2016-17 Advisory Board

Ron Fournier

Ron Fournier

Ron Fournier is the Associate Publisher for Crain’s Detroit Business. As Associate Publisher, Fournier leads editorial content strategy and works to expand new business and audience opportunities for the publication. Prior to joining Crain’s, Fournier served as editor-in-chief of the National Journal for two years and as senior political columnist for the National Journal and The Atlantic. Fournier has won many journalism awards, including the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award and the White House Correspondents’ Association Merriman Smith Memorial Award. A graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy, Ron began his journalistic career in Hot Springs, Ark., moving to Little Rock to cover then-Gov. Bill Clinton. Fournier is the author of Love That Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips, and My Son Taught Me About a Parent’s Expectations, which became a NYT bestseller. He serves on the senior advisory board of the Harvard Institute of Politics.

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Yodit Mesfin Johnson

As Chief Relationship Officer at NEW (Nonprofit Enterprise at Work), Yodit initiates strategic partnerships, high impact collaborations, and innovative business opportunities. Prior to joining NEW, she directed a statewide business development project for the Center for Empowerment and Economic Development (CEED). Yodit studied Marketing and Communications at Eastern Michigan University, and is the 2014 recipient of the American Business Women’s Association Rising Star award. Yodit is founder of Lips & Hips, a leadership program for girls and women.

Stephen Luigi Piazza

Stephen Luigi Piazza

Stephen Luigi Piazza is the Senior Director of Mortgage Loans with Quicken Loans here in Detroit. In his nearly 20 years with Quicken, he has been instrumental in many key projects, including leading the company’s presenting sponsorship with the Detroit Pistons. He joined the Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program Advisory Board in February of 2014 and has worked tirelessly to support efforts to grow the program. Stephen is currently the co-host of Opportunity Detroit, a radio program focusing on the revitalization of Detroit.  

 

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Jim Ryan

Jim Ryan founded JPRA Architects, an award winning architectural firm specializing in National and International commercial projects, and directed design and marketing activities until his retirement in 2008. He serves Lawrence Tech University on the Alumni Board, Steering Committee, and Distinguished Architectural Alumni. Jim serves as the Architectural Advisor to the Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program.

   

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Hubert Sawyers, III

Hubert is principal at SORSAW Enterprises, a digital marketing consultancy that specializes in optimizing search and social efforts to enhance business activity. Hubert has supported other local causes including North Rosedale Park Civic Association and Michigan Humane Society. A Michigan State University graduate, he studied both International Relations and Japanese. Born and raised in Detroit, he now resides in Ferndale, and spends time collecting records, cooking, and staying physically active.  

 

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Tahir Whitehead

Tahir Whitehead was selected by the Detroit Lions in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Temple University. Whitehead, who became one of the teams most valuable players on special teams through his first two seasons, moved into the starting lineup at middle linebacker for Detroit September 28, 2014. Whitehead finished an impressive season with 86 tackles, 2 interceptions and 5 passes defensed. A native of Newark, New Jersey, Whitehead has found his niche working with youth in the Metro Detroit area, with a primary focus on education. Since September of last year, Whitehead has hosted events with organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan, the Detroit Public School Systems Proud Strong Learner’s Program and Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program.