Karen Tyler-Ruiz is a non-profit leader who has dedicated much of her career creating opportunities in support of the economic mobility of low-to-moderate income individuals and their families. She has built strategic partnerships in each role she has held, working in affordable housing, personal finance, workforce development, and funding collaboratives. Her most recent roles include Senior Director at United Way for Southeastern Michigan, where she provided leadership to a portfolio of family asset building strategies. Tyler-Ruiz helped catalyze the Greater Detroit Centers for Working Families helping over 10,000 Metro Detroiters increase their income and served as Executive Director of the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund, a public/private workforce-focused funders’ collaborative. In that role she helped create Access for All, a Detroit construction trades pre-apprenticeship program with a 91% employment rate, and a 67% apprenticeship entry rate. Ms. Tyler-Ruiz has over 20 years working in community wealth building including neighborhood commercial revitalization and non-profit capacity building. She is fully bilingual English-Spanish and also has significant international work experience. She holds a B.A. from Grinnell College and has professional development coursework in organizational development, and a housing finance certification from the National Development Council.
Through his company, Ironbridge Development LLC, Ocie provides, coaching and advisory services to small business owners and entrepreneurs. His other entrepreneurial interests involve providing expanded access to nutritious foods, creating jobs, and educating young people throughout southeast Michigan. Previous jobs included Director, Entrepreneurial Programs at TechTown and Client Delivery Executive at EDS/HP. Ocie spent 25 years in leadership roles in sales, operations, and marketing with a number of well-known companies including EDS, GE Capital, Mazda, and Citicorp.
Michael retired at the end of 2013 from the law firm of Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn, LLP where he was a partner in the employee benefits, executive compensation and insurance groups, advising employers, insurers, health plans and third party administrators on a wide range of issues and litigation matters under ERISA, HIPAA, FMLA, the Tax Code and the Affordable Care Act. He is a certified mediator, and handles pro bono court ordered mediations through the Wayne County Mediation Center. He has been Board Chair of C2BE since its founding in 2007, and has done volunteer staff work for C2BE since his retirement. He is also currently Board Secretary of the Coalition On Temporary Shelter (COTS) in Detroit, and a Board member and past Board President of the Friends of the Detroit Public Library Foundation. Prior to becoming an attorney, Michael drove a truck in Cleveland, Ohio for 14 years, and was a union activist, being a founding member of Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU). TDU is still active and is the longest running rank and file caucus in U.S. labor history. Michael received his law degree, magna cum laude from Wayne State University Law School, his A.B degree, summa cum laude from Columbia College, and B.A. and M.A. degrees from Trinity College, Cambridge England.
Detroit-based youth advocate, Lanita Carter is passionate about mentoring and bringing out the passion in the inner city youth. She has worked as a coordinator at Ceasefire Detroit, which provides young men who have been incarcerated with services such as job placement, ID registration, trauma support, etc. In 2013, she founded a real estate investment company, Diamond In The Rough Real Estate, whose mission is to revamp the inner city of Detroit housing market. Lanita is also a licensed Michigan Real Estate Agent and a law student at Western Michigan Cooley Law School. More about Lanita.
Shayla A. Fletcher
Shayla A. Fletcher began her professional career at a Fortune 500 company as a Certified Internal Auditor. She decided after several years of juggling a family and a demanding business travel schedule to leave Corporate America to focus on a business venture while attending law school. Shayla not only started her own entrepreneurial endeavor, but she also spent 8 years advising businesses on strategies to increase their profits. Currently, Shayla focuses her law practice primarily in the areas of Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Administration, Elder Law, and Business Planning. Shayla is also a certified mediator.
Shayla is on the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters Washtenaw County, a member of the State Bar of Michigan, American Bar Association, Washtenaw County Bar Association, and Vanzetti Hamilton Bar Association. Shayla is also a member of several service organizations.
Shayla received her law degree from the University of Toledo School of Law, a B.S. in Business Economics from Florida A & M University, and a M.B.A. in Finance and Operations from Purdue University.
Dr. Rita Fields is a dual CEO of both 313 Industries, a CNC machining and milling corporation and Copper Phoenix Consulting, LLC where she offers expertise on talent and operations management. Dr. Fields is also faculty in the school of management at University of Michigan, healthcare administration at Central Michigan University, and a dissertation advisor in the PHOD Program at Assumption University in Bangkok, Thailand. Dr. Fields worked at the senior executive level in the healthcare industry for 10 years and in corporate America for two decades.
Dr. Fields is a SHRM Certified Senior Professional of Human Resources (SHRM-SCP), and a lifetime member of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR). Dr. Fields serves as a spokeswoman for the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan and as a member of the EDA University Center for Regional Economic Innovation (REI) at the MSU Center for Community and Economic Development.
Dr. Fields is a board member with both South Oakland Shelter (SOS) and Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS) and a member of the board of trustees at Sinai Grace Hospital in Detroit. Crain’s Detroit Business named her among “40 under 40” in 2008. In 2009, the Fusion division of the Detroit Chamber of Commerce honored her with a Young Professional in Health Care Services Horizon Award. In both 2010 and 2011 she was selected to serve as a United States delegate with SHRM to explore human capital issues in both China and Brazil. She was selected to be a presenter at TEDxDetroit in 2015. In 2016 she was honored with a Women’s History Month Careers Mastered Leadership in Action Award. In 2017 she was a featured speaker at the Detroit Policy Conference. In 2018, she was selected to be an Innovation Fellow for the Center for Regional Economic Innovation and to serve as a reviewer for the 2018 Robert Woods Johnson Culture of Health Leaders Fellowship. She is a sought-after speaker for both her expertise in workplace culture and her transparent commitment to sharing her story of struggle and resilience.
Marcus Perez started his career in corporate finance at a Fortune 500 company. After 5 years in the large corporate world he left to start a consulting firm catering to non-profits and small businesses. Over the past 8 years he has engaged with clients in a diverse range of industries such as manufacturing, real estate, retail, software development as well as non-profits. The focus of these engagements has been strategy, financial systems and processes and data analytics. With his consulting firm he created a program with Microsoft to bring the data analytics tools used by large corporations to non-profits. Marcus graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.B.A. in Accounting.
For the past 5 years, Bryce has led an intergenerational charge to “bridge the gap” between Detroit’s legendary musical pioneers and the city’s young emergent innovators. In 2012, Bryce teamed with legendary Motown arranger Paul Riser to co-direct and host the Red Bull Music Academy presents Motown to New York City: Paul Riser & Friends w/Young Guru. In 2014, he produced the ONE MILE Mothership Launch: Legacy of Funk concert with funk legend Carl ‘Butch’ Jones, bringing together four generations of Parliament-Funkadelic alumni. As founder of Detroit Recordings Company, he uses entertainment arts and community cultural legacies to promote new Afrikan and Indigenous narratives, cultural literacies, and new cooperative music economies—Entertainment Justice. He grows intersectional communities as C2BE’s Director of Cultural Programming, as Director of Commons Relations for East Michigan Environmental Action Council, and as a founding member of Oakland Avenue Artists Coalition and Detroit Future Youth Network.
Deborah Groban Olson
Since 1981 Deb has specialized in creating and advising employee-owned companies and many types of cooperatives. A former chair of the National Center for Employee Ownership, Olson serves as board chair of employee-owned Once Again Nut Butter Collective and on the board of Circle Pines Center, a co-op education and recreation center. She was also founder of the Capital Ownership Group at Kent State University, where she ran its global online think-tank and conference center on using ownership to counter the negative impacts of globalization. Olson has also published and spoken extensively in both the US and Europe, and done extensive teaching and consulting. As a 1976 Order of the Coif graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School, she has an AV peer rating from Martindale Hubbell as a preeminent attorney in her field. Read full biography.
Our Board of Directors
Hassan Bazzi, Director of Community Innovation, Forward Cities
Steve Dubb, Senior Editor, Nonprofit Quarterly
Dr. Alicia Renee Farris, Chief Operations Officer, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United
Mr. Vincent Tilford, President & CEO, Hannan Foundation.
Judith Williams, Retired Community Economic Developer, Commercial and Housing specialties
Delphia Simmons, Chief Impact & Learning Officer, COTS Detroit
Juwon Harris, COVID-19 Health Educator and Outreach Specialist, CDC Foundation
Sarah Craft, Director, Detroit Venture For America
Andrew Blain, Consultant, Next Level Consultants
David Drews, retired CFO of Project Worldwide
Juan Escareno, Community Growth Partners
Ian Chan Hodges, Principal, Responsible Markets
Alan Kaniarz, Principal, AK Services
Adam Konner, IT and Co-op Consultant, Collective Seeds
Reverend Barry Randolph, Pastor, Church of the Messiah
Paul Saginaw, Co-Owner & Founding Partner, Zingerman’s Community of Businesses
Errol Service, Principal, ECP Partnership, McDonald’s
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