(Chris Zadorozny/MJ)


In the second edition of the Destination Detroit speaker series, Susy Avery, Director of the Michigan Women’s Commission, spoke about her experiences and what the future of Detroit means to her.

Avery, a graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a Bachelor’s in Political Science, has a tremendous background in government, from the city level to the state level. During the course of her political career she has been the vice chair of the Wayne County Commission, supervisor, clerk and trustee of the city of Northville, and executive director of the Conference of Western Wayne. She has also been a member of the Michigan Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, and the Detroit Water Board, and on the board of directors for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan.

She has served as the director of Michigan’s tourism agency, Travel Michigan, and the director of Governor John Engler’s Southeastern Michigan office. Her extensive background shows that she has diverse experiences throughout her life that give great insight into what she thinks Detroit can be.

An hour long discussion occurred in the College of Arts, Sciences and Letters with about 30 students and Avery on the topic of Detroit. She shared a couple of stories about her life, letting students know that Detroit has a future, even with all of her traveling. She helped bring more jobs to Detroit after Governor Snyder appointed her to the current position she has now. The offices of the Women’s Commission were once in Lansing, and although she praised the views from the offices she had there, she wanted to come to Detroit.

The offices now reside in the old GM Building, now called Cadillac Place in the New Center area of Detroit. She loves working in Detroit, and especially the historic building. Something to note is that a couple of former pools in the building were converted into the Gaming Commission’s offices inside Cadillac Place, after the state purchased the building for its offices.

One of the main points of the discussion that she wanted to stress was having students stay in Michigan. Avery believes that the future rests in the students hands.

“We can’t afford to have any of you in this room, leave,” said Avery. “One person can make a difference.”

Detroit has problems, mentioned Avery. “They have many, many legacy problems, and some people there are resistant to change.” Avery also believes that Detroit can solve its financial problems, and it doesn’t need a financial manager.

Political Science Association member Emma Slonina attended the event, her first one of the four-part series. One thing that Slonina said she will take away from the event is the line that Avery kept repeating, “One person can make a difference.” She really enjoyed Avery too, “I loved it, she was energetic and so funny.”

In 10-15 years, Avery believes that Detroit will be a very vibrant city, and its focus will be on logistics because of its strategic place on the river for transportation with trade from Canada through to Chicago. She also believes that the financial problems will be solved by then.

If you would like to contact Mrs. Avery, you can email her at averys3@michigan.gov.

The next Destination Detroit Speaker Series will feature the President of Michigan Future Inc., Lou Glazer on Wednesday, February 15 at 5:00pm in room 1072 of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters.

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