Leadership Oakland recognizes leaders of leaders

Leadership Oakland recognized exemplary leaders at the 7th Annual Taste of Leadership Oakland held Thursday, March 22, at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham. The year-long Cornerstone program promotes leadership on three levels: personal, professional and public.

"Our graduates make significant leadership contributions and it is time we recognize some of the best of the best" stated Chris Scharrer, Leadership Oakland executive director. " Those that received a Leader of Leaders award were chosen because of their exemplary leadership and contribution to the region. They are an inspiration to all of us!"

This year's award winners are:

--Mike McCormick for his personal leadership. McCormick is the executive director of Fox Run Retirement Community in Novi. Among other things, McCormick was recognized for being a role model for men and boys and runs a basketball program in Birmingham that teaches dads and coaches how to develop healthy young men on and off the court. He has recently authored a book titled "Man Quest."

--Lori Blaker for her professional leadership. Blaker developed a small company originally started in her dad's basement and grew it into a 100 million dollar global training company that employs over 1,500 people around the world. She is recognized by her team as being an inspiration and having "high moral and ethical standards." She was recently a part of the first ever US global trade mission to Afghanistan. Her commitment to her work spills into her community service including spending time volunteering in the Mother Theresa Mission in India. These are just a few of her many accomplishments

--Paul Bryant for his public leadership. Bryant became Plante Moran's first African American partner in 2007 yet some of his most notable accomplishments are those that occur outside of work. For 10 years Bryant has worked with Detroit's Golightly Career and Tech Center in a variety of capacities. He has taught, mentored and provided job shadowing experiences to minority high school and college students and has watched as his mentees have risen to their own educational and professional accomplishments. Additionally, his work with other organizations such as Focus Hope has kept him in regular touch with those he serves.

Other honorees for exemplary leadership include:

* CEO of Kemp and Klein and Pleasant Ridge Mayor Ralph Castelli.

* President and CEO of Community Housing Network Marc Craig.

* Founder and Executive Director of Art Road Carol Hofgartner.

* Co-Founder of the fast growing Robot Garage Sarah Jacobs.

* Baker College President Jeff Love.

* Senior Analyst for the Oakland County Board of Commissioners Sheryl Mitchell.

* Community Educator and Advocate Malkia Newman.

* Director of Career Services, Baker College and Oakland County Commissioner Beth Nuccio.

* Director of Medical Affairs at BCBS of MI, Juanita Savage.

* Talent Management and Diversity Manager for Mercedes Benz Financial Services and President of the Michigan Diversity Council Lora Vinande.

Established in 1990, Leadership Oakland is a 501 (c)(3) organization focused on business and community leadership development. Leadership Oakland is a member of The Community Leadership Association. The organization provides a nine-month community leadership Cornerstone Program to participants from businesses, organizations and governmental agencies that are selected based on an application process.

The organization continues to provide educational and networking opportunities to alumni after graduation from the Cornerstone Program.

Published: Wed, Apr 4, 2012