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Leadership

Executive Director

Anita I. Martínez

Executive Director, Michigan Hispanic Collaborative

Anita I. Martinez is the Executive Director of the Michigan Hispanic Collaborative and will lead the organization’s strategic way forward to launch its first program, La Próxima Generación. As Executive Director, Anita will guide the MiHC in order to improve Hispanic academic and employment success. Anita served as a Community Impact Director of Financial Stability and Wealth- Building at United Way for Southeastern Michigan (UWSEM). In this role, she oversaw the program development and innovation for a portfolio of agencies in the Economic Prosperity focus area. Anita began her career at UWSEM in 2010 as a manager of Financial Stability providing leadership, technical assistance, and oversight to The Greater Detroit Centers for Working Families network (Greater Detroit CWF) of eight high performing community based non-profit organizations at ten locations —a wholistic workforce development business model designed to improve the financial stability and wealth-building opportunities for families. Anita’s co-management and oversight of The Greater Detroit Centers for Working Families network and best practice standardization are recognized within the 80+ National Network of Financial Opportunity Centers, as a top third performing market implementing the Integrated Service Delivery (ISD) business model. Leveraging experience gained from her leadership over The Greater Detroit CWF network, Anita successfully launched UWSEM’s Community Financial Centers (CFC) Network. The founding CFC network of six sites implemented ISD standards by pairing financial coaching with the partner agencies’ existing line of organizational services. Clients received holistic and extensive wrap-around coaching to ensure the most comprehensive path forward towards achieving economic mobility. Anita is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and holds a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Studies. She is currently working towards completing her MBA from Central Michigan University. In 2016, Anita volunteered her time and helped launch the University of Michigan’s Latino/Alumni Association and has served as its Chairperson since. Born and raised in Detroit, Anita is honored and humbled to support the upward mobility and self-sufficiency in the community she was raised. Her career launched 19 years ago in the private brokerage and banking sector and evolved into non-profit community economic development as a financial coach at Southwest Solutions’ Center for Working Families, in 2008. She has held her realtor license for over 15 years and has held property and casualty and life insurance licenses. She has dedicated the past 11 years of her career applying her extensive financial background to improve systems that assist constituents with growing their financial awareness and application of those principals and behavioral economic techniques. Her professional experiences have allowed Anita to pursue her passion, which is serving others and improving individual and family conditions in life. Anita’s identifies her most significant contribution to life is her role as a wife and a mother of five beautiful children.

Program Manager

Maria G. Lopez

Program Manager, Michigan Hispanic Collaborative

Maria Lopez is the Program Manager for the Michigan Hispanic Collaborative’s first program, La Próxima Generación. She is a first-generation graduate from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish. Throughout her college career, Maria volunteered for numerous educational programs, such as The Quito Project, The Ann Arbor Language Partnership, Proyecto Avance, Latino Mentoring Association, among others. She was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and grew up in Southwest Detroit. She is committed to serving and giving back to her community.

 

After graduating from college, Maria worked at Detroit Cesar Chavez Academy High School as an English Second Language Paraprofessional and Office Assistant. She was able to have a positive impact on both students and parents. Additionally, Maria was an On-Site Program Coordinator for Northern Michigan’s Aim North Program. The program, hosted at Cesar Chavez Academy High School, allows graduating seniors to take college level courses during the summer. Maria ensured all students successfully completed the program by providing one-on-one support, tutoring, and mentorship.

 

Maria will pursue an advanced degree in Education to help improve the college-going culture in Southwest Detroit. 

 
 

Board of Directors

Lawrence T García

Corporation Counsel, City of Detroit 

García is the principal attorney of the City of Detroit. Using his experience as a trial attorney, he is focused on reducing the City’s liability for personal injury and civil rights claims through risk management and courtroom advocacy. García is also the founder of Michigan’s premier Latino law firm in 2011, The García Law Group, PLLC. This firm serves individual and corporate clients in business, defense, health and litigation in both English and Spanish. Having worked to give greater voice to the Latino community in Southeast Michigan for many years, García is pleased to be the first Latino to serve Detroit as Corporation Counsel. García currently serves as the Cesar Chavez Academy Board Chair, as well as on the Detroit Institute of Arts Board of Directors. He has also served as president of the Hispanic Bar Association of Michigan and as chairman of the Hispanic-Latino Commission of Michigan.

 

JoAnn Chávez

Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer

JoAnn Chávez is senior vice president and chief legal officer for DTE Energy, a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Chávez currently serves on the DTE Energy Foundation Board and the DTE Energy Investment Committee. She is also the executive sponsor of Somos DTE (DTE’s Hispanic employee resource network group), and the architect and executive sponsor of DTE’s Summer Talent Exposure Program (STEP), an internship program geared towards under-represented college students. Chávez currently serves as The Michigan Hispanic Fund President and as a board member for the Cristo Rey Network, the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute. Chávez also serves on the Notre Dame Law School Advisory Council and the University of Michigan School of Education Dean’s Advisory Council. Chávez has been recognized by the Latino Who’s Who for her achievements in advancing the culture of the Latino American business community and is a frequent speaker in the Hispanic community.

 

Alma Crossley

Director for Corporate Diversity, General Motors

A veteran with over 30 years of experience, Alma Crossley was appointed Director for Corporate Diversity at General Motors on January 1, 2011. Crossley’s primary responsibility is to favorably position GM as the company of choice for its products and services among diverse communities by promoting, supporting, and leveraging diversity within and outside of General Motors. In her position, Crossley works to establish relationships with key advocacy groups and consult across various GM functions to achieve diversity business goals. Crossley currently serves on various non-profit advisory boards including, LULAC (League of Latin American Citizens), UNIDOS US (formerly NCLR), CNC Nurturing Hispanic Communities, and previously on HACU (Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities), HWC (Hispanic Women’s Corporation), and Winning Futures in Detroit. Crossley earned her undergraduate degree from GMI in 1990 and received her MBA from the University of Phoenix in 1997. Crossley is proud of her heritage and is excited to be in a position that leverages her broad experience and diverse background. In 2011, Hispanic Business selected Crossley as one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics”, and in 2012 she was designated “Latina Trailblazer” by Latino Justice. In 2015, Crossley earned “The Rare Everyday Hero Award” from Winning Futures, and the Santiago Rodriguez Diversity Award from the Great Minds in STEM organization. Most recently, Crossley was awarded the “Adelita” Award from MANA Detroit in 2016.