The Michigan Achieves Leadership Council is a group of thought and business leaders from across the state, committed to making Michigan a top ten education state. Through their diverse experiences and areas of expertise, members of the leadership council help further the mission of The Education Trust-Midwest by providing valuable advice on engagement, outreach, and strategy.
Ken Whipple, Chairman
Ken Whipple is chairman of the Investment Committee for the Detroit General Retirement Pension Fund. From 2012-2014 he was vice chair of the Detroit Financial Advisory Board, a unit set up by the city and state to assist in Detroit’s turnaround.
Whipple is committed to his community and has been recognized for his contributions. He has been a United Way leader and board member for many years, setting a record as Torch Drive chair and serving as chairman of the board. He is a past chairman of the board of Detroit Public Television and is a board member and past chairman of Oakland Family Services. Whipple is a trustee of the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan and chair of the Foundation’s Investment Committee. He also is the chairman of the board for Detroit Country Day School.
Whipple has received several awards for his community service, including the 1998 Alois Alzheimer Award, the 1999 Max Fisher Community Service Award, the 2001 Heart of Gold Award, the 2005 Tocqueville Award, the 2006 Cor Vitae (Heart of Life) Award from the American Heart Association, and the Governor’s most prestigious volunteer award, the 2010 George Romney Award for Lifetime Achievement in Volunteering.
Deidre Bounds joined Ignite Social Media in 2010 as Chief Operating Officer and Partner. She manages the Client Services, Consumer Insights and Analytics, Finance and Talent teams, as well as general agency operations.
Prior to joining Ignite Social Media, Deidre spent 18 years with Ignite’s sister company, Brogan & Partners Convergence Marketing, where her appetite for learning the marketing business lead to her working in nearly every department within the agency. During her time with Brogan & Partners, she served as director of Public Relations, Media Director, as well as serving as the agency very first Digital Director. Deidre’s leadership and hard work earned her a Partner designation in 1998. In 2006, Deidre was selected by agency founder, Marcie Brogan, to serve as the first Managing Partner in the agency’s succession planning. In 2009, she was nominated and selected to serve as the company’s permanent Managing Partner. In this role, she was responsible for managing to the goals and objectives set forth by the Board of Directors including, but not limited to, revenue goals, identifying new income streams and leading the agency’s partner team.
A native Detroiter and life-long supporter of the City, Deidre regularly volunteers her time on a number of boards and committees. In recent years, she has served on boards and committees for Habitat for Humanity of SE Michigan, ArtServe Michigan (recently renamed Creative Many Michigan), Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse, Orchard’s Children’s Services and the public relations and marketing committee for Mayor Bing’s transition team. She is an advocate for women and children and has mentored homeless women at Peggy’s Place (a shelter for women and their children through COTS) and teen moms through the Catherine Ferguson Academy in Detroit.
Currently, Deidre serves on executive boards for the Detroit Regional Chamber and the Sphinx Organization. In 2012, she was appointed to the Michigan Women’s Commission by Governor Snyder. She serves on a Commission’s human trafficking subcommittee where she focuses on building awareness of this increasing social issue. In addition, she is a committee member for the National Council on Men and Boys and the National Council for Women and Girls. In 2013, Deidre started Daughters of Turresa (in honor of her mother) — a mentoring and support group for the younger women of her family.
Deidre resides in Troy, MI with her husband, Bill. She is the mother of two adult children and a grandmother.
Brian Cloyd is vice president of Global Community Relations for Steelcase Inc., the global leader in the office furniture industry. Steelcase delivers a better work experience to its customers by providing products, services and insights into the ways people work. Its portfolio includes architecture, furniture and technology products.
This role, which Brian assumed in September 2006, is an expansion of his previous position as director of Corporate & Community Relations for Steelcase North America. Brian is responsible for coordinating Steelcase efforts in the areas of diversity, government relations and public policy, corporate relations and community giving & volunteer programs. He also works with the environmental team to ensure that Steelcase’s sustainability strategies are included in the broader point of view.
Brian became director of Corporate & Community Relations in November 2002. In that role, he was responsible for all community and corporate relations at the local, state and federal levels.
Brian joined Steelcase in 1978 as an employment representative. Since then, he’s held various positions in employment and human resources, including employment supervisor (1980-1984), employee relations manager (1984-1986) and manager, Human Resources, Planning and Assessment (1986-1994). In 1994, Brian was promoted to director, Human Resources, for Stow Davis Furniture, a position he held until 1996. From 1996 to 1998, he was director, Human Resources, for the Steelcase Design Partnership (SDP), and from 1998-2000, he was director, Diversity and Staffing services, where he was responsible for hourly and salary hiring, supplemental staffing, management/supervisor selection and succession strategies. From 2000-2002, he was director, North America Human Resources, responsible for all human resources practices and process for Steelcase North America locations.
Before joining Steelcase, Brian worked for the City of Grand Rapids as a supervisor. His primary objective was job training for economically disadvantaged people.
Born March 17, 1951, in St. Louis, Mo., he earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Detroit in 1973. In 1976, he received a master of arts from the University of Detroit in public administration.
Brian serves on the boards of directors for the West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology, Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, the Student Advancement Foundation, and the Workforce Development Council. He serves on the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce Board as vice chair for Diversity and as a member of the Diversity Advisory committee and the Regional Issues committee. Brian is a member of the board of trustees for Northern Michigan University and the advisory council for Grand Valley State University College of Business. Additionally, Brian is co-chair of the Education Reform Initiative and a member of Michigan Business Leaders for Excellence in Education.
Nolan Finley is Editorial Page Editor of The Detroit News, a position he’s held since May 1, 2000. He directs the expression of the newspaper’s editorial position on various national and local issues, and also writes a column in the Thursday and Sunday newspapers.
Prior to that, Finley was the newspaper’s Deputy Managing Editor, directing the newsroom.
Previously, he served as Business Editor, and in various editing positions on the city, state and metro desks. He was also a reporter, covering Detroit City Hall during the Coleman Young administration.
Finley has been with the newspaper since 1976, starting as a copy boy in the newsroom while a student at Wayne State University. Nolan also co-hosts the “MiWeek” show on Detroit Public Television and often appears on Flashpoint on WDIV. He is a graduate of both Schoolcraft College in Livonia and Wayne State, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in journalism. In 2012, Nolan was inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.
He is a native of Cumberland County, Ky.
Mary Kramer joined Crain’s Detroit Business in April 1989 as editor. In 1990, she was named associate publisher and was named publisher in 2005, responsible for sales, circulation and editorial operations. In 2013, she added the Crain publication in Cleveland to her portfolio.
Crain’s Detroit Business (CDB), celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2015, covers business news in the five-county metropolitan Detroit area. Its award-winning Web site breaks news every day, and the weekly print edition reaches an estimated 140,000 people each week.
A resident of Detroit, she is the first woman to be elected president of the historic Detroit Athletic Club. She holds honorary doctorates from three state and two private colleges and universities in Michigan. Gov. Rick Snyder appointed her to the Board of Trustees at Grand Valley State in 2013.
Her previous daily newspaper experience included editing positions at the Kalamazoo Gazette, Grand Rapids Press, Ann Arbor News, Greenwich (Conn.) Time, and Buffalo (N.Y.) Courier-Express.
David G. Mengebier
Mengebier is responsible for managing all of CMS Energy’s government relations and public affairs activities in Michigan and in other states where CMS Energy has investments. As chief compliance officer, he has oversight of regulatory, Code of Conduct and corporate policy compliance. Mengebier also is president of the CMS Energy and Consumers Energy charitable foundations.
From 1999 to 2001, he was vice president of governmental and international affairs. Before that, he was executive director of federal governmental affairs from 1995 to 1999. From 1991 to 1995, he was director of federal governmental affairs.
Prior to joining CMS Energy, Mengebier worked as a staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives and as legislative counsel for a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit.
Mengebier earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University in 1981 and a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Mich., in 1984. He earned an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in 2006.
He is a board member of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Keystone Energy, Great Lakes Water Quality Board, Little Traverse Conservancy and TraverseCONNECT. He is a member of the Washington, D.C. Bar Association.