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Jillian Witherspoon

As a Health and Benefits Consultant the main function of my job is to analyze and suggest insurance options and alternatives to our clients based on their specific wants and needs. Although Aon is a global corporation, the Southfield Health and Benefits office consists of only eight individuals. Working with such a small group has given me the opportunity to get one-on-one attention from experts in the field and expand my knowledge of the industry immensely. My favorite part about working as a consultant is the constant interaction I have with clients and the ability to assist them in the often confusing and ever-changing world of employee benefits.

Job Title: Health and Benefits Consultant
Company: Aon Hewitt
College: Michigan State University, Eli Broad College of Business, Human Resource Management and Entrepreneurship, East Lansing, MI
 


Joel Wiese

I discovered my job online, but what made the difference in getting it was that I connected with a former employee on LinkedIn who just happened to share a network with me from my 19 years in Japan.  

What I love most about the work that I do at Asahi Kasei Plastics is the challenge of creating messages and strategies that stick.  My sales background has been useful in this task, as I am constantly evaluating our marketing efforts to better understand what messages are getting attention and ultimately driving sales.  

I am also leading a website redevelopment project that incorporates strategies to help current and prospective clients to more easily connect and engage with our organization.  Our website changes also include a broader more comprehensive strategy with social media efforts as well.

Last but not least, it has been a lot of fun to work at a multicultural company.  Though my Japanese was a little rusty on my initial arrival to the company, it has improved considerably over a very short amount of time.  My latest adventures in language entail learning Spanish to better support and serve the growth we are seeing in our Latin American markets.

Job Title: Marketing Coordinator
Company: Asahi Kasei Plastics North America, Inc.
College: Michigan State University, College of Communication Arts and Sciences, East Lansing, MI
 


Nicole Pipe

Doodle Home is an online interior design and luxury home furnishings destination for consumers, designers and manufacturers. We give consumers inspirational and educational tools, a personally curated selection of luxury products and will connect them with interior designers upon request. We give designers a platform to reach new clients, additional exposure and are announcing a few more tools in the next few months. Lastly, for the manufacturers and showrooms, we provide access to new audiences through a new channel while still preserving their brand values.

Finding this job was like a dream come true! I get to mix my passion for design and love of marketing at the same time. As Director of Sales and Marketing, I work on all of our marketing, advertising and social media campaigns as well as our website content. Since we are a new business, there are so many opportunities out there for us – it’s finding the right ones that are the right fit. I was recently asked to describe “my typical day” and I had to laugh… there is no “typical day” at Doodle Home!  Every day is different and rewarding in its own way – I’m constantly learning and NEVER bored.

We recently moved into our new office in the Madison Building (which we designed!) downtown Detroit with other Quicken Loan family companies such as Detroit Venture Partners and Detroit Labs.  The city is so alive right now and there is so much to do; it’s been such a great time!

The best career advice I could give anyone is to go after what you love. I was in a job that I was unhappy in but afraid to leave because I kept hearing no one was hiring because of the economy. When I was forced to look elsewhere, I found Doodle Home. Now I get to go to work every day, doing what I love, surrounded by great people.  It can’t get much better!

Job Title: Director of Sales and Marketing
Company: Doodle Home
College: Western Michigan University, Bachelor of Science in Textile and Apparel Studies, Marketing Minor, Kalamazoo, MI
 


Kelly Rose Cindrich

Altair Engineering is a company specializing in software and technology for business innovation, and our headquarters are in Troy, Michigan. I started at Altair in June 2010 as an intern and then after I graduated from OU in April 2011, I became a full time employee with the title of Marketing Specialist.

My role as Marketing Specialist allows me to work on many different tasks throughout the year with my great colleagues. I currently run all of our corporate social media pages, plan and lead various events, work one on one with account managers on marketing collateral they need for customers and prospects, work with our inside sales team, and also work with corporate marketing on various initiatives to help gain new business and promote new products. We have a great culture here at Altair which really makes my job even more enjoyable!

Job Title: Marketing Specialist
Company: Altair
College: Oakland University, Bachelor of Science, Marketing, Rochester, MI
 


Danielle Gartner

I'm a Michigander, through and through!  Having spent most of my life and many vacations in this lovely state, I have an intense desire to not only see good things happen here, but to be a part of that story.  Michigan is such an amazing place that I have trouble imaging myself leaving and Ypsilanti a gem, often overlooked. I've known about Growing Hope since moving to the Ann Arbor/Ypsi area in 2006 for school and have since made sure to check out what exciting things this amazing organization has going on, from their youth programs to the Downtown Ypsilanti Farmer's Market and the Growing Hope Center urban demonstration farm to their Garden Leadership Training course.  Once I was alerted to an opening, I jumped at the opportunity to join the Growing Hope team and thankfully they felt I was a good fit!  I'm beyond excited to be working to increase opportunities for healthy food access and food consumption in the Ypsilanti area by working with residents to grow their own food.  It is such a powerful experience. My job specifically is in managing the youth programs including after school clubs, summer camps, a youth internship program and gardening programs around residential raised bed installations and leadership training for community gardeners, in addition to doing some work on program evaluation.

Job Title: Garden and Youth Program Manager
Company: Growing Hope
College: Univeristy of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment, Environmental Justice, Ann Arbor, MI
 


Brittany Smith

My main role as Community Partnership Specialist is to make YDB’s presence known in Detroit and beyond. Whether it’s through social media, press releases or speaking engagements, I serve as YDB’s public relations arm. In addition, I’m currently organizing YDB’s annual fundraiser and talent competition, Showdown in Motown (September 23 at the Majestic Theatre!) and coordinate all community service projects for students and staff.

I actually moved back to the Metro Detroit area after graduation to further my job search when I found this job posting on the Internet. It’s very rewarding to give back to the city where I was born and raised, helping others to make a change in their lives for the better.

The hours are long and because my position is funded through AmeriCorps, the pay isn’t great, but I’m learning new skills that will last me a lifetime.  What I like most about this job is it’s never redundant. Everyday brings a new lesson, a new challenge, new people.

Job Title: Community Partnership Specialist
Company: Young Detroit Builders
College: Michigan State University, College of Communication Arts & Sciences, BA in Journalism, East Lansing, MI
 


Kimberly Faison

I am the Real Estate and Business Coordinator for the Woodward Corridor Initiative. I am responsible for the planning, coordination, and oversight of small business development, strategic land use planning, research of funding opportunities for development projects and governmental systems change for small business and commercial development. I have over ten years of experience in governmental community and economic development.
 
Prior to joining the WCI Team, I worked with the City of Inkster Planning and Economic Development Department and the Wayne County Housing Division.  Past work includes HUD’s CDBG and HOME funded programming in the areas of housing rehabilitation, down payment assistance programs and homeownership counseling, as well as land use planning, zoning administration, grant administration and project management.

Job Title: Real Estate and Business Coordinator
Company: Woodward Corridor Initiative
College: Eastern Michigan University, Bachelor of Science, Urban and Regional Planning, Ypsilanti, MI
 


Natalie Venuto

It’s not about who you know; it’s about who knows you! I landed the job through a Twitter connection. One of my followers (we’ve never actually met!) knows a recruiter at Doner. After I graduated from MSU, he asked me if I was looking for a job and if I’d be interested in the Detroit area. I was definitely interested and landed the interview and the job shortly after! I mainly work on logo design, rebranding, and print collateral for clients like ADT, Things Remembered, The UPS Store, and the Detroit Historical Society. I moved to Royal Oak because it’s the center of a lot of activity in the area and it’s not too far from work.

Job Title: Junior Designer
Company: Doner
College: Michigan State University, BA in Advertising, BFA in Studio Art, East Lansing, MI
 


Andrea Bonkowski

As an Admissions/Transfer Counselor, my responsibilities are to manage and evaluate prospect students, recruit and maintain contact with UDM applicants, and present and recruit at  community colleges and community events.  In addition, I am also responsible for guiding prospective students through the admission process, which includes meeting with students to communicate academic requirements, explain financial aid processes, and make admission decisions.

I chose to work in higher education because I enjoy helping and building a relationship with students throughout all stages of their college experience, from admission to graduation.

I am mostly excited about this position because I get to work in the great city of Detroit.  I am excited to work in this city during such an exciting time of change, and because I’m a believer in keeping young, educated professionals in metro-Detroit to help rebuild a struggling economy.

Job Title: Admissions and Transfer Counselor
Company: University of Detroit Mercy
College: Walsh College, Bachelor of Business Administration, Marketing, Troy, MI
 


David M. Lipson

My job is to assist my clients and prospects in finding the best insurance coverage for the best price.  I specialize in the insurance needs of attorneys, business owners and other professionals.  We also write personal insurance (home, auto, etc.), life/health/disability insurance, professional liability insurance and any other insurance needs our clients may have.

Job Title: Account Executive
Company: Paragon Underwriters, Inc.
College: Michigan State University, Eli Broad School of Business, East Lansing, MI
 


Sandra Yu

I grew up in Ypsilanti, went East for college/grad school, and was teaching high school in Monterrey, Mexico when I got this job offer. I specifically chose to come to the City of Detroit to work with Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice because I was (and still am) excited about Detroit's opportunity to leapfrog to the forefront as a model sustainable city, but doing so in a way that is inclusive, equitable, healthy, and grows wealth from the inside. Being in Detroit is like being in a constant state of discovery into the past and the future - there is a wealth of both history and innovation. I feel so connected to this city - through the embrace of my neighbors George and May, volunteering with the Mercy Education Project, learning about what it was like to grow up in Detroit in the 80s and 90s from my coworkers, helping out hip hot young food entrepreneurs, advocating for progressive principles through Declare Detroit, meeting die-hard been-through-everything community development warriors through my job, getting reprimanded by the 60s era activists down the block, hearing stories about the rise of New Detroit from a respected mentor, getting to know other Detroiters through the Detroit City Futbol League... I could go on. I love this city - as a planner, as an urbanist, as a do-gooder, as a curious person, as someone who loves interesting stories, different cultures, team sports, creativity, and supporting really cool, inventive ideas.

Job Title: Program Manager, Build Up Detroit
Company: Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice
College: MIT, SB/Masters of City Planning, Cambridge, MA
 


Erika Lorraine Butler-Akinyemi

I have advocated before the American Arbitration Association and the National Association of Securities Dealers (now known as FINRA).  Currently, I serve as a commercial arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association, and has arbitrated three cases since my admission to the commercial roster.  I am also qualified to serve as a mediator, and is eligible for admission to Michigan state court rosters. Attorney Akinyemi is an active member of the National Bar Association's Alternative Dispute Resolution Section.  I am also a member of the American Bar Association's Section of Dispute Resolution and the State Bar of Michigan's Alternative Dispute Resolution Section.

Job Title: Partner
Company: Akinyemi Law
College: University of Michigan Law School, Juris Doctrate, Ann Arbor, MI
 
Law 


Dana Irvine

I joined Kraemer Design Group, PLC in the summer of 2011, after working as a licensed Interior Designer for 10 years in the Metro Detroit area. I am native to the area and feel strongly about being involved in the "Rebirth" of the city. I graduated from Lawrence Technological University with a Bachelors of Science in Interior Architecture. I received my National Council of Interior Design certification (NCIDQ).
 
I have extensive experience in the hospitality design market ranging from 3 to 5 star properties. I have excellent organizational skills that easily allow me to merge seamlessly into the team approach at any stage of the design process.

Job Title: Interior Designer
Company: KraemerDesignGroup
College: Lawrence Technological University, Bachelor of Science, Interior Architecture, Southfield, MI
 


Carli Cole

Having grown up in the Metro Detroit area, I have always had a passion for the bustling nature of the city.  While attending the University of Detroit Mercy I participated in the Polish study abroad program where I was exposed to a completely different style of life and culture.  There I came to realize the true meaning of urban living, historic preservation, and adaptive reuse.  After graduating in 2008 from UDM's School of Architecture, with my Master's in Architecture, I chose to continue my education at UDM with a second Master's degree in Intelligence Analysis, with a concentration in Crime Prevention through Environmental Design.  I began working for Kraemer Design Group upon completion of my studies in Intelligence Analysis, and is currently in the process of working towards becoming a registered architect.

Job Title: Architectural Intern
Company: KraemerDesignGroup
College: University of Detroit Mercy, School of Architecture, Master's in Architecture, Detroit, MI
 


Jennifer Zumbrink

Food First by Jennifer is a company that specializes in educating people on how to optimize energy and prevent disease. It is designed to teach people the healing properties of food and empower them to make simple changes to improve their health and lives.

After graduating from Michigan State University, I had a continuum of health issues that compromised my quality of life. It wasn’t until I took a natural approach that my health dramatically improved.

I speak to companies, associations and do one-on-one consultations with individuals educating them on the “food first” philosophy.

Job Title: Founder/Owner
Company: Food First by Jennifer
College: Michigan State University, Bachelors Degree, East Lansing, MI
 


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