Even though a powerful rain, mixed with widespread winds and thunder impacted much of metro Detroit all day Wednesday, Sept. 10, they were not enough to stop some of the region’s most powerful and influential African Americans from being honored.
As if on cue, the skies cleared, the rains stopped and the thunder dissipated as the Michigan Chronicle hosted its early evening event, “Power 50,” Southeastern Michigan’s most powerful African-American leaders. More than 150 people, including many of the chosen leaders of power, were in attendance.
The 50 men and women honored represented a cross section of powerbrokers who are not only movers and shakers themselves, but have the unique skillsets to help others reach their goals.
The members of the Power 50 are in such industries/sectors as automotive, religion, media, hospitality, business, finance, education, philanthropy and more.
“I feel like I have the best job in the world,” said Hiram Jackson, CEO of Real Times Media, publisher of the Michigan Chronicle, the Chicago Defender, the Pittsburgh Courier and the Atlanta Daily World, as well as Who’s Who publications in 26 national markets. “We have the vehicles that celebrate the powerful achievements of African American people and help them to tell their many stories of contributions to empower so many others.”
The Power 50 selected by categories are as follows:
AUTOMOTIVE: Alicia Boler Davis, senior vice president, global quality & customer experience, General Motors; Felicia J. Fields, group vice president, human resources and corporate services, Ford Motor Company; Rodney O’Neal, CEO and president, Delphi Automotive PLC; Vivian R. Pickard, president, General Motors Foundation, corporate relations director, General Motors; Leon C. Richardson, president and CEO, ChemicoMays, LLC; and Ed Welburn, vice president of global design, General Motors.
BUSINESS: Gregory A. Eaton, partner, Metro Cars; Joel Ferguson, chairman, Ferguson Development LLC; Michael A. Finney, president and CEO, Michigan Economic Development Corporation; Gregory Jackson, chairman, president and CEO, Jackson Automotive Management; and James Jenkins, president, Jenkins Construction, Inc.
CIVIC AND GOVERNMENT: Kym L. Worthy, prosecutor, Wayne County; Dave Bing, former mayor, city of Detroit; John Conyers, Jr., U.S. Representative, 13th District, U.S. House of Representatives; Cathy M. Garrett, clerk, Wayne County; Saunteel Jenkins, council at-large, city of Detroit; Brenda Jones, city council president, city of Detroit; Damon J. Keith, judge, United States Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit; Brenda L. Lawrence, mayor, city of Southfield; Benny N. Napoleon, sheriff, Wayne County; Kevyn Orr, emergency manager, city of Detroit; Janice M. Winfrey, city clerk, city of Detroit; and Robert P. Young, Jr., chief justice, Michigan Supreme Court.
EDUCATION: Dr. Curtis L. Ivery, chancellor, Wayne County Community College District; Keith Johnson, president, Detroit Federation of Teachers; Jack Martin, emergency manager, Detroit Public Schools; and M. Roy Wilson, president, Wayne State University.
FINANCE: Linda D. Forte, senior vice president and chief diversity officer, Comerica; and Suzanne Shank, president, chief executive and cofounder, Siebert Brandford Shank LLC.
HOSPITALITY: Larry Alexander, president & CEO, Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau; and Marvin W. Beatty, vice president of community and public relations, Greektown Casino.
MEDIA: Mildred Gaddis, talk show host, WCHB 1200, Radio One Detroit, Inc.; Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor, Detroit Free Press; Rochelle Riley, columnist, Detroit Free Press; and Chuck Stokes, editorial and public affairs director, WXYZ-TV Channel 7.
HEALTHCARE: Conrad L. Mallett, Jr., chief administrative officer, Detroit Medical Center.
PHILANTHROPY: Tonya Allen, president and CEO, The Skillman Foundation; Faye Alexander Nelson, president, DTE Foundation, vice president, public affairs, DTE Energy; and LaJune Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO, W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
PROFESSIONAL SERVICES: Reuben A. Munday, chairman, Lewis & Munday, PC.; Dennis Wayne Archer, chairman and CEO, Dennis W. Archer PLLC; David Baker Lewis, principal, Lewis & Munday, PC.; Alex L. Parrish, partner, Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLC; and Reginald Turner, advisor, Clark Hill PLC.
RELIGION/SPIRITUALITY: Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, president, Detroit Branch NAACP, and pastor, Fellowship Chapel; Bishop P.A. Brooks, pastor, New St. Paul Tabernacle Church of God in Christ; Bishop Charles H. Ellis III, senior pastor, Greater Grace Temple; Rev. Solomon Kinlock, Jr., pastor, Triumph Church; and Bishop Edgar L. Vann II, senior pastor, Second Ebenezer Church.
UNION: Albert Garrett, president, Michigan AFSCME Council 25, International vice president, AFSCME; and James Settles, Jr., vice president, UAW.
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“I think that it is outstanding that the Michigan Chronicle, one of the nation’s most historic Black newspapers, has recognized so many Black people and their contributions to making huge differences in so many areas,” said Alicia Boler Davis, who is General Motors’ highest ranking and most powerful African-American female executive in the world. “And I’m so humbled that the Chronicle has included me in its Power 50 when there are so many other African Americans in this region who are worthy of such recognition.”
WXYZ Channel 7’s Chuck Stokes stated, “I’m honored to just be a part of such an illustrious group of leaders. Many of the people honored by the Chronicle I’ve looked at as role models, mentors and powerbrokers and very accomplished African Americans. Detroit has a wealth of African Americans in all fields of endeavor, which is sometimes overlooked in the national picture. So I am humbled to be included in this group of leaders that are making a difference in this region.”