Gov. Whitmer announces new cabinet members and staff

LANSING —Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently announced Marlon Brown will lead the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) as its permanent director and Suzanna Shkreli was selected to serve as commissioner at the Michigan Bureau of State Lottery. The governor also announced additional promotions and hires within the executive office.  

Brown will serve as the director at LARA, after seven months in the acting director role. Prior, Brown was the chief administrative officer (CAO) overseeing the central services of the department including communications, finance and administration, human resources, policy and legislative affairs, and equity and inclusion initiatives. As CAO, he worked to develop and implement strategic priorities, policies, and procedures for the department. Brown also served as director of LARA's Office of Policy and Legislative Affairs. Brown has a long history of public service, including previous roles with the Michigan Supreme Court, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and the State Budget Office.

Brown earned a bachelor's degree in political science from American University, a master's degree in public administration from the University of Delaware, and a doctorate in public administration from Valdosta State University.  

This appointment is subject to advice and consent of the Senate.

Shkreli will serve as commissioner of the Lottery as a member of Governor Whitmer’s cabinet, effective March 1. She currently serves as the Director of Juvenile Justice Reform at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. In that role, Shkreli focuses on addressing the systemic and persistent issues with the juvenile justice system and implementation of recommendations made by the Juvenile Justice Task Force. Through her efforts, nearly 100 additional placements were secured over the past year for juvenile justice youth and the State of Michigan is set to receive $850,000 in federal grant funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice Detention and Prevention (OJJDP) to help Michigan move forward in reform efforts. She also currently serves as a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect where she chairs the training subcommittee on child fatality protocol development.     

Prior to joining MDHHS, Shkreli served as Michigan’s Children’s Ombudsman and worked as deputy legal counsel in the Executive Office of the Governor. Before joining state government, she served as an assistant prosecuting attorney with the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office. Shkreli is a graduate of Oakland University and Thomas M. Cooley Law School.  

Governor Whitmer announced additional promotions and hires within the legal, policy, and appointments divisions in the executive office.

Shelia Marshall-Curtis serves as chief compliance officer in the executive office. She has more than a decade of experience in compliance and auditing in the private and public sectors, holding positions at IAV Automotive Engineering, Toyota Motor North America, Archdiocese of Detroit, and the State of Michigan.

She received her J.D. from Wayne State University Law School and holds a Bachelor of Science in Organization Administration from Central Michigan University.   

Vignesh Meyyappan has joined the executive office as an associate legal counsel. He brings experience in government, serving in the New York City Mayor’s Office of Contract Services and in the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General. Meyyappan previously worked as an associate at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. He received his J.D. from Vanderbilt Law School and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.   

Stephanie O’Dea was promoted to senior education advisor after serving as the governor’s K-12 policy advisor for the last two years. She served for 19 years as a high school teacher and K-12 administrator in several school districts across?the state, and as the associate superintendent of instruction at Montcalm Area Intermediate School District.?She was elected to the General Education Leadership Network executive board, previously serving as the chair. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Spring Arbor University, a secondary teaching certificate, a K-12 administrative certificate and a?Master of Public Administration?from the University of Michigan- Flint.

Emma Young was promoted to policy analyst – specializing in early learning and higher education. She has been with the executive office for over two and a half years, previously serving as the policy assistant. Prior to this she worked as an issue specialist in the governor’s Constituent Services Division. From that position, she worked on constituent concerns regarding public health and financial assistance. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social relations and policy and international relations with a minor in Arabic from Michigan State University.  

Jayla Irons joined the executive office as a policy assistant. She brings experience in research as an analyst intern at MSU-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative. She graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.

Joseph Timmer has been hired as a specialist within the governor’s Appointments Division. He is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in public policy with a focus on political communication and policy framing. While in college, Timmer volunteered on a number of political campaigns and served as a legislative and constituent services intern for state Representative Mari Manoogian.