Detroit Regional Chamber > Detroiter Magazine > Congrats Class XLII: Graduates Share Their Reflections 

Congrats Class XLII: Graduates Share Their Reflections 

September 8, 2022

In January 2022, the Detroit Regional Chamber launched Leadership Detroit Class XLII, the program’s first since it paused activities in June 2020 due to the pandemic. The six-month transformational leadership program challenged 60 emerging and existing leaders to bring about positive change through informed leadership as it has since 1979. 

Representing a cross-section of Southeast Michigan − including business, organized labor, government, education, media, civic groups, health services and community organizations −  this year’s graduates join an alumni network of over 2,000 who continue to create awareness and drive conversation of key issues that affect the Detroit region. Several graduates shared thoughts on their experiences. 

“My Leadership Detroit experience taught me that it is OK to be open – even vulnerable – as a leader! Responding to others in a state of wonder and curiosity leads to successful, conscious leadership.”

Julianne Cassin Sharp
Senior Principal and Attorney, Miller Canfield 

“This was one of the most rewarding person-to-person experiences allowing participants (now friends) to not only learn about the city of Detroit and current policies, but to learn about each other, each other’s work, and backgrounds.” 

Jarell D. Brown
Head of Analytics and Business Intelligence, The Henry Ford

“Leadership Detroit helped me see the wide path of opportunities and encouraged me to continue to leave a powerful and positive legacy in this world.”  

Laura Chavez-Wazeerud-Din
Assistant Vice President, Comerica Bank

“I was honored to have engaged with such thoughtful leaders who brought their intellect, experiences, and ideas, evolving into a body of empathetic individuals who’ve become friends that are ignited to collectively impact this world.”  

Kimberly Johnson
Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Developer K.I.D.S.

“I came into this program curious and open-minded, but I left the program as a better version of myself. We laughed, cried, challenged each other, and united, leveraging the power of strong relationships and motivation to make our region even stronger.”  

Jeff Smith
Vice President, Information Services, Priority Health

“I had the opportunity to network with like-minded, dynamic people, with the same core qualities. I was able to apply the learning outcomes of the program to my life, both professionally and personally. I learned to focus on resilience and not perfection.”  

Van Nguyen
Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Schoolcraft College

“I had a tremendous opportunity for personal and professional growth through Leadership Detroit. I gained a better understanding of the region’s challenges, invaluable relationships with classmates, and insight into each other’s lived experiences.”    

Steve Lorenzo
Vice President, Barton Malow Company

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to network with some of the best up-and- coming leaders in Detroit. I learned a lot about myself, the region, and how to be a better leader for my organization and the community.” 

Sean De Four
President and Chief Executive Officer, Southwest Solutions

“Getting to know so many smart, thoughtful people and having the opportunity to learn together, both about ourselves and the region, was a positive experience that will shape my leadership posture and approach for the foreseeable future.”  

Krista Jahnke
Senior Communications Officer, The Kresge Foundation

“As a transplant to the region, Leadership Detroit allowed me to better understand the history of the Metro Detroit region while looking forward together with some of the most influential rising leaders.”   

Matt Kovack,
Vice President, Bank of America

“The Leadership Detroit experience was enlightening. I learned more about myself as a person, and the sessions allowed me to be introspective about my decisions and interactions with others.”  

Meagan Brown
Director, University and Community Partnerships, Central Michigan University