Conference Speaker Series Presenters 2021
 Thursday October 14, 2021
2021 Virtual Images and Perceptions Diversity Conference speakers!

Register here for the 18th Annual Images and Perceptions Diversity Conference

MI Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Gretchen Esther Whitmer (born August 23, 1971) is an American politician serving as the 49th governor of Michigan since 2019. A member of the Democratic Party, she served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 2001 to 2006 and in the Michigan Senate from 2006 to 2015.

Whitmer was born and raised in Michigan. She is a graduate of Forest Hills Central High School near Grand RapidsMichigan State University, and the Michigan State University College of Law. She ran unsuccessfully for the state house in the 1990s before being elected in 2000. In 2006, she became a state senator, a position she kept until term limits forced her to step down in 2015. She was the Senate’s first female Democratic leader from 2011 to 2015. In 2013, Whitmer gained national attention for a floor speech during a debate on abortion in which she shared her experience of being sexually assaulted. For six months in 2016, she was the county prosecutor for Ingham County.

Whitmer was elected governor in the 2018 gubernatorial election, defeating Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette. As governor, Whitmer has focused on healthcare and infrastructure. In February 2020, she was selected to give the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s 2020 State of the Union Address.

ABC's "What Would You Do", John Quinones

John Quiñones is the anchor of “What Would You Do?,” one of the highest-rated newsmagazine franchises of recent years. During his 35 year tenure at ABC News, he has reported extensively for all programs and platforms and served as anchor of “Primetime.”

While Quiñones was covering the Chilean miners’ disaster in 2010, he was the first journalist out of thousands to get an exclusive interview with the first survivor (Mario Sepulveda), who spoke about their horrendous ordeal. Other recent headline-making interviews include an exclusive with singer/actor Marc Anthony who, for the first time, spoke about his separation and pending divorce from Jennifer Lopez.

Quiñones has extensively covered a religious sect in Northern Arizona that forces its young female members to take part in polygamous marriages. Other reports include going undercover with a hidden camera to reveal how clinics performed unnecessary surgical procedures as part of a major nationwide insurance scam; he followed along with a group of would-be Mexican immigrants as they attempted to cross into the U.S. via the treacherous route known as “The Devil’s Highway”; and he traveled to Israel for a CINE Award-winning report about suicide bombers.

In September 1999, Quiñones anchored a critically acclaimed ABC News special entitled “Latin Beat,” focusing on the wave of Latin talent sweeping the U.S., the impact of the recent population explosion and how it will affect the nation as a whole. He was awarded an ALMA Award from the National Council of La Raza. He also contributed reports to ABC News’ unprecedented 24-hour, live, global Millennium broadcast, which won the George Foster Peabody Award.

Quiñones’ reports for “20/20” have included an in-depth look at the unprecedented lawsuit against the Cuban government by a woman who claimed she unknowingly married a spy and an exclusive interview with a Florida teenager who brutally killed her adoptive mother. He was honored with a Gabriel Award for his poignant report that followed a young man to Colombia as he made an emotional journey to reunite with his birth mother after two decades. Other stories originating from Central America include political and economic turmoil in Argentina and civil war in El Salvador. During the 1980s, he spent nearly a decade in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama reporting for “World News Tonight.”

Quiñones has won seven national Emmy Awards for his “Primetime Live,” “Burning Questions” and “20/20” work. He was awarded an Emmy for his coverage of the Congo’s virgin rainforest, which also won the Ark Trust Wildlife Award, and in 1990 he received an Emmy for “Window in the Past,” a look at the Yanomamo Indians. He received a National Emmy Award for his work on the ABC documentary “Burning Questions—The Poisoning of America,” which aired in September 1988 and was also honored with a World Hunger Media Award and a Citation from the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards for “To Save the Children,” his 1990 report on the homeless children of Bogota. Among his other prestigious awards are the First Prize in International Reporting and Robert F. Kennedy Prize for his piece on “Modern Slavery — Children Sugar Cane Cutters in the Dominican Republic.”

Quiñones joined ABC News in June 1982 as a general assignment correspondent based in Miami, providing reports for “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings” and other ABC News broadcasts. He was one of the few American journalists reporting from Panama City during the U.S. invasion in December 1989.

Prior to joining ABC News he was a reporter with WBBM-TV in Chicago. He won two Emmy Awards for his 1980 reporting on the plight of illegal aliens from Mexico. From 1975 to 1978, he was news editor at KTRH radio in Houston, Texas. During that period, he also was an anchor-reporter for KPRC-TV.

Quiñones received a bachelor of arts in speech communications from St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas. He received a master’s from the Columbia School of Journalism. Quiñones has received two honorary degrees: in 2016 he received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Utah Valley University and in 2014 a Doctor of Letters degree from Davis & Elkins College.


Supreme Court Justice Megan Cavanagh, Michigan Supreme Court


Justice Megan Cavanagh is a life-long Michigander who grew up in East Lansing and lives in metro Detroit. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan College of Engineering and Wayne State University Law School. Before joining the Michigan Supreme Court in January of 2019, she had over fifteen years of experience as one of Michigan’s top appellate attorneys and was a shareholder at Garan Lucow Miller P.C. in Detroit.

Justice Cavanagh is the Supreme Court Liaison to Tribal Courts, Child Welfare Services, the Attorney Grievance Commission and the Judicial Tenure Commission.  She also serves on the Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Task Force.

Justice Cavanagh has served as Chair of the Appellate Practice Section of the State Bar of Michigan, an organization focused on maintaining excellence and improving appellate jurisprudence and practice in Michigan. She served as a council person for the Negligence Section of the State Bar of Michigan, a diverse group of plaintiff and defense attorneys dedicated to finding consensus on important issues affecting citizens’ fair and equal access to the courts. She has served many years as co-chair of the Michigan Bench Bar Appellate Conference Foundation, organizing and participating in a truly unique educational opportunity for both judges and lawyers to constantly improve our state legal system. And she was a member of the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission, charged with the responsibility of ensuring that attorneys maintain the highest standards of representation for their clients, other litigants, and the legal system.​

Prior to her election to the Court, Justice Cavanagh was rated as one of Michigan’s Super Lawyers. She was honored by Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly as Lawyer of the Year in 2006 and a Woman in the Law in 2017. Justice Cavanagh is the mother of two daughters, Georgia and Eloise.


Fadwa Hammoud, Michigan Solicitor General

Fadwa Hammoud is the first Muslim Arab-American solicitor general in the country. Hammoud has spent her career as a Wayne County lead prosecutor and as a trustee and treasurer for Dearborn Public Schools. Wayne County prosecutor, Kim Worthy describes her as a visionary with an excellent work ethic. Hammoud also was appointed to the Commission on Middle Eastern American Affairs by former Gov. Rick Snyder; and sits on the Legislative Committee for the Hispanic/Latino, Asian Pacific American and Middle Eastern American Affairs Commissions. She is a graduate of Wayne State University Law School and the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Hammoud clerked for the Honorable Judge George Steeh in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and was a 2018 member of the Harvard Business School’s Young American Leaders Program.   

Reverend Dr. Wendell Anthony

Reverend Wendell Anthony is the of the President of Detroit chapter of the NAACP, the largest in the country and the Senior Pastor at Fellowship Chapel in Detroit.   Rev. Anthony is a Champion of Justice and Civil Rights.    Rev. 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.   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.



Barbara McQuade: U of M Law Professor and Media Legal analyst, Former US Attorney for the ED of Mi

Barbara L. McQuade, BA ’87, JD ’91, is a professor from practice. Her interests include criminal law, criminal procedure, national security, data privacy, and civil rights. From 2010 to 2017, Professor McQuade served as the U.S attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. Appointed by President Barack Obama, she was the first woman to serve in her position. Professor McQuade also served as vice chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee and co-chaired its Terrorism and National Security Subcommittee. As U.S. attorney, she oversaw cases involving public corruption, terrorism, corporate fraud, theft of trade secrets, civil rights, and health care fraud, among others. Professor McQuade also serves as a legal analyst for NBS News and MSNBC. Her work has appeared in The Washington PostForeign PolicyLawfareJust SecuritySlate, and National Public Radio, and she has been quoted in The New York TimesTimeNewsweekPolitico, and other publications.

Before becoming U.S. attorney, Professor McQuade served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Detroit for 12 years, serving as deputy chief of the National Security Unit, where she handled cases involving terrorism financing, export violations, threats, and foreign agents. Professor McQuade began her career as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Bernard A. Friedman in Detroit, and then practiced law at the firm of Butzel Long in Detroit. Professor McQuade previously taught at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.

Professor McQuade has been recognized by the Detroit Free Press with the Neal Shine Award for Exemplary Regional Leadership, The Detroit News with the Michiganian of the Year Award, Crain’s Detroit Businesses a Newsmaker of the Year and one of Detroit’s Most Influential Women, and the Detroit Branch NAACP and Arab American Civil Rights League with their Tribute to Justice Award.

Dr. Glenn Maleyko Superintendent of Dearborn Public Schools



    Superintendent Glenn Maleyko, Ph.D. began his career in education as a substitute teacher in Dearborn Public schools in 1995.  He was hired as a full-time teacher at Salina Elementary, a school that would become home for the next 12 years. He began his administrative career in 2002 and later on served as Executive Director of Staff and Human Services from 2013.  Dr. Maleyko was the unanimous choice of the Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education in 2015 to take the top spot as the leader of the 21,000-student district. Under Dr. Maleyko’s leadership, the Dearborn Public Schools District has been recognized by Bridge Magazine and the Mackinac Center as one of the top school districts in the state. Dr. Maleyko received the very prestigious recognition of “2019 Superintendent of the Year” in the State of Michigan by MASA.

MSNBC's Richard Lui

  Author, Anchor, Correspondent, Richard Lui: Lui has covered racial strife for 25 years, from Rodney King to George Floyd he’s covered in the field. And now the phenomenon of violence against senior and female Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI).As a journalist, Lui is accustomed to seeing how journalism can be a selfless endeavor, telling stories of other people, from presidents to social workers, who are more often not like him nor look like him. This is what inspired him to write this new anti-self self-help book.


The Unexpected Power of Selflessness

What if your path to a more successful, healthy, and satisfying life is actually not about you?

Richard Lui shares how one of the big ideas of our time is more in reach than we thought. How small choices toward selflessness are not a compromise. Choice by choice, step by step, we can do something bigger than ourselves.

Wayne County Sheriff Raphael "Ray" Washington

Raphael Washington views his recent elevation as Sheriff of Wayne County as an answer to fervent prayer and 37 years of dedicating himself to law enforcement excellence. As head of the agency, Washington runs three jail facilities, Road Patrol, Marine Unit, Mounted Unit and also supplements law enforcement activities in collaboration with the 43 cities and townships in the jurisdiction (which covers 673 square miles). Wayne County also borders an international waterway (Detroit River adjacent to Windsor Canada) requiring coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard. He also oversees development activity of the new Wayne County Criminal Justice Center which is currently under construction in the heart of the city. As a lifelong resident of Wayne County, Sheriff Washington is very active in the community and serves on several community boards. He also applies his extensive law enforcement knowledge and experience in serving as the Director of Security for Greater Grace Temple and Pentecostal Assemblies of the World.

Sheriff Washington believes that law enforcement leaders must be discerning in their decision-making, yet compassionate when meting out decisions that affect personnel, the inmate population and the public. His background in law enforcement is wide ranging including: jails and court operation supervision, inmate population management, policy development, compliance and organizational functions designed to enhance operational efficiency. Prior to joining the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Washington wrapped up an extensive career with the Detroit Police Department where after graduating from the academy in 1985, he served as Patrol Officer, Investigative Officer (Narcotics, Violence Crimes, Traffic Enforcement and Gang Squad), Sergeant, Lieutenant and finally Inspector of Traffic Enforcement. Over that time he collaborated with officers at every rank at the local, state and federal level.

Sheriff Washington is a proud graduate of the public school system and wholly encourages everyone to pursue higher learning and continuing education. He’s currently enrolled in a dual degree program and will earn his MBA in Strategic Leadership from Cleary University in 2022. That is the academic side of his expertise. He is also MCOLES Certified (Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards) and has served as a firearms Instructor for many years. He holds numerous local and national certifications, including:

  • NRA Certified Firearms Instructor
  • Shotgun, Rifle and Pistol Instructor
  • Michigan Coalition On Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES)
  • Member of Wayne County Chief of Police Association
  • Member of Southeast Michigan Chief of Police Association
  • Graduate of School of Police Staff and Command-Eastern Michigan University
  • Senior Executives in State-Local Government – Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government
  • Graduate (Session #248) – FBI National Academy
  • Executive Protection Certification (Detroit Police Department-Special Response Team)
  • Director of Security for Greater Grace Church
  • Director of Security for the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World

Sheriff Washington is married to Keysha Washington, a veteran law enforcement professional. They have two children and three grandchildren.


Chief Mike Jaafar- Wayne County Sheriff's Office Chief of Operations

Chief Mike Jaafar is Wayne County Sheriff’s office Chief of Operations.   Chief Jaafar has dedicated his life to law enforcement and to the protection of the citizens of the Great State of Michigan.   He started his career in the Detroit Police Department Anti-Narcotics and Gang Squads.   He has extensive background in forensics and crime prevention methods.  He has served on a multitude of national and local police task forces.  He’s an expert on anti-terrorism training and community safety. He is also the first  Arab American from Dearborn to graduate from FBI National Academy. 

WSU Phillip D. Levy, M.D., M.P.H.


Prof. (w/ Tenure) (D)
Associate Chair for Research
Medical Director Clinical Research Center/Clinical Trials Office


Phillip D. Levy, M.D., M.P.H. is a Professor at the Wayne State University School of Medicine and the Associate Chair for Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine. He is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Heart Association. He serves as a reviewer for the NIH CHAS study section, a member of the Grants Advisory Panel for the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation and a member of the Scientific Review Committee for the American College of Emergency Physicians. Dr. Levy is a recognized expert in cardiovascular research and has served on the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Working Group on Management of Acute Heart Failure in the Emergency Department: Research Challenges and was as a member of the American Heart Association Scientific Statement Writing Group on Acute Heart Failure Syndromes – Emergency Department Presentation, Treatment and Disposition.

Dr. Levy’s research interests center on heart failure and hypertension with a dual focus on acute management and early disease detection. He has been the Principal Investigator for grant projects funded by the Emergency Medicine Foundation, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Physician Faculty Scholars Program, and the NIH/National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (5R01 MD005849). He has also served as the project mentor for grants funded by the Fulbright Program for Scholars and Professionals from the Caribbean and Central America and the Henry Ford Hospital Physician Scientist Track Funding Program. Over the past 10 years, Dr. Levy has published more than 100 manuscripts, authored 18 textbook chapters and has been an invited lecturer on cardiovascular disease related topics more than 200 times.

Keith Ellison Minnesota Attorney General


Dr. Jim Zogby President, AAI Washington


David Knezek MDHHS Chief Deputy Director for Administration, Wayne County Commissioner


Dr. Daveda Colbert Wayne RESA Superintendent



Dana Nessel Michigan Attorney General


Dr. Adnan Munkarah Henry Ford Health System


Chuck Stokes "Spotlight on the News" WXYZ Channel 7


Sean Stone Hollywood Actor/Producer


Judge Pablo Cortes Kent County, Michigan JTC









Carolyn Clifford WXYZChannel 7 News Anchor


Honorable Judge Patricia Fresard, 3rd Circuit Court, Wayne County Michigan

Honorable Patricia Fresard is a judge for the 3rd Circuit Court in Wayne CountyMichigan. She was first elected to this position on November 3, 1998, and took office the following January. She most recently ran unopposed for re-election in 2016.  Fresard graduated cum laude with a J.D. from the Michigan State University – Detroit College of Law in 1986. Fresard began her career in 1986 as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Macomb County. She served in that county as the chief of sex crimesJudge Fresard has served as felony trial court judge and presently serves as presiding judge for the Civil Division. She also serves on the court’s executive and strategic planning committees. Judge Fresard is a member of the Federal Bar’s diversity committee and has been active throughout her career in community service and mentor-ship programs, including the Inns of Court program.  

Ron Haddad Dearborn Chief of Police


Judge Mariam Saad, 3rd Circuit Court Wayne County Michigan



Dr. Alexis Travis MDHHA Senior Deputy Director for Health


Mayor of Dearborn: John B. "Jack" O'Reilly, Jr.

John B. “Jack” O’Reilly, Jr.

Mayor of Dearborn

John B. “Jack” O’Reilly, Jr. has served as an elected public official in Dearborn since 1990 and as Mayor since 2007.  He was last re-elected in November 2017 and will be Mayor through 2021. Before becoming Mayor, he served as president of the Dearborn City Council for 17 years.

Throughout his public career, Mayor O’Reilly has consistently demonstrated his commitment to Dearborn neighborhoods by working to preserve the City’s high quality of life and attractive residential areas.

He has promoted economic development and community programs through beneficial relationships with county, regional and state agencies, and corporations like Ford Motor Co., Beaumont Health System and Ford Land. Notably, he was instrumental in clearing the path for Ford Land’s Wagner Place development, which is scheduled to open in Dearborn’s west downtown in 2018.

The Mayor has forged productive partnerships with important community organizations, such as the Dearborn Federation of Neighborhood Associations, the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce, the Dearborn Area Interfaith Network, and the Dearborn Public Schools. He is on the board of directors of the Dearborn Education Foundation, the West Dearborn Downtown Development Authority and the East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority.

Mayor O’Reilly has significant experience in regional, state and federal levels of government, and has participated in or led many boards, task forces and high-level committees.

He was elected president of the Michigan Municipal League and served in that capacity from fall 2015-fall 2016.  Under his leadership, the League lobbied to improve how municipal services are funded in Michigan.

He was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2016 to the 20-member Executive Committee of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

He was the 2014 chair of the Downriver Community Conference, following many other leadership positions he held with the regional organization.

In 2014, Mayor O’Reilly was appointed by Gov. Snyder to the Local Community Stabilization Authority Council, a five-member panel that oversees personal property tax replacement revenue distribution to communities across Michigan.

Mayor O’Reilly also maintains an active role with the Urban Core Mayors, a bipartisan, multi-regional coalition of 13 central city mayors; the Conference of Western Wayne and with the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.

Before becoming Mayor, he was the executive director of the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA) from 1996-2007.

Over his long public service career, Mayor O’Reilly was a Washington staff counsel and district director for then-U.S. Congressman John D. Dingell and a chief of staff in the Michigan State Senate.

A licensed Michigan attorney, he holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Detroit and also is an alumnus of Oakland University. He is a graduate of Dearborn’s St. Alphonsus High School.

He and his wife, Christina, are the parents of Devon, Sean, and Dylan, and have one grandson.



Brian Karem Washington Correspondent Playboy


Omar Regan Hollywood Actor, Comedian and Producer




Dr. Abdul El-Sayed Public Health Expert



Judge David Perkins Wayne County MI Probate Court



Loki Mulholland Civil Rights Activist, Producer "The Uncomfortable Truth"


Dr. Michael F. Rice Superintendent State of Michigan Public Schools

Zenell Brown 3rd Circuit Court Administrator

Register here for the Virtual 18th Annual Images and Perceptions Diversity Conference


Register here for the Virtual 18th Annual Images and Perceptions Diversity Conference

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Thank you to our 2020, 17th Annual Images & Perceptions Diversity Conference Speakers

Thank you to our 2019, 16th Annual Images & Perceptions Diversity Conference Speakers