1. LaSonia Forté to Participate in Detroit Regional Chamber’s Leadership Detroit Class XLIII

    Mark Rivett posted October 19, 2022

    LaSonia Forté of The University of Michigan, OVP Government Relations has been selected to participate in the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Leadership Detroit program, an eight-month transformational leadership program designed to challenge emerging and existing community leaders from Southeast Michigan to bring about positive change.

    LaSonia Forte

    LaSonia Forté, Associate Director of
    State Outreach, University of Michigan, OVP Government Relations.

    As a Detroit native, I am excited about the opportunity to learn from, and embark upon the Leadership Detroit experience with, this esteemed group of individuals who love and care about the people of the City of Detroit as much as me. I look forward to expanding my understanding of key issues facing the region and of ways I can contribute to the mission of making Detroit an even more wonderful place to live, work, and prosper,” said LaSonia Forté, Associate Director of State Outreach, University of Michigan, OVP Government Relations.

    As part of Leadership Detroit’s Class XLIII, Forte will join approximately 70 executives across Southeast Michigan, representing a cross-section of the community, including business, organized labor, government, education, media, civic groups, health services and community organizations.

    Devon O’Reilly, Detroit Regional Chamber Senior Director of Community Engagement and Leadership Development.

    Devon O’Reilly, Detroit Regional Chamber Senior Director of Community Engagement and
    Leadership Development.

    I am tremendously honored and excited to take the helm of Leadership Detroit and guide 43 rd class of outstanding individuals through this year’s program. Leadership Detroit offers a unique experience that takes leaders on a journey out of their comfort zones to challenge long- held assumptions and to embrace multiple and diverse perspectives on quality-of-life issues in the Detroit region,” said Devon O’Reilly, senior director of community engagement and leadership development. “Through carefully curated sessions and experiences throughout the year, this class will have an opportunity to better connect with each other, hear directly from key regional leaders across multiple sectors, and enhance their intangible skills that will help them shape this region’s future in their positions of leadership.

    As it has since 1979, Leadership Detroit will continue its role in addressing, discussing, and leading conversations important to the Detroit region.

    About Leadership Detroit

    Leadership Detroit is a community leadership program for executives in Southeast Michigan led by the Detroit Regional Chamber with more than 2,000 alumni. Launched in 1979, the annual, six-month program aims to create awareness of key issues that affect the Detroit region and to challenge emerging and existing community leaders to bring about positive change in the community through informed leadership.

    About the Detroit Regional Chamber

    Serving the business community for more than 100 years, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected chambers of commerce in the country. As the voice for business in the 11-county Southeast Michigan region, the Chamber’s mission is carried out by creating a business-friendly climate and providing value for members. The Chamber leads the most comprehensive education and talent strategy in the state. The Chamber also executes the statewide automotive and mobility cluster association, MICHauto, and hosts the nationally recognized Mackinac Policy Conference.

  2. LaSonia’s Way: U of M Outreach Director Moves with Intentionality

    Mark Rivett posted November 29, 2021

    Read full story on the Michigan Chronicle

    LaSonia Forté, associate director of State Outreach at the University of Michigan (U of M), takes her gift of engagement and puts service above self as she leads while serving the eastern region of the State of Michigan (including Detroit, Saginaw, Bay City, Midland, and Alpena).

    Forté’s role as outreach representative in the Office of Government Relations makes strides to build strategic partnerships in the business, institutional, government, education, and non-profit sectors throughout the east side of Michigan, according to her biography. The Detroit native also serves as the board president of the Washtenaw County’s Dispute Resolution Center and on the board of directors of Girls Group among other organizations.

    LaSonia Forte
    “Bringing together like-minded people to solve community problems using the university’s vast intellectual resources is what my job is all about,” Forté said. “It is extremely gratifying to witness people sharing their perspectives, then committing to working together to solve real-world problems.”

    Read full story on the Michigan Chronicle

  3. ZIIBIMIJWANG FARM Growing Indigenous Food Sovereignty

    Mark Rivett posted April 9, 2021

    Ziibimijwang Farm is helping restore food sovereignty for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and other communities throughout the northern Great Lakes region.

    Joe Van Alstine will discuss ways in which Ziibimijwang is working to provide a reliable food source for tribal community members independent of the larger food system, encourage healthy eating, and enhance people’s knowledge of how to raise their own food.

    He also will share challenges and opportunities in operating a sustainable, community-based farm, as well as how collaboration with tribal and non-tribal institutions, such as the University of Michigan’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum, can help promote Ziibimijwang’s mission.

    Guest Speaker:

    Joe Van Alstine

    Chair of the Board of Directors, Ziibimijwang, Inc.


    (from the UM Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum):

    David Michener


    Jeremy Moghtadar

    Campus Farm Program Manager

    When: Wednesday, April 14th at 1:30pm



    UM College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts; UM Office of Research; UM Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum; UM Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; UM Sustainable Food Systems Initiative; UM Museum of Anthropological Archaeology; UM Museum Studies Program; UM Department of American Culture; UM Native American Studies Program; UM Office of Government Relations; Native American and Indigenous Studies Interdisciplinary Group