Inclusion by Design
The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, through its arts & culture initiative, is hosting a networking event featuring an insightful panel discussion addressing the importance of inclusion in the design and art spaces within Detroit and Southeast Michigan.
The panel will feature partners of the Community Foundation who are leading and implementing radical changes within Detroit. The discussion will center on the impact art & design have on fostering inclusive environments and the importance of collaboration between the community, nonprofits, and funders.
Join us on Thursday, September 14 at 6 p.m. at the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art. Doors will open at 6 p.m. with the program beginning at 6:30 p.m. Seating is limited and we anticipate reaching capacity. Click below to register.
Moderator & Guest Panelists
Nathaniel Wallace (Moderator)
Head of Civic Partnerships, Michigan Central
Nathaniel is an ardent believer in the idea that artists are the true innovators, capable of sparking transformative change in society. Joining Michigan Central in 2022, he took on the role of Head of Civic Partnerships, with a focus on leading initiatives in Arts and Culture. At the forefront of pioneering work in the 30-acre Michigan Central Innovation District, Nathaniel is spearheading groundbreaking strategies that marry arts and technology. Through his leadership, he aims to create a dynamic space where artists and technologists collaborate, experiment, and create new work that unleashes the full potential of their creativity to reimagine urban landscapes and invigorate local communities. Previously, as Detroit Director of the Knight Foundation, he focused on economic development, arts, cultural production, and supporting Black leadership in the North End neighborhood. As a recognized leader in his field, Nathaniel is dedicated to creating positive change and leaving a lasting impact in the city he loves.
Executive Director, Joe Louis Greenway Partnership
Leona Medley is the newly named Executive Director of the fledgling Joe Louis Greenway Partnership in Detroit, Michigan. Prior to taking this role Leona held several executive positions with the Rock Family of Companies including Director of Strategic Community Partnerships and Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan Dearborn and is currently pursuing a Masters of Community Development from the University of Detroit Mercy.
Prior to her time at Rock, Leona served over 17 years in corporate leadership with the Home Depot where she not only ran a successful enterprise creating economic mobility for others but worked tirelessly leading large scale community development projects across Southeastern Michigan through the Home Depot Foundation.
Leona has served on the board of directors of; Habitat for Humanity Detroit Executive Committee, Chairperson for Streetwise Partners of Michigan, Good Projects Affordable Housing Advisory, sitting director for Neighborhood Legal Services of Michigan, Advisory Committee for Detroit Means Business. She was named Volunteer of the Year for Habitat for Humanity Detroit, a Globe Street Women of Influence Award recipient recognized for her outstanding social impact work, and a 2022 Michigan Chronicle Woman of Excellence.
Leona is a lifelong Detroiter, wife, mother, and a champion for the community.
Founder & Executive Director, DESIGNCONNECT
Ms. Chen is the Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit organization DESIGNCONNECT . From 2013 to 2016, she served as the Chief of Staff to the Vice President of Global Design at General Motor Co. Prior to that position, she was the Operations Director of GM China Design based in Shanghai. Ms. Chen’s tenure with General Motors spanned over 20 years, comprising a diverse range of positions in manufacturing, engineering and design. She previously served on the board of Oakland University Center for Public Humanities and Eisenhower Dance Detroit. Ms. Chen holds a B.S. in Engineering from Oakland University, a Master degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University, and a B.A. in Art History from Oakland University.
Director & Founder, Sidewalk Detroit
Ryan Myers Johnson is a curator of place-based performance and installation art, specializing in community engagement. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Film from the University of Michigan. Ryan has extensive experience in event planning, arts administration, management and leadership, stemming from her many years working as production manager in the film industry and company manager in dance production. Ryan is dedicated to creating opportunities for independent and alternative artists in Detroit, her leadership in this area grew through her role as Assistant Director of Kresge Arts in Detroit where she worked extensively in outreach, promotion and skill building for metro-Detroit artists. Her passion for community led her to found Sidewalk Detroit in 2012 as a means to celebrate Detroit landscape and culture through the lens of art and creative place-making.
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