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A word from our Executive Director, Nancy Maurer  AWord

Leadership Lessons from LOXXVII 
LO Exe Director_s Message

If the opening retreat is any indication, the 27th Leadership Oakland Cornerstone class (LOXXVII) is well on their way in the quest to become the "Best Class ... Ever!!" When they walked into the retreat venue on a Sunday afternoon, they were strangers; by the time they left Tuesday afternoon, an undeniable and inspiring bond between the 52 leaders had emerged.

Each year, Leadership Oakland strives to attract talented, committed and thoughtful leaders from a variety of career paths. This year's Cornerstone class is filled with a diverse range of ages, ethnicities, industries and viewpoints. Meet this year's class here.

In the span of two short days, this newly formed group showed some key leadership traits that helped create their quick team bond:

A Willingness to Step Outside their Comfort Zones to Learn - Great leaders know their development is a lifelong process that requires taking a few risks. Some of the retreat exercises are designed to push participants outside their everyday comfort zones - intellectually and behaviorally. LOXXVII embraced these exercises, even if they didn't understand them at first, which escalated their knowledge of themselves and their classmates.

A Spirit of Openness and Transparency - Mention the word vulnerability to most leaders and you'll see them cringe. Yet, it's one of the top characteristics of great leadership. It was awe-inspiring to watch how quickly LOXXVII trusted and felt safe enough with one another to share their personal viewpoints and struggles in such a short amount of time.

A Strong Desire to Serve - As the group shared the issues they are passionate about - poverty, education, mental health, regional transit, race relations, etc. - it was evident their commitment went beyond their day jobs. They have a true desire to make this region stronger. They are already off and running with the planning of the class Day of Service Project. I can't wait to see what they come up with!

The Cornerstone class comes to the program with an expectation that they will learn and grow ... and that's true. But if the first couple of days with LOXXVII is any indication, we'll all be learning from them, too. 



Register for BOC

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Maureen Monte - Destination Unstoppable
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Sheriff Michael Bouchard - Leading in Times of Chaos
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Young Professionals Panel - The Changing Face of Leadership
The face of leadership is changing as a new generation begins to ascend.  Read More  

Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Joyce Jenereaux - Staying Relevant in a Noisy World
With the world whirling at warped speed most days, how does a leader keep up and stay relevant?   Read More


LOXXVII has completed their 2 day retreat! They are on their way to being our "Best Class ... Ever!!" This year's class is filled with 52 regional leaders representing 30 cities. They are from the corporate, civic and non-profit communities. How did they feel about retreat?

"I was not sure what to expect. Very happy with the diversity of the people, talent, age, backgrounds, education... I look forward to getting to know them all."  - LOXXVII member
Meet Melissa Parks_ LOXXVI
spotlightAlumni Spotlight

Melissa Parks, LOXXVI
Founder, Art&Soul of Oakland County
Art Teacher, Detroit County Day School
What did you think you would get from your Leadership Oakland experience?
I recognize that as an artist and educator, I think differently than most others. I wondered how well I would connect with persons from the corporate world as my life experience was notably different. I have found historically, however, I have grown much through connecting, listening, and learning from other people with their own unique way of interpreting the world. The one character trait we all shared was a passion to achieve and become more. My expectation was that I would create bridges that would allow for new discoveries. Not only could the other participants help me process the world differently, but perhaps I could change how others view their world as well. 

What did you actually get from the experience?
The mere act of surrounding myself with 55 new best friends at the retreat, listening to presentations with staggering statistics, given the opportunity to think about my hopes and dreams for Oakland County and the safety to think BIG allowed me to grow in the classroom as well as develop the skills to carry that experience outside the classroom.  

Although the LOXXVI class - 'Best Class Period', did not select my idea for a Day of Service, I was able to apply the skills I learned to a grand scale initiative called Art&Soul of Oakland County- Every Child is a Work of Art. The mission of my Art&Soul initiative was/is to "increase the rate of adoption for children in the Michigan Oakland County foster care and adoption systems." That mission was achieved by creating a traveling photo exhibit featuring photos of older children, taken by nationally recognized and award winning photographers.

I had supporters in the class to mentor me as I began a personal journey to fulfill my truest passion to not only teach in a classroom but to deliver a message to a community and teach them to SEE the children in our community that are looking for their forever family.

Have you made any changes since your LO graduation? (personally, professionally or in the community/volunteer wise)  
 Absolutely! This idea became a reality and launched in May, 2016. I have a new perspective on life as I can now see how any of us can make an impact on our world. I never would have imagined what this project would have become and the momentum it would generate. None of this would have been possible, and certainly not conceivable, without the support and fertile foundation I received from LO. In essence, my experience with LO gave me permission to think big and dream of possibilities. Starting with Art&Soul of Oakland County, there now is a template to carry this across the state as well as across the country! My LO experience gave me the confidence and the knowledge that any one of us can make a difference!

To learn more about Art&Soul, click here. 

Follow Art&Soul on twitter @ARTandSOULmi
Facebook and Instagram: @everychildisaworkofart

LO Leaders Update

We love sharing how our leaders are growing, inspiring and leading in and around Oakland County. Send all good news to with 'leader update' in the subject.
memberMember News
New Job_

Congratulations to  Michelle Sherman, LOXXVI   for being named the Chief Operating Officer at Southwest Solutions. 

In addition to being the President and Wealth Management Advisor at SCS Capital, LLC,  Stephanie Squires, LOXXV has been named the new Cardinals women's golf coach by the Concordia University Ann Arbor athletic department.

Congratulations to  Michael Silverstein, LOXXIII on his new position as Chief Development Officer at JVS Detroit.
Do you know of a non-profit in need of funding for a unique and transformative project? Are you looking to become more involved in the giving process while making a big impact on the Metro Detroit community? If yes, then you need to learn more about Impact100 Metro Detroit.  Amy Bouque, LOXVIII, is a co-founder of this organization whose goal is to annually award high impact grants to local organizations working within our community. Funding for the grants is provided through its membership of volunteer women interested in being more engaged with the philanthropic process. The 2017 grant application process will begin in January and the grant will be awarded on May 18th, 2017. 

If you are interested in becoming a member or applying for the grant you can learn more at their website: or email Amy direct at 

Rita Fields, LOXX was featured in Crain's Detroit "Rita Fields' journey to TEDxDetroit: From being homeless to becoming an executive." Check our her powerful story and be inspired!

Congratulations to  Treger Strasberg, LOXXVI, Co-Founder of Humble Design for her organization being showcased on the TODAY Show on August 28th. To learn more about the fantastic work they are doing. Visit their website:
Volunteer and Board Opportunities volunteer
Oakland County Parks and Recreation hosts groups of 5-25 individuals from corporate, non-profit, service organizations and schools for stewardship activities throughout the year. Seasonal opportunities include removing invasive plants, lake shoreline cleanup, native seed collection and other habitat restoration efforts. If you are looking for a unique team building opportunity that gets your group outdoors in nature, contact us at or 248-975-9717.
Learn more about the Oakland County Parks at
corporate visibility
Maximize your company's visibility by becoming a Cornerstone, Breakfast of Champions, Taste of  LO or Jr. LO sponsor. We have packages to fit every budget and can work directly with you to ensure that we meet your marketing or community involvement needs.  Contact Susan Hollady at for more information.
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