Detroit Homecoming V – September 12-14, 2018

This year, Detroit Homecoming V celebrated the legacy and analyzed the future of our city as a hub for design, innovation, and manufacturing. Detroit makes not only world-class products, but it also produces ambitious professionals and entrepreneurs.

In light of the challenges and opportunities which face Detroit and its citizens, Detroit Homecoming V gathered together the most accomplished professionals with personal roots in metro Detroit to connect with other Detroit expats, city and regional policy leaders, and local business and philanthropic opportunities.

Homecoming V was fun, engaging and informative, allowing the world to see Detroit through a new and fresh lens.

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Day 1 Highlights – Investment and Business in Detroit

Expats kicked off the day with a morning High Growth African American Investment seminar featuring Lo Toney, the Founder of Plexo Capital. This fantastic session was followed by the following afternoon activities

  •  Real Estate Forum and Tour at the Fisher building sponsored by The Platform
  • An Innovation Tour that included stops at PlanetM & TechStars Mobility, TechTown Detroit, and the Anderson Institute at the Wayne State School of Engineering.


After a cocktail hour at the newly opened Wayne State University Ilitch School of Business, dinner was served at the Little Caesars Arena. Expat attendees, sponsors and local guests were treated to conversations and insights through a:

  • Keynote address by Chris Ilitch – president of Ilitch Holdings
  • Fireside chat moderated by Crain Communications President and CEO – KC Crain, featuring Detroit Mayor – Michael Duggan and Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman – William Clay Ford Jr
  • Fireside chat moderated by ESPN Host, Kelly Carter featuring Quicken Loans Founder/Chairman Dan Gilbert and StockX CEO & co-founder, Josh Luber

Day 2 Highlights – Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Hosted at the Lexus Velodrome, expats and local entrepreneurs were treated to a morning session of presentations and panel discussions which featured

  • Dug Song – CEO of Duo Security, and Steve Vozar – CTO of May Mobility [Growing Companies and Entrepreneurship]
  • Jen Guarino – ISAIC Chairperson & Jeffry Aronson – Former DKNY Exectutive [Fashion Industry Development Update]
  • Tracy Reese – World Renowned Fashion Designer [Fashion Fireside Chat]
  • Darren Walker – President of the Ford Foundation, Derrick Johnson – President of the NAACP, Jemele Hill
  • Kevin Orr – Former Detroit Emergency Manager, Rip Rapson – President and CEO of the Kresge Foundation [Bankruptcy Five Years Later]
  • Ryan Kadro – CBS News, Olivier Kamanda – Director/Learning and Impact Strategy of the Knight Foundation Jemele Hill, Aaron Foley, Vickie Thomas


The afternoon session featured a physical product and service boulevard featuring 32 exhibitions by local entrepreneurs, an information bar which allowed for expats to consult and advice local entrepreneurs, and presentations which featured the following experts and leaders

  • Robin Terry – CEO of the Motown Museum, introduced by Ethan Davidson
  • LaJune Montgomery Tabron – CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Carolyn Cassin, Terry Axelrod, Arthur Jemison [Pitch-A-Fund
  • Dan Lyne, Camile Walker-Banks, Chris Rizik, moderated by Ralph Gerson – Davidson Foundation

Day 3 Highlights – Education & Workforce Development Forum

On final day of Detroit Homecoming V, local non-profit executives and educators convened with Detroit expat attendees to meet and learn of the executive level insights and plans to improve education in Detroit. Presenters and Speakers included:

  • Dave Egner Maurice Cox [Parks and Rec, Detroit Style]
  • Speaker: Nikolai Vitti – DPSCD Superintendent
    Monique Becker
    , Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee, Dannis Mitchell, and Rahn Dorsey [Detroit’s Education Report Card]
  • M. Roy Wilson -President of Wayne State University, Antoine Garibaldi – President of the University of Detroit Mercy, Anthony Trudel – Principle of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School, Nikolai Vitti [Panel on Detroit Education]
  • Larry Bacow – President of Harvard University,
    M. Roy Wilson
  • Marsha Music Philpot
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