil rights and border security.
The first woman to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, McQuade was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Detroit for 12 years. She served as Deputy Chief of the National Security Unit, where she prosecuted cases involving terrorism financing, foreign agents, export violations, and threats. During her career as a federal prosecutor, McQuade has also prosecuted cases involving violent crime, fraud and racketeering.
One of her highest-profile cases came in 2013-15, when she helped expose Detroit-area cancer specialist Farid Fata as the mastermind of one of the largest health care frauds in American history. Fata pleaded guilty to his crimes in 2015, and was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
McQuade is married and has four children.
Dr. James Zogby
For the past three decades, Zogby has been involved in a full range of Arab American issues. During the late 1970s, Zogby was a founding member and leader of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign. In 1980, he co-founded the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee with former U.S. Senator James Abourezk and served as executive director until 1984. In 1982, while at ADC, Zogby helped create Save Lebanon, Inc., a private non-profit, non-sectarian humanitarian relief organization to fund social welfare projects in Lebanon and health care for Palestinian and Lebanese victims of war. In March 1985, Zogby founded the Arab American Institute, of which he is still president.
In 1993, Vice President Al Gore tapped Zogby to help lead Builders for Peace following the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian peace accord in Washington. As co-president of Builders, Zogby promoted business investment by Arab-Americans in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In his capacity as co-president of Builders, Zogby frequently traveled to the Middle East with delegations led by Vice President Gore and late Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown. In 1994, Zogby led a U.S. delegation to the signing of the agreement in Cairo, Egypt, along with the Builders co-president, former U.S. Congressman Mel Levine. Zogby also chaired a forum on the Palestinian economy at the Casablanca Economic Summit. After 1994, through Builders, Zogby worked with a number of U.S. Agencies to promote and support Palestinian economic development including AID, OPIC, USTDA, and the Departments of State and Commerce.
Since 1992, Zogby has written Washington Watch, a weekly column on American politics for major Arab newspapers, which is published in 14 Arab and South Asian countries. He has authored several books, including What Ethnic Americans Really Think (The Zogby Culture Polls) and What Arabs Think: Values, Beliefs and Concerns. He also blogs at The Huffington Post and is a member of Politico‘s Arena. Zogby hosted a weekly interview and call-in discussion program, Viewpoint with James Zogby, about Middle East and world issues on Abu Dhabi Television which was broadcast in America on Link TV, DirecTV and Dish Network.The show has won an award at the Cairo Radio/Television Festival.
In 1984 and 1988, Zogby served as deputy campaign manager and senior advisor to the Jesse Jackson Presidential campaign. In 1995, he was appointed as co-convener of the National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Committee (NDECC), an umbrella organization within the Democratic Party of leaders of European and Mediterranean descent, to which he was reelected in 1999 and 2001. Also in 2001, he was appointed to the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and in 2006 was also named co-chair of the DNC’s Resolutions Committee. He served as Al Gore’s Senior Advisor on Ethnic Outreach, a post he also held in the 2008 Obama Campaign.
As an author and scholar on Middle East issues and the Arab-American community, Zogby has over the years been invited to testify before a number of Congressional Committees and Executive branch forums,including on the subject of Arab attitudes toward the United States. He has been a guest speaker in the Secretary’s Open Forum at the U.S. Department of State. Zogby has also addressed the United Nations and other international forums. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Zogby was appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom by President Obama in 2013 and reappointed to a second term in 2015.
Honorable Judge Kathleen McCarthy
Judge McCarthy is an active speaker on issues involving family law, having presented at AAML, ICLE, the Michigan Inter-Professional Association, and MJI conferences over the past decade. She is past president of the Wayne County Family Law Bar Association and the Dearborn Bar Association. Among other positions of leadership, Judge McCarthy currently sits on the Executive Board of the Court, the Board of the Mediation Tribunal Association, the Board of the Furniture Bank of Southeast Michigan, the Wayne Mediation Center Board, the Board of the Arab-American Civil Rights League, and is a member of the MJI Leadership Team.
Carolyn Clifford WXYZ Anchor
Carolyn Clifford : journalist, Carlyon Clifford currently works for the WXYZ network. She previously worked on CBS as well. Clifford was one of the journalists who was invited to the White House. She has won 13 Emmy Awards to date. Her parents raised her and her eight siblings on the Northern side of Detroit.
Clifford completed her schooling at Benedictine High school. Later, she graduated from the Michigan State University with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.
In the initial phase of her career, Carolyn Clifford spent most of her time in MSU’s Army ROTC. In 2002, WXYZhired her to work as station’s health reporter. The same year, she joined the 7 Action News’ This Morning team.
Clifford also worked at both the CBS affiliates in Lansing and Orlando. In 2015, she became one of the journalists who was invited to the White House to interview Barack Obama.
Awards and Honors
Carolyn Clifford is a 13-time Emmy Award winner. She earned three Emmy’s in the Best Anchor category. Clifford was honored as the Heroes of Breast Cancer by the Karmanos Cancer Institute.
In addition, Clifford received various other awards from Michigan Association of Broadcasters and the Associated Press among others. YWCA of Western Wayne County gave her the title of Woman of the Year.
Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon
Benny N. Napoleon was educated in the Detroit Public School system and graduated from Cass Technical High School. He joined the Detroit Police Department in 1975 as a trainee police officer and was admitted to the Detroit Police Academy in June of 1975. He served the Detroit Police Department in many patrol, investigative, undercover and administrative capacities. He began his career walking a beat in the Second (Vernor) Precinct. He quickly rose through the ranks of the police department, being promoted to sergeant in 1983; to lieutenant in 1985; to inspector in 1987; to commander in 1993; to deputy chief in 1994; to assistant chief in 1995; and was appointed Chief of Police by the Honorable Mayor Dennis W. Archer in 1998.
After more than 26 years of distinguished service, Chief Napoleon retired from the Detroit Police Department in 2001. In 2004, Napoleon was named Assistant Wayne County Executive to help facilitate the administration of the nation’s 13th largest county. Napoleon served in that role until his appointment as Wayne County Sheriff in July 2009. In 2010, Napoleon won the general election by a landslide to retain the position. He went on to win re-election with 74 percent of the vote to solidify his current four-year term.
Some of the highlights of his law enforcement career include supervising the investigation that led to the successful apprehension and prosecution of the parties responsible for the felonious assault on international figure skating champion, Nancy Kerrigan; supervising the investigation that led to the swift apprehension of ten (10) escapees from the Ryan Correctional Facility in Detroit; and drafting and implementing a crime reduction plan which led to an unprecedented thirty percent (30%) reduction in violent crime in the City of Detroit during his three (3) year tenure as Chief of Police.
Napoleon earned his Associate’s Degree in Law Enforcement, Cum Laude, from Mercy College of Detroit in 1980; his B.A. in Criminal Justice, Cum Laude, from Mercy College of Detroit in 1982; and his Juris Doctor Degree from Michigan State University College of Law in 1986. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy; the United States Secret Service Dignitary Protection School; the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command; the Aresty Institute of Executive Development at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, Executive Education in which he was awarded a certificate of completion for the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program, July 2011. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan and has been licensed to practice law since 1987.
Napoleon is a life member of the NAACP, an attorney with a private legal practice and 33rd Degree Mason, Prince Hall Affiliate. An academic at heart, the Sheriff thoroughly enjoyed serving as an adjunct professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Phoenix (Detroit Campus) for several years. His community service includes spending time as a baseball coach for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Michigan; a basketball coach for the Detroit Police Athletic League; a student mentor for the Detroit Public Schools; and chairing the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. Napoleon has been honored with a wide array of professional and community service awards, which are too numerous to list. He is the proud parent of one daughter who is completing her Master of Arts program at the University of Michigan.
Wayne County Airport Authority Chief of Police Darryl S. Brown
Dr. Roland Hwang: President of the Association of Chinese Americans
- Northville resident – 26 years
- Married to Tina, medical technologist
- Proud father of students Kevin and Aimee
- Member of NPS District Curriculum Committee
- Attorney for the State of Michigan, Dept of Attorney General
- Adjunct Instructor, University of Michigan
- Wayne State Law School, JD and Master of Laws
- University of Michigan, BS Engineering & MBA
Roland Hwang is a lawyer, public servant, educator.
- An Assistant Attorney General, Michigan Department of Attorney General, over 25 years
- Ford Office of General Counsel, 7 years
- Ford Motor Company Car Engineering, 9 years
SERVICE ON BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
- Northville Public Schools District Curriculum Committee, parent member
- State Bar of Michigan, former Commissioner
- State Advisory Commission to US Commission on Civil Rights, Past Chair
- Former Hearing Referee, Michigan Department of Civil Rights
- Commissioner, Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission
Roland Hwang at MSU
College of Law MLK Day
SERVICE ON NON-PROFIT BOARDS
Roland has served on several boards:
- Maple Hill Homeowners Association, Past President, and current Secretary
- New Detroit, Inc., Executive Committee
- International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit, Past President
- Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, Board of Directors
- Asian American Bar Association of Michigan, Past President
Roland teaching Asian American History and Law at the University of Michigan
- University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Asian American History and Law
- Cooley Law School , Asian American History and Law
- Madonna University, Labor Law for Paralegals
- Juris Doctor, Wayne State University Law School
- Master of Laws, Wayne State University Law School
- MBA, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
- BS, Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
- Leadership Detroit: Leadership Class XIV
- Civil Rights Award: National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives
- Trailblazers Award: National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)
- Diversity Champion: Birmingham-Bloomfield Race Relations Taskforce
- Service Award: Office of Minority Student Services, University of Michigan
Teresa Meares: Former Police Officer, NAWBO, Entrepreneur
Teresa Meares has 19 years of law enforcement experience and is a retired patrol sergeant with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. She is married to Gary and together they have four children. She has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology, a master’s degree in Public Administration and more than 300 hours of advanced management training. She is currently the President of DGG Uniform and Work Apparel where she manages 15 full-time and three part-time employees, who operate a distribution of business and uniform apparel. Teresa also manages Audibelle, a clothing line launched by her daughter, Kayla Meares. The inspirational clothing line is focused on girls between the ages of 13-17 years of age. Teresa is a published author of the “Think Safe 2 Be Safe” series, with stories focused on teaching children how to stay safe.
Teresa is on the Business Journal’s “List” as a top Women-Owned Business in NE Florida; she was the recipient of the 2009 Jacksonville Business Journal’s Women of Influence and the 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year for the North Florida Women in Business Awards. She is Immediate Past Chair for the National Association of Women Business Owners and Board of Director for the Hubbard House. She is a Past President of the Women’s Business Owners of North Florida. Additionally, she currently serves as the Chair for the NAWBO Institute for Entrepreneurial Development, is on the Steering Committee for the World Association for Women Entrepreneurs (FCEM) and is on the advisory council for Enterprising Women Magazine. Her company, DGG Uniform & Work Apparel, has been recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in NE Florida and a Florida Company to Watch by Grow FL.
Dr. Youseff Mosallam- Executive Director of Student Achievement DPS
Dr. Youseff Mosallam is a mentor and enforcer. He views himself more of a mentor than enforcer. “When you’re a mentor, you’re balancing the act of having a positive relationship with an individual or student as well as enforcing the rules”. Mosallam, was Fordson High School principal for five years and is now executive director of student achievement with Dearborn Public Schools and has earned many awards and recognitions. He is currently a board member of the Wayne Mediation Center. He credits success in his work to teamwork, trust, honesty, and the concept of servant leadership. He affirms that his team has difficult conversations in a trusting environment and that communication is key. As a football coach, he inspired and changed lives. “If you don’t work as one in our community then our community will fall apart, if you want to make a difference, you have to start local, simple and small…you can effect change immediately, because then that change will branch out.”
Guadalupe Lara - LASED, Social Worker
Guadalupe G. Lara, LMSW was elected to a three year term on the Board of Directors for NASW National! Ms. Lara also served on the Michigan Chapter Board and held the position of president from 2006-2008
Ms. Lara dedicated 27 years advocating for families at Children’s Hospital of Michigan until she retired in 2006 to care for her ailing mother in Texas. Ms. Lara held a variety of leadership positions while at the Detroit Medical Center including Corporate Director of Social Work. She is a motivational speaker who has been recognized for her work on inclusion and workplace conflict management by over 47 organizations. Some of these recognitions include Martin Luther King Scholar by the University of Michigan, Whitney Young Scholar at Western Michigan University, Global Visiting Scholar at Arizona State University and Michigan Social Worker of the Year. She has been invited to present her work in the United States, Norway, Australia, Mexico and Canada. Ms. Lara has been named by five different Michigan governors to lead boards and commissions for her advocacy on behalf of the underserved. Ms. Lara currently serves on the Early Childhood Investment Corporation Board, Vice-Chair, Credit Union One and New Detroit Board of Directors.
After Ms. Lara’s mother died in 2012 she worked for a year in Washington D.C. at Homeland Security, United States Citizenship Immigration Services to provide child welfare education to better serve the Unaccompanied Children arriving from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. She returned to Detroit in 2014 as the Director of the Consortium of Hispanic Agencies where she works with the six member agencies to advocate on behalf of Hispanic issues at the local and state level.
Ms. Lara has been a volunteer at LASED since 2015 where she provides supervision to graduate social workers who are working toward their State social work license.
Ms. Lara is originally from San Antonio, Texas and proudly calls both Detroit and San Antonio home.
Najah Bazzy: Humanitarian, Founder of Zaman International, Trans cultural Nurse
(WXYZ) – In 1996, Najah Bazzy, a transcultural clinical nurse specialist, cared for a baby with terminal cancer who was placed into hospice. The infant’s family had recently immigrated to the United States and had next to nothing, carrying the 3-month-old in a basket padded with white towels. It was a day Najah remembers well, and the day she started the mission of her now-expanded nonprofit, Zaman International.
Zaman aims to help marginalized women and children by providing them with essential life needs. In Arabic, the word means “time.”
Why time? Najah answers, “what kind of steward would you be on this Earth with the time God’s given you?”
Najah started the nonprofit’s work out of a van before expanding to an office space. Zaman International just recently relocated to its now large Hope for Humanity Center in Inkster.
Frances Kai-Hwa Wang
Specialties: Asian Pacific American history, identity, media, stereotypes, civil rights and social justice issues; Asian and Asian Pacific American arts and cultures; ethnic studies, multicultural issues, diversity, race, gender, writing, editing, speaking, teaching, lecturing, civil rights activism, revitalizing agencies, computerizing and streamlining systems, marketing, publicity, fundraising, development, database, data journalism, logistics, strategy, language learning, raising our children with culture(s), Chinese New Year’s traditions and stories.
Mona Makki ACCESS Director of Health and Community Research
An impassioned proponent of rights for underserved members of the community, Mona has fearlessly advocated against crime and domestic violence for over a decade.
Throughout her career at ACCESS, she has committed herself to improving and empowering the lives of individuals and families who suffer from domestic abuse and behavioral health issues. She has worked tirelessly to collaborate with judges, faith leaders, schools and police departments in the fight against such abuse.
In addition to her work at ACCESS, Mona serves on a multitude of community boards, including her most recent appointments to the Greater Detroit Area Health Council’s board and the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Institutional Review Board. She is also a member of the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, and has served as a member of the Arab American Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Wayne County Council Against Family Violence. Additionally, she has served on various consumer coalition panels and community resource committees.
Mona received her masters in clinical psychology from the University of Detroit Mercy in 2004 and has been a member of the American Psychological Association since 2006. She has conducted research, in collaboration with local universities, on topics including cardiac arrest, trauma and loss among Arab American, American Indian and Alaskan Native youth.
Mike Jaafar: Chief of Operations with the Wayne County Sheriffs Office
Mike Jaafar: Chief of Operations with the Wayne County Sheriffs Office
Wayne County Sheriff’s office Chief of Operations, Mike Jaafar graduated from a two-week course at the NYPD Chief Detective 76th Homicide School conducted at the Chief Medical Examiners Office in Manhattan, New York. He was required to perform physical evidence case studies, bomb squad blast investigations, forensic art, criminalistics, eyewitness identification and various important courses relating to homicide. Other agencies in attendance included FBI; Long Beach Police; Yonkers Police Department, NY; Hamilton Police, NJ; Connecticut State Police; and JFK Airport Police.
“I’m called upon often to assist in many cases involving homicides or shootings. As of result of attending the NYPD Homicide School, I am able better to instruct and analyze the duties of our personnel that investigate these crimes.”
The instruction DC Jaafar received from NYPD Homicide School will assist the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office during investigation of related crimes in the initial assessment of a crime scene, strategies for proceeding with the investigation and the interrogation plan. DC Jaafar is grateful for the opportunity to attend the training and looks forward to continuing to protect the citizens of Wayne County.
Nabih Ayad: Attorney, Founder: American Arab Civil Rights League
Nabih H. Ayad is the founder and Board Chairman for the Arab-American Civil
Rights League. Ayad was appointed by former Governor Jennifer Granholm as a
Michigan Civil Rights Commissioner in December of 2008 and has served on the
Advisory Council on Arab and Chaldean Affairs for the State of Michigan since
2007. He is a partner at Nabih H. Ayad & Associates PC. He is a successful attorney who has won many high profile cases and advocates for those that have been wrongly targeted. He has been vocal regarding the “Muslim Ban”, and various other issues that target the Arab and Muslim Communities. Ayad leads by example and practices the law with a goal to ensure that justice and the preservation of civil liberties are maintained and honored.
After 50 years of outstanding service as an association executive, including more than 25 years as President and CEO of the Michigan Food & Beverage Association (MFBA) and Michigan Business & Professional Association (MBPA), Ed Deeb is transitioning to a new role as Chairman of the two organizations that he founded effective June 15, 2011.
A Detroit native, Deeb has personally met every U.S. President since Richard Nixon, except Lyndon Johnson and Barack Obama. He has dedicated his life to improving the community and championing the cause of small and medium-sized businesses throughout the state. Along the way, he has accumulated a
long list of awards and distinctions that include:
• Point of Light Award presented in 1990 by President George H. W. Bush and the Points of Light
Foundation for his leadership in showing youth that businesses and the community cared about
them as evidenced in his work with handicapped Metro Detroit Boy Scouts and the success of
Metro Detroit Youth Day;
• Outstanding Contributions Award from President Jimmy Carter as a delegate to the White House
Conference on Small Business;
• Michiganian of the Year Award presented by the Detroit News in 2002 for his leadership role in
Metro Detroit Youth Day and for being a driving force with the Eastern Market Association in
helping to revitalize the historic Eastern Market area and farmers market;
• Neil Shine Lifetime Achievement Award awarded in 2008;
• Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University in 1998;
• Induction into the International Institute Hall of Fame in 1997 for his work assisting grocers and
business owners from all ethnic groups and helping to alleviate tensions between them and the
community and for his work encouraging young people to become good citizens;
• Honorary Degrees from Detroit College of Business (1999) and Davenport University (2000);
• Peacemaker of the Year Award from Wayne State University in 2007;
• George Romney Award for Lifetime Achievement in Volunteerism.
A devoted husband, father, grandfather and Air Force veteran, Deeb is perhaps best known as an
organizer and troubleshooter for the food industry. An MSU journalism major, he began his career as
editor of the food industry newspaper, “Grocer’s Spotlight.” In 1962, he was asked to become the head of
the food industry trade association known as the Associated Food Dealers. The group had 98 members at
the time and, through Deeb’s initiation of various services and benefits, the organization grew many times
over before he left the organization to create MFBA.
Over the years, Deeb was called on to deal with crises such as the grape boycott, the tuna scare, the
cranberry scare, the grape scare in Philadelphia and various other problems affecting the retail food
industry. Due to his involvement with such issues, Deeb became the de facto spokesperson for the local
food industry with the news media and government agencies.
Ed Deeb – Community Icon
Deeb’s life has been marked by exemplary dedication to improving community relationships and helping
people in need. He has served in countless leadership roles in organizations helping people to reach their
fullest potential, including Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, United Way, Detroit Urban League,
American Red Cross, Salvation Army and Forgotten Harvest.
Deeb is well known for his role as co-founder of Metro Detroit Youth Day that he co-founded in 1981 as
a way to resolve tensions and altercations between city youth and local merchants. This national model
has grown from 1,100 participants in 1982 to more than 30,000 participants and 220 organizations,
bringing Detroit area youth together for a day of fun, sports, mentorship and scholarship opportunities.
Through the years, Deeb has become a cultural ambassador by easing tensions between Chaldean and
Arab store owners and the community in the mid 60’s and 70’s; assisting the news media by producing a
video describing “Arabic Contributions to the World” to help them understand differences among various
groups tied to the Iraq War; and compiling food retailer damage reports as a result of the 1967 riot that he
presented to the U.S. Senate Investigations Sub-Committee in Washington D.C.
As the chief trouble-shooter for the food industry, Deeb spearheads crisis intervention efforts whenever
any problems develop between merchants and the community-at-large. In cooperation with New Detroit,
Inc., he co-founded the New Detroit/Michigan Food & Beverage Assn. Community Relations Crisis
Intervention Council to help small businesses with problems and is a member of Mich. Dept. of Civil
Rights Diversity And Crisis team.
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan
Married: He and his wife, Joanne, have two grown children and several grandchildren
Graduate: Eastern High School, Detroit, MI
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
BA degree College of Communication Arts & Sciences (Journalism-Advertising)
Service: U.S. Air Force and U.S. Air Force Reserves
Judge Advocate Section. Honorably discharged
Alex is a passionate Uncle, a creative student, a stand up comedian, an actor and an activist with tremendous insight and drive in creating a conversation around history, diversity and equity within marginalized communities. Alex studies video, film production and editing and is currently filming “Memoirs of Wroth City” a production which will debut early next spring. Alex is a writer of poetry, short stories and creates his own Social Justice Raps that have been performed by local entertainers.
Michael Bergman joined the HelmsBriscoe team in 2008 as Managing Director, a newly created role with the HelmsBriscoe corporate leadership team. Drawing from his years of industry experience with Hilton Hotels, Michael now works alongside corporate and regional leadership teams in both the US and Canada working to provide strategic direction, leadership, growth initiatives and overall responsibility for the HelmsBriscoe brand.
Michael attended the University of Minnesota and shortly thereafter excelled within the ranks at Hilton Minneapolis, where he left as Director, Group Sales. Michael is an active member of the AMC Institute and Meeting Professionals International, where he has served as Chapter President and on numerous local and international committees and boards. Michael has been the recipient of many prestigious awards including the HelmsBriscoe International Salesperson of the Year, while with Hilton, and been recognized by MPI with the Supplier of the Year, Leader of the Year, President’s Award for Excellence and Meeting/Event of the Year awards. During his tenure with Hilton, Michael was twice recognized into Hilton’s Corporate Circle of Excellence.
In addition to his involvement with industry associations, Michael also serves on the Board of Directors for World Citizen, Inc. and sits on customer advisory boards for both the Milwaukee Convention and Visitor Bureau and the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.
National Arab Orchestra: Artist Usama Baalbaki & Maestro Michael Ibrahim
The incomparable Usama Baalbaki is one of the leading Arab vocalists in Arab America today. A superb vocalist, he is also an accomplished musician as well.
Originally from Lebanon, Baalbaki is known for his eclectic style of music from Arab pop to the classics.
He is also a board member and lead vocalist with the National Arab Orchestra and has performed classical pieces from Mohamed Abdul Wahab, Abdel Halim Hafez and music from the folk and classical genres. Baalbaki has traveled throughout the U.S., Canada, South America and the Arab world where he has performed with stars from all over the world and cultural events. He is an entrepreneur, an artist, a musician, a composer and brings his amazing talent to the National Arab Orchestra which he has been instrumental in putting on the map in a very short period of time.
Michael Ibrahim is a dynamic conductor, and one of the newest most innovative artists to emerge onto the Arab music circuit. His teachers have included some of the leading musicians in his field including, Simon Shaheen, Johnny Sarweh, Nadeem Dlaikan, Douglas Bianchi, Anthony Iannacconne, Dr. David Pierce, Robert Williams, and Victoria King; causing him to realize the value of a solid educational background. Having earned a bachelor degree in music from Eastern Michigan University, Michael went on to further his studies at Wayne State University; completing a Master of Music degree in conducting. The impact of Michael’s musical leadership is felt equally by audiences across the globe, and the musicians he collaborates with.
Throughout his early career, Michael has performed in many concert halls and venues the world over; allowing him the unique opportunity to share the stage with some of the most influential figures in Western and Arab music. Michael’s diverse musical background and unique approach to composition and improvisation has also led him to be featured on a number of recordings and film scores. As an artist, Michael has used his educational and professional experience to fuse Western and Arab music idioms in his performances. As an educator, Michael has taught privately and in the classroom; providing instrumental and ensemble instruction, as well as lectures and demonstrations on Arab music both at the university and grade school levels. His extensive experience as a performer and educator has led Michael the Michigan Arab Orchestra (now the National Arab Orchestra), and later founding the organizational entity where he currently serves as Music Director.
A Metro-Detroit native, Michael was born into a Syrian immigrant family of humble origins. He began his musical studies on the ‘Ud, and later studying the Bassoon and Nay as his musical training progressed. Michael has always believed in concepts of self-awareness, honesty, and personal growth, which have proven to be useful tools in his development as an artist both personally and in the professional realm. Michael hopes that through his educational efforts he will be able to instill a wider appreciation for Arab music, and its heritage.
Thank you to our 2018 Conference Partners: