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Speakers and Panelists

Keynote Speakers

Kiff GallagherKiff Gallagher, Founder
Music National Service Initiative

Chris "Kiff" Gallagher had an impressive career in business and public service, and then reinvented himself as a musician and songwriter.  Now he has combined his passions for public service with his love of music through the Music National Service Initiative (MSNi), which promotes the field of music-based public service in order to improve lives, strengthen communities and engender global understanding of the common humanity of all people.


Russel C JonesRussel C Jones, President
Masdar Institute of Science & Technology

Hailed as the “World’s Most Environmental City” by Business Week, the Masdar Initiative represents the United Arab Emirate’s attempt to build a city with zero carbon emission and zero waste.  The Masdar Institute of Science & Technology is the higher education component of this city, being developed in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Through these efforts, Abu Dhabi is looking to position itself as a world-class research and development hub for new energy technologies.  Russel Jones is the founding President of the university which is dedicated to graduate education and research focused on alternative energy.


Janet WeissDean Janet A Weiss
Rackham Graduate School, University of Michigan

Dean Weiss is the Mary C. Bromage Collegiate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Public Policy. She holds faculty appointments in the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.  Professor Weiss has done extensive research on the challenges of public management, and the interplay between policy design and the management of public programs. Her work on education policy, in particular, led to her selection as an advisor to the Education Commission of the States’ Project on Governing America’s Schools, a member of the National Working Commission on Choice in K-12 Education at the Brookings Institution, and a member of the MacArthur Foundation Network on Teaching and Learning.


Attracting Young Talent, A Key Driver of the Urban Economy

Developing a strong talent base is vital for both the public and private sectors.  This panel is designed to explore the role of young professionals in the urban economy and highlight different strategies being employed to draw these educated workers to cities.

Moderator: Ken Powers, MBA Candidate 2009, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

Panelists include:

Lou Glazer, Executive Director
Michigan Future, Inc.

Sarah Szurpicki, Co-Founder
Great Lakes Urban Exchange

Claire Nelson, Owner of the Bureau of Urban Living
Co-Founder of Open City Detroit

Dan Gilmartin, Executive Director
Michigan Municipal League


Transformative Real Estate

Real estate development can play a vital role in the revitalization of cities and neighborhoods.  This panel will explore the impact of such efforts on urban areas by examining specific initiatives and hearing from the people who took on leadership in these developments.

Moderator: Rebecca Henn, PhD pre-candidate, Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, School of Natural Resources and Environment

Panelists include:

Nina Albert, Project Manager
Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, Washington DC

Fred Beal, President
The Beal Group

Jerry Ferstman, Vice President of East Coast Development
Forest City


Nonprofit Social Enterprise

The nonprofit sector has become increasingly competitive, with donations becoming increasingly more difficult to acquire.  As a result, many nonprofits are trying their hand at for-profit enterprises built to financially support their programs and services.  Unfortunately, many such efforts fail.  This panel will highlight some of the successes in this arena, and identify ways in which nonprofits can ensure that such entrepreneurial efforts do not fail.

Moderator: Ashley Zwick, Managing Director, Nonprofit & Public Management Center

Panelists include:

Lindsay Chalmers, Director of New Business Development
Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit

John Rush, Managing Director - Clean Slate Chicago
The Cara Program/Clean Slate Chicago


Walkable Urbanity

In light of rising gas prices and increased awareness of our environmental impact, more and more cities are looking at walkable urbanity as the solution.  Furthermore, it seems there is a new and growing market demand for this new city design.  This panel will bring together experts in both the academic exploration and practical application of these concepts and discuss how the Motor City itself may be transformed in the near future.

Panelists include:

Chris Leinberger, Professor and Director, Graduate Real Estate Prgm
Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning
Author of The Option of Urbanism

Mark Nickita, President
Archive D.S.

Brian Swett, LEED Project Manager
Boston Properties

Mark Denson, Director, North American Marketing Programs
Detroit Regional Chamber


Urban Philanthropy

Foundations have become very sophisticated in their philanthropic efforts, and as a result they play an increasingly important role in our communities.  This panel is designed to explore how foundations can positively impact cities and highlight current efforts in Detroit.

Moderator: Dana Linane, Public Policy and Government Relations Fellow, Council of Michigan Foundations

Panelists include:

Rip Rapson, President & CEO
Kresge Foundation

Dave Egner, President & CEO
The Hudson-Webber Foundation

Tonya Allen, Vice President of Programs
The Skillman Foundation


Urban Carbon Strategy Workshop

In the absence of federal carbon policy, many cities are proactively establishing their own programs to mitigate their carbon profiles. This session will highlight efforts cities are undertaking such as sourcing renewable energy, bolstering public transportation, installing green roofs, and retrofitting to energy efficiency technologies. After a brief discussion of these initiatives, audience members will be grouped into competing "city planner" teams to develop a carbon reduction strategy for their simulated city. The city planner teams will then pitch their plan to the mayor to procure funding for the initiative. 

Session speaker:

DeVaris Brown, Academic Relations Manager
Microsoft Corporation


Consulting for the Greater Good

Consulting often plays a vital role in the success of major corporations; however, many consulting agencies focus their services on agencies that provide social impact.  This panel will explore how these companies impact cities through their work in education and nonprofit consulting.

Moderator: Jay Dombi, MBA Candidate 2009, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

Panelists include:

Alex Neuhoff, Manager
The Bridgespan Group

Rishi Moudgil, Associate
Huron Consulting

Shannon Bouton, Consultant
McKinsey & Co.


Foreclosure & the Impact on Urban Neighborhoods

The mortgage crisis has had a tremendous impact on the US economy – particularly in urban areas like Detroit.  This panel will explore how public and private officials are trying to combat the negative effects of foreclosures and what challenges lie ahead.

Moderator: Margaret Dewar, Professor, Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning, and Faculty Director, Ginsberg Center

Panelists include:

Stephen Bancroft, Executive Director
Detroit Office of Foreclosure Prevention and Response

Dan Kildee, Chairman & CEO
Genesee County Land Bank

Chris Walker, Director of Research & Development
Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC)


The Role of CSR in Urban Revitalization

Companies are seeking to play an active role in their communities.  Corporate social responsibility (or CSR) has become a major component of many businesses, particularly in cities where the health of the city may be directly tied to the company’s ability to recruit employees and generate revenues.  This panel will look at how companies have attempted to revitalize urban areas through its CSR initiatives.

Moderator: Emily Reyna, MBA/MS Candidate 2009, Ross School of Business and the School of Natural Resources, University of Michigan

Panelists include:

Chris O’Brien, Partner
Diamond Consulting

Mark Neagle, Team Lead

Douglas Kelbaugh, Professor

Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning


Urban Transportation

As more and more people move into cities, there is a greater strain on existing transportation systems.  This panel will seek to explore these challenges in one of the city’s which is well known for its cars and its lack of effective public transportation.  We will explore current efforts in Detroit to build its capacity in this arena and outline the barriers which still challenge such efforts.

Moderator:  Matthew McMurtry, MBA/MS Candidate 2009, Ross School of Business and the School of Natural Resources, University of Michigan

Panelists include:

Megan Owens, Executive Director
Transportation Riders United

Professor Jonathan Levine, Chair of Urban and Regional Planning
Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning

Eli Cooper, Transportation Program Manager
City of Ann Arbor


Entrepreneurship with Social Impact

Every entrepreneur wants to turn a profit; however, there is a growing segment who are seeking to accomplish both social and financial goals with their new business.  This session will be devoted to one such entrepreneurial effort.  The Mercury Bar is a new café in the Corktown area of Detroit.  What makes this coffee shop unique is that its founders are not only seeking to revitalize their neighborhood but also create a demand for locally sourced foods and encourage efforts in urban agriculture.  Such entrepreneurial efforts are receiving significant attention by business and government leaders as they consider how best to revitalize the economy and realize social impact among urban areas. 

Session speaker:

Phillip Cooley, Owner
Slows BBQ
Mercury Coffee Bar


Transforming Urban Education

The importance of education in our national economy is recognized by politicians and business leaders.  However, rescuing our city schools has been a tremendous challenge which we have yet to overcome.  This panel will look at some of the efforts occurring outside of the traditional education system to impact change in our schools.

Moderator: David Schoem, Director, Michigan Community Scholars Program and Adj. Associate Professor, Sociology, University of Michigan

Panelists include:

Anne Sawyer, Director of National Recruiting
Education Pioneers

Chaka Booker, Director of Recruitment
Broad Residency

Annie Hartranft, Manager - Professional Development
Teach For America, Chicago


Social Marketing in an Urban Context

Cities are looking to incorporate marketing techniques typically employed by corporations in order to develop their image as they look to both increase tourism and attract new residents to the city.  This is particularly challenging in Detroit, a city labeled “Most Miserable City” by Forbes magazine.  This panel will examine some of the initiatives looking to reverse such thinking, and highlight effective strategies in creating a positive buzz for Detroit.

Moderator: Andy Gershoff, Associate Professor of Marketing, Ross School of Business

Panelists include:

Brian Boyle, Founder
Issue Media Group

Mary Kramer, President & CEO
Crain’s Detroit Business

Christopher Baum, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing
Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau


The Future of Urban Energy

Today’s buildings use 70% of our electricity and generate nearly half of our CO2 emissions.  Yet the landscape is changing.  Tomorrow’s buildings will be more efficient.  They will generate and store their own electricity. They will intelligently manage how energy is used, and trade electricity based on real-time prices. 

What does this mean for building owners and tenants?  For utilities?  For our energy and climate crises? 

Come hear a panel of industry experts discuss the future of urban energy, the opportunities it presents, and the barriers that remain to be overcome.

Moderator: Dave Fribush, MBA/MS Candidate 2010, Ross School of Business and the School of Natural Resources, University of Michigan

Panelists include:

Marc Andraca, Director, Global Energy & Sustainability
Johnson Controls

Hawk Asgeirsson, Manager, Power Systems Technologies
DTE Energy

Natalie Mims, Consultant, Energy & Resources Team
Rocky Mountain Institute

Nuri Demirdoven, Consultant
North America Electric Power & Natural Gas Practice
McKinsey & Co.


Using Microfinance to Create Change

Across the world, microfinance is being credited with transforming communities and providing new opportunities to populations who previously lacked any economic power.  This session seeks to address such initiatives within an urban context, highlighting the roles of all three sectors (public, private and nonprofit) in ensuring an environment conducive to success.

Moderator: Sheel Monohat, MBA Candidate 2009, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

Panelists include:

Michelle Richards
Center for Empowerment & Economic Development (CEED)

Erin Grant, Senior Lender
ShoreBank Enterprise Detroit


The Role of the Arts in Urban Revitalization

The population generally referred to as “Creatives” is receiving increased attention by academics and public officials for their role in driving the urban economy.  This panel will look at current initiatives in the public and nonprofit sectors seeking to support the creation of the arts in cities, and how such efforts play a role in urban revitalization.

Moderator: Kathleen Dolan, Fine Art Consultant, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

Panelists include:

Richard Rogers, President
College for Creative Studies

Jennifer Goulet, Director of Organizational Advancement

Jeseca Dawson, Deputy Director: Operations & Administration
Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD)

Graham Beal, Director
Detroit Institute of the Arts (DIA)


Photo by danorbit.


Friday, October 10, 2008
8AM - 5:30 PM
The Michigan Union

530 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1308
Phone: (734) 763-5750

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