The TechTown Detroit entrepreneurship hub announced this week that eight new members have been appointed to its Board of Directors.
The organization’s new board members started in December, and they hold positions in the community as business executives, education leaders and small business owners. The new members will be working on the organization’s three-year strategic plan, which was introduced in the fall.
“We’re going to execute on this plan, which involves amplifying our impact,” said Ned Staebler, president and CEO of TechTown Detroit. “It involves having people know more about what we do.” He said there also are internal goals to continue enhancing work culture.
Here are the new board members:
- Ali Abolmaali, dean of Wayne State University’s College of Engineering.
- Ben Bernstein, principal of Beringea.
- Matt Bower, partner of Varnum Law.
- Michael Cole, president of Bank of Ann Arbor’s Technology Industry Group.
- Gwen Jimmere, CEO of Naturalicious Beauty Products and Good Hair Bar Salon & Spa.
- Virginia Kleist, dean of Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business.
- Michael Sappington, vice president of Care Delivery and president and CEO of TRIARQ Health.
- Valencia Stoudamire, vice president of supplier diversity at Henry Ford Health.
Jamila Thompson, partner of Business Consulting at EY, has been appointed chair of TechTown’s Executive Committee for a second one-year term.
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Staebler said several factors went into selecting new board members.
“First and foremost, we have a whole set of equity goals to make sure that our board, and our executive committee, and our staff, and the clients that we serve and our vendors are all representative of the city and of the community,” he said.
He said TechTown also looked at skill sets. This group, he said, comes to the table with legal knowledge, experience in banking, access to venture capital, early-stage investors and entrepreneurship.
Staebler mentioned that programming shifted to a reactive approach during the pandemic. The organization plans to expand its equitable impact geographically and host a variety of programming during the next few years.
TechTown supports small businesses and startups with resources, workshops and education. It was founded in 2000 by Wayne State University, Henry Ford Health System and General Motors and later became a nonprofit in 2004, according to its website.
TechTown also recently launched applications for its annual Retail Boot Camp, which is a 12-week program that helps business owners prepare to open a brick-and-mortar space. The application deadline is Feb. 3.
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