The Shining Light Regional Cooperation Awards are fittingly dedicated to, and named in honor of, the widely respected Neal Shine who promoted his love for Detroit and his vision for stronger ties among all metro communities during his 45-year career with the Detroit Free Press. Mr. Shine passed away in April of 2007.
The sixth annual Shining Light Regional Cooperation Awards ceremony recognized four regional heroes:
Donnell White, Executive Director, Detroit Branch NAACP, is the 2012 Dave Bing Future Leader Award honoree. Mr. White is acclaimed as one of Detroit’s dynamic emerging leaders. He began his work at Donnell White
NAACP in Youth Management where he helped to develop, expand or support several programs, including the Art and Essay Contest, ACTSO (Afro Cultural Technology Scientific Olympics) and Advocacy and Leadership Development. He is the youngest Executive Director to be appointed in the history of the NAACP, and oversees the largest chapter in the country. White is an unrelenting force in the civil rights and social justice community and has a strong commitment to engaging younger generations in the social advocacy arena. He furthers efforts to produce positive change in our region by promoting inclusion and embracing our rich diversity. He serves the interests of Southeast Michigan through his work with numerous community organizations and initiatives addressing issues such as literacy, AIDS care and research, law enforcement community relations, and job creation and workforce development. Mayor Dave Bing appointed White to the Detroit Police Commission in 2010, where he actively participates in increasing public confidence and providing competent, objective, and effective civilian oversight. He has received numerous awards for his accomplishments.
Larry Alexander, President and CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau (DMCVB) and a 30-year veteran of the hospitality and tourism industry, is being named a 2012 Eleanor Josaitis “Unsung Hero” Award honoree. The DMCVB and its innovative and award-winning staff are responsible for
tourism-related economic growth in the region. Under Larry’s leadership, they have landed some of the world’s most coveted sporting events, including Super Bowl XL and the NCAA Men’s Final Four. Alexander created and leads the Detroit Metro Sports Commission, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bureau, which has brought AAU Junior Olympics, the Women’s International Bowling Congress, and the MLB All Star Game to Southeast Michigan. If that weren’t enough, in 2009 then-Governor Granholm named Alexander to the five-member Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority Board. He was elected Chair at the Authority’s first meeting, and is currently leading a team that is transforming Detroit’s Cobo Center into a competitive 21st-century meeting and convention facility…keeping the coveted North American International Auto Show and its positive economic and image impact in Detroit. The DMCVB is responsible for generating approximately 19 million visitors to our region and $4.5 billion in spending each year. In addition, Alexander serves on the boards of many civic and community organizations.
Kathleen Hatke Aro
Kathleen Hatke Aro, President, Accounting Aid Society (AAS), will be named a 2012 Eleanor Josaitis “Unsung Hero” Award honoree. She leads one of the oldest Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs in the country. During her tenure, AAS staff and more than 700 volunteer accountants have prepared tax returns for more than 117,000 low-income households at 25 sites throughout four counties in Southeast Michigan. They have helped struggling families file for and receive tax refunds and credits totaling more than $238 million. These dollars then boost the region’s economy as they are re-spent in the community. Aro holds an MBA from U-M, a law degree from George Washington University and a BA from Purdue. She is an attorney and has worked as a lawyer, strategic planner and legislative staff, for employers ranging from Michigan Consolidated Gas Company and Dickinson Wright, to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). She also has done extensive pro bono work for various nonprofit organizations. Her true passion is public service and making the community a better place. As a result of her leadership in improving service delivery and collaboration, Crain’s Detroit Business named AAS its Best-Managed Nonprofit in 2008. Aro also coaches youth sports and serves on several community boards.
Allan D. Gilmour
Wayne State University’s 11th president, Allan Gilmour, will be honored with the sixth annual Neal Shine Award for Exemplary Regional Leadership. Many people were surprised at the hiring of a former auto executive as university president, but for Mr. Gilmour his encore career was simply another way to apply both his natural talents and practical skills. From growing up on a dairy farm in Vermont, to being educated at Harvard and U-M, to his storied career at Ford Motor Company – beginning as owner of a dealership, working his way through financial and executive positions, and culminating his service as vice chairman not once, but twice – Gilmour has demonstrated his extraordinary initiative, integrity, organizational excellence and an ability to bring people together in common cause. What matters most to Mr. Gilmour is making a difference to the progress and success of organizations and individuals. A self-proclaimed “numbers guy,” he is having a transformational impact on the university – enhancing academic and personal services to students, improving its national research standing, upgrading its excellent faculty, forming a stronger bond with the community, partnering with business, and strengthening its contributions to the region’s economy. Gilmour also has an exceptional record of service on the boards of many professional and community organizations.
More information on 2012 honorees is featured here:
Kathleen Hatke Aro
Allan D. Gilmour
Videos: 4 Heralded at Shining Light Regional Cooperation Awards
For information on past honorees, please click here.