Conversations & Lectures


Detroit Homecoming Welcome – September 2021

President M.Roy Wilson of Wayne State University and Detroit’s Mayor Mike Duggan kickoff this year event.

Gene Sperling & The American Rescue Plan

Detroit and the American Rescue Plan: Rip Rapson starts it off with a 1:1 with Gene Sperling, who was tapped by President Biden to coordinate the American Recovery Act. How will the $1.6 billion allocated to City of Detroit and the Public Schools be used in transformative ways?

GM’s Factory Zero

As Detroit’s auto industry readies itself for an all-EV future, General Motors gives us an early look at Factory Zero in Hamtramck.

Detroit and the American Rescue Plan – September 2021

Rip Rapson starts it off with a 1:1 with Gene Sperling, who was tapped by President Biden to coordinate the American Recovery Act.  How will the $1.6 billion allocated to City of Detroit and the Public Schools be used in transformative ways?

Detroit’s Future: Young People – September 2021

As CEO, Shawn Wilson created a new vision for the nearly 100-year-old Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan.  Youth participants will be “career, startup and homeowner-ready” by the time they leave the Clubs at age 18.  Learn more about the new Industry Clubs – and see one club’s own fashions from Deviate.

Innovations in Philanthropy – September 2021

Social bonds, baby bonds, billionaires tackling social issues in new ways. We ask some of the “big thinkers” in philanthropy to weigh in on what’s working and what can we focus on in Detroit.

The Workforce Crisis – September 2021

Executive Director of SE Michigan of Ballmer Group Kylee Mitchell Wells talks with Art Bilger, CEO and Founder of WorkingNation, discuss structural changes in our workforce.

Wealth Disparities and Detroit’s Legacy Residents – September 2021

For white Americans, home ownership has been the key to passing wealth along to the next generation.  Not so for Black Detroiters.

Detroit’s Image in the Arts Part 1 – September 2021

Author Stephen Mack Jones, talks with Detroit Homecoming Director Mary Kramer, about his career and his August Snow series that will be adapted for TV with Keegan Michael Key as the star.

Detroit’s Image in the Arts Part 2 – September 2021

Watch the trailer for the “God Said Give “Em Drum Machines” documentary that looks at Detroit’s early techno scene. After, Playwright Dominique Morisseau, speaks about her experience in Detroit and how it has influenced her work.

Entrepreneur Spotlight – September 2021

Detroit Homecoming brings in an array of entrepreneurs that covers Consumer, B2B and a spinoff from Wayne State.  Carla offers each entrepreneur about 3 minutes to describe their company.  Then asks them about their biggest needs/obstacles.  Each of these companies has a competitive edge in their space.

GM’s Audacious Goal: Be the Most Inclusive Company in the World – September 2021

Hajj Flemings, founder of Rebrand Black, moderates a frank conversation about GM’s goal to be the most inclusive company in the country with Telva McGruder, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at General Motors. They are joined by Dennis Archer Jr., CEO of Ignition Media Group.

Detroit’s Growing VC Ecosystem – September 2021

Entrepreneur Delane Parnell, founder of VC-backed PlayVS, an esports company in LA, has returned to Detroit part time to work on new company ideas while growing his esports franchise, first in sanctioned high school and collegiate sports. He’ll chat with another native Detroiter, Mykolas Rambus, whose MIT-hewn tech chops has fueled successful tech companies and he’s working on his latest from Detroit.

A Conversation with Meg Whitman – September 2021

Meg Whitman, one of the country’s wealthiest self-made women, recently joined the board of General Motors Co. Her passion, though, is leading the board of Teach for America, the nonprofit that sends some of the country’s best college grads into city schools as TFA fellows.

Detroit Institute of Arts at Detroit Homecoming 2021

At the Detroit Institute of Arts, expats heard from DIA Director Salvador Salort-Pons, three exciting Dlectricity artists and legendary Blue Note Records CEO Don Was and WDET Host Ann Delisi.

Ford’s Better Idea—September 2021

Sept. 25- Ford’s Jim Farley unveils his EV vision with Homecoming Director Mary Kramer.

Detroit: America’s Best Sports Town—September 2021

Sept. 23–MSU Legend Greg Kelser talks with Sheila Ford Hamp of the Detroit Lions, Arn Tellem of the Detroit Pistons, Mark Hollis of Rock Ventures and Diana Sabau of the Big Ten Conference.

Workforce—August 2021

A frank conversation on whether or not big technology will add Detroit to its job map.

Philanthropy—August 2021

A look at the ties between the Ford Foundation and Ford Motor Company.

The Arts Post Pandemic—August 2021

A star-studded group of experts discuss the state of the arts in Detroit and Dlectricity.

The Arts: Town Square—August 2021

A look at the opportunities and designs for a new cultural town square in Detroit.

Coming Home Part One—August 2021

A Homecoming conversation on how you can own and run a company in the Motor City.

Coming Home Part Two—August 2021

A frank discussion among boomerang expats who’ve moved back to Detroit on how to attract talent

Detroit & Investment

Stakeholder Capitalism

2020 –  A Discussion between Dr. Sam Stanley, President of Michigan State University and Mark Hawking, President and CFO of Salesforce.

The Future of Cities

2020 –  Ralph Gerson of the William Davidson Foundation introduces Rip Rapson, of the Kresge Foundation, who discusses the future of cities with Dan Doctoroff, the CEO of Sidewalk Labs.

Public Finance in Detroit, Post-Bankruptcy

2019 –  Chad Livengood of Crain’s Detroit Business sits down with Ken Buckfire, the Managing Director at Miller Buckfire and Company, and Ty Fahner, the former Illinois State Attorney General.

Bullish on Detroit

2014 –  A Discussion between Dan Gilbert, the co-founder of Quicken loans, and Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

Detroit vs. Covid-19

2020 –  Detroit Homecoming Director, Mary Kramer discusses the the impact of COVID-19 on Detroit with the city’s mayor and other leaders.

Detroit’s History and Future in Film Production

2019 –  A discussion of Randy Richardville, former Majority Leader of the Michigan State Senate, Nancy Tellum of Eko Media, famed writer Mitch Albom, and Tim Flattery of the College of Creative Studies.

Society & Culture

A History of American Exclusion and Immigration/Migration to Detroit

2020 – A conversation between Steve Hamp of the Michigan Education Excellence Foundation, author Dan Okrent, and Detroit historian Jamon Jordan and founder of the Black Scroll Network.

Connected Futures and Reducing Detroit’s Digital Divide

2020 – A conversation between Detroit Homecoming Director, Mary Kramer, Reginald Brown of Crain’s Communications, Faye Nelson of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and Jerry Norcia of DTE Energy.

The Impact of COVID-19 on African Americans

2020 – A conversation between Detroit Homecoming Director, Mary Kramer, Denise Fair of the Department of Health, President Roy Wilson of Wayne State University, and Reverend Larry Simmons.

Looking Back to Look Forward – Social Justice in Detroit

2017 – Katy Locker, formerly of the Knight Foundation, introduces a conversation between Mary Wilson of the Supremes, La June Montgomery Tabron, TV producer David Salzman, Lt. Gov Garlin Gilchrist and Misha Stallworth.

Exploring the Power of Philanthropy in Detroit

2019 – A discussion with Detroit Homecoming founder Jim Hayes, Joel Wittenberg (WK Kellogg), Melanca Clark (Hudson-Webber), John Barker (Kresge), and Terry Rhadigan (General Motors Co.).

Charter Schools and Education Success in Detroit

2019 – A discussion with Tonya Allen, formerly of the Skillman Foundation, legend and school founder Jalen Rose, educational philanthropist Bob Thompson, and Danielle Jackson, the Chief Academic Officer of University Prep Schools.

Race, Opportunity and Social Equity

2016 – A discussion between Ford Foundation president Darren Walker and Detroit Homecoming Director, Mary Kramer.

The state of American Governance and Urban Development

2017 – A discussion between Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, the former director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and Rip Rapson, president and CEO of the Kresge Foundation.

The Future of the Middle Class and the American Dream

2017 – Introduced by Darren McKeever, President and CEO of the William Davidson Foundation, a keynote address by Dr. Rajiv Shah, the President of the Rockefeller Foundation and a Detroit expat.

The role of human experience and the artist in Detroit’s comeback

2019 – A discussion between Detroit Expat and host of NPR’s Snap Judgement, Glynn Washington and journalist Stephen Henderson of WDET and Detroit Public Television.

The Role of Detroit’s Black Middleclass and Startups in the City’s revitalization

2019 – A discussion between Antonio Lück, formerly of Endeavor Detroit and Annika Goss of Detroit Future City, Darren McKeever of the Davidson Foundation, Tony Tomczak of DTE Energy, Raj Vattikuti of the Altimetrik Corp, and James Chapman of Plainsight.


Talent in a Post Pandemic World

2020 – Introduced by La June Montgomery Tabron of the W.K Kellogg Foundation and Byron Allen, a conversation with Byron Allen, Roz Brewer, Robin Washington, and Darren Walker of the Ford Foundation

Talent in a Post Pandemic World

2020 – A conversation between Samuel Stanley, the President of Michigan State University and Deirdre O’Brien, Sr VP of Retail and People at Apple.

Fashioning a Recovery

2020 – A conversation between Mary Kramer the director of Detroit Homecoming and David Prentice of OnPoint Manufacturing.

The Detroit Brand

2020 – A conversation between Toby Barlow of Lafayette American, Linda Hubbard of Carhartt, Eric Thomas of the City of Detroit, Ed Hogikyan of NYC & Company and Ann Sempowski Ward of Curio.

Growing Companies in Detroit

2019 – Jim Anderson of Urban Science discusses his mission to develop Detroits technological entrepreneurship ecosystem. Jules Pieri, an expat and co-founder of The Grommet, presents key aspects of starting and developing a successful company.

Stacy Brown-Philpot discusses her childhood in Detroit and the new economy

2017 – Detroit-native and Cass Technical High School alum, Taskrabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot sat down with Mary Kramer, Detroit Homecoming director and Crain’s group publisher.

Former Microsoft CEO and LA Clippers owner, Steve Ballmer discusses Detroit with Dan Gilbert

2016 – During Detroit Homecoming III, Steve Ballmer sat with Dan Gilbert of Quicken Loans about his life, career, and plans to give back to Detroit

Sports, Business and Urban Development

2017 – A discussion with Quicken Loans founder and CEO, Dan Gilbert interviewed Miami Dolphins owner and U of M donor Stephen Ross, and Golden State Warrior and former MSU Spartan, Draymond Green.

Real Estate

COVID-19 & the Impact on Commercial Real Estate

2020 – Kirk Pinho of Crain’s Detroit Business moderates a conversation with Dennis Bernard of the Bernard Financial Group, Karen Burton of SpaceLab Detroit, Howard Davis of Davis and Davis and Janet Langlois of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Metro Detroit.

Detroit Real Estate Projects in the Works

2018 – Real Estate forum conversation that includes Moddie Turay of City Growth Partners, Mark J Bennet of MJBennett, PLLC, Myles Hamby of The Platform and Bob Riney of Henry Ford Health Systems.

Detroit Real Estate Forum

2020 – A discussion with Andrew Colom and David Alade of Century Partners, Eric Larson of the Downtown Detroit Partnership, Chris Leinberger of George Washington University, Rev Barry Randolph of the Church of the Messiah, and development consultant, Everard Findlay.

Dynamics of Detroit Commercial Real Estate Post-Bankruptcy

2019 – Hosted by Crain’s Detroit Business reporter, Kirk Pinho, panelists included Dietrich Knoer (previously – The Platform), Mark Bennett (MJBennett PLLC, Paula Carethers (Ford Motor Co), Dannis Mitchell (Barton Malow) and Sherry Wang. (Goldman Sachs).

Detroit Real Estate Projects in the Works

2018 – Real Estate forum conversation that includes Moddie Turay of City Growth Partners, Mark J Bennet of MJBennett, PLLC, Myles Hamby of The Platform and Bob Riney of Henry Ford Health Systems.

Understanding Detroit Opportunity Zone Funds

2018 – Greatwater Opportunity Capital partner and expat, Matt Temkin, explains the logistics of opportunity zone funds and how this tax/investment structure can help Detroit real estate and development projects gain access to critical financing.

Arts & Culture

The Power of Sport – Fostering Youth Development in Detroit

2019 – A discussion with iconic sports broadcaster and expat Gus Johnson had a chance to sit down with Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons, Cassius Winston of the Washington Wizards, Tom Farrey of the Aspen Institute, Diane Dietz of the Big Ten and Dave Beachnau of the Detroit Sports Commission.

Telling Detroit’s Stories

2019 – Detroit Homecoming director Mary Kramer moderates this panel with writers Dominique Morriseau (“Ain’t too Proud to Beg”), Bridgett Davis (“The World According to Fannie Davis”), and Deborah Royce (Finding Mrs. Ford).

Lessons from Motown

2019 – Music Radio Host, Ann Delisi of WDET sits in conversation with Motown Legends Norma Barbee Fairhurst, Martha Reeves, Edward Wolfrum, Paul Riser, and Dennis Coffey. They explore the magic behind the Motown era and their artistic explorations.

Mike Ellison turns up the energy at Detroit Homecoming IV

2017 – Ethiopian native and performing artist, Mike Ellison provided expats and Detroit Homecoming IV’s local guests with an energetic and dynamic entertainment experience at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Expat Wendy Hilliard discusses how Detroit Homecoming brought her home

A native Detroit and expat, Wendy Hilliard became the first African-American rhythmic gymnast to compete as a member of the U.S. national team. Through attending Detroit Homecoming, Wendy Hilliard was able to begin a youth gymnastics program in Detroit

The importance of Detroit Homecoming in bringing expats home

2018 – Expat and Writer Jemele Hill discusses the role that Detroit plays in her career during a 1 on 1 interview in 2018 at Detroit Homecoming V.

Technology & Innovation

Understanding Electric Vehicle Technology

2020 – A Q& A with Alex Keros the lead architech of Electric Vehicle Infrastructure at General Motors.

Mobility Talent and the Opportunities Ahead

2020 – A conversation with Jessica Robinson of the Michigan Mobility institute, David Woessner of Local Motors and Warren Harris of Tata Technologies

Mobility Talent and the Opportunities Ahead

2020 – A conversation with Lt.Gov Garlin Gilchrist, Trevor Pawl of the State of Michigan, Alex Gallimore of the University of Michigan, Tyler Duvall of Cavnue, and Carolina Pluszcynski of the Ford Motor Company.

The Investor Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

2020 – A discussion with Chris Rizik of Renaissance Venture Capital and Ron Klain of the White House.

The Investor Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

2020 – Introduced by Jim Anderson of Urban Science, a conversation with Faye Nelson of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Danielle Russell of Google, Joshua Edmunds of the City of Detroit, James Jack of Human-I-T, and KimArie Yowell of Quicken Loans.


2020 – A conversation with Eric Ryan of Olly and Patti Glaza of Invest Detroit.

Social Media & Our Future

2020 – A conversation Sam Gill of the Knight Foundation and Dick Costello, formerly of Twitter.

Innovation and Building Great Companies in Detroit

2018 – A conversation with James Chapman, CEO of Plain Sight and Rock Ventures Entrepreneur in Residence, with Steve Vozar formerly of May Mobility and Dug Song of DUO security.

Detroit’s Tech Sector and Social Equity

2019 – A conversation withDelane Parnell the CEO of of PlayVS sat down with Dug Song, the CEO and CoFounder of Duo Security.

Detroit as a technology hub for startup companies

2019 – A conversation with Steve Case, the Chairman and CEO of Revolution launched the Rise of the Rest Fund and Chris Rizik of Renaissance Venture Capital.

Attracting Investment to Detroit

2019 – A discussion with Chris Rizik of Renaissance Venture Capital, Lauren Hoffman, formerly of Woodward Angels, Monica Wheat of Venture Catalysts and Jed Howbert of Greatwater Opportunity Capital.