Young Leader Meeting

2021 Young Leader Conference

10:00 AM

Virtual via Zoom

About This Meeting

Tuesday, September 14, 2021 and Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The 2021 Young Leader Conference (YLC) aims to explore the theme “The Power of You – Leadership & Impact Redefined” via a hybrid spin! YOU have the power to impact your life, your career, and the world. So, whether you are just beginning your career or 10 years into it, this will be a meaningful two-day professional development experience filled with energetic keynotes, thought-provoking breakouts, and networking (virtually and in-person). Save the dates, register and invest in your most valuable asset: You!

Speakers & Sessions

The Power of You - Leadership & Impact Redefined


YOU have the power to impact your life, your career, and the world. So, whether you are just beginning your career or 10 years into it, this will be a meaningful two-day professional development experience filled with energetic keynotes, thought-provoking breakouts, and networking (virtually and in-person).

Check out the YouTube Playlist:

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Opening Keynote: Rich Sheridan

Breakout Session: Vance Jackson

Breakout Session: Michelle Acciavatti and Michael Drawhorn

Closing Keynote: Kurt A. David

Rich Sheridan

CEO, Chief Storyteller
Menlo Innovations

Connect with Rich on LinkedIn

TUESDAY OPENING KEYNOTE: Lead With Joy and Watch Your Team Fly!

Change is hard. But you won't create a joyful workplace by leading the way you've always led. In this talk, Rich explores his own journey to joy, focusing on how he had to learn to lead in a completely different way and, by doing so, witnessed results that exceeded his wildest expectations.

In 1903, the Wright Brothers achieved sustained, powered, and manned flight for the first time. Shortly after, Orville Wright was interviewed about the feat and he declared that man would never be able to build a plane capable of carrying more than two people. It would be physically impossible. Rich read that story in a book on a 747 from Detroit to London while flying at 35,000 feet, at 500mph, with 50,000 gallons of fuel on board, with 400 passengers and their luggage in perfect creature comfort.

You, the leader, will need to make change, serious change.

In this talk, Rich will use this example and by analogy, apply it to human teams we are leading. The message is simple: when we finally understand the relevant principles (in flight, or in teams), we can fly to heights and distances that were previously unimaginable. Rich will take you on a journey of change in this talk and bring you to the place he is now - that we stand at the vanguard of understanding what it takes to unleash the human potential of the people who work for us and around us. He will explain how the common, unchanging, disengagement statistics are a fundamental failure of leadership and what simple things we can do to get our teams off the ground and flying.

You will come away energized and inspired. You will want to start you own journey to joy tomorrow! And he will convince you it is within your power to do so. All of these lessons are available to everyone no matter how big their company or how old their organization.

Key Takeaways:

  • Take concrete steps to elevate the human energy in your organization
  • Change how you and your team see the role of a leader
  • Create a culture that embraces change with excitement
  • Move from endless discussion to taking action and "running the experiment"

Session Podcast:



Rich Sheridan, CEO and Chief Storyteller at Menlo Innovations, is a successful entrepreneur and author of two best-selling books—Joy Inc.: How We Built a Workplace People Love and Chief Joy Officer: How Great Leaders Elevate Human Energy and Eliminate Fear. Rich’s passion for inspiring organizations to create their own joy-filled cultures has led him to address audiences across the world—through four continents and 18 countries (and counting) as well as throughout the United States.

What motivates Rich to speak to tens of thousands of people around the world in nearly every setting imaginable? What does he share with his audiences that makes them jump to their feet with enthusiasm and return to their organizations on fire with inspiration? Simply this: joy. More specifically, that joy in your organization is not just possible but essential—essential to profitability, to productivity, to every measure of success.

Rich and his message of joyful leadership have been featured in press outlets ranging from Inc, Forbes and New York magazines to Bloomberg, U.S. News & World Report, NPR’s On Point podcast, NPR’s All Things Considered, and the Harvard Business Review. His videos for organizations such as Gemba Academy, VitalSmarts, and the Arbinger Institute continue to inspire audiences around the world.

Rich doesn’t just talk about joy in the workplace. He lives it every day at Menlo, the custom software and consulting company he co-founded in 2001 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since then, Menlo has received worldwide notice for its unique culture, including recognition by Inc. Magazine as the most joyful company in America. Today people come to Menlo from all over the world—over 22,000 in the past eight years alone - including, for the first time, nearly 2,000 virtual visitors in the last year - to learn about Menlo and how they can create a culture of joy in their own organizations.

Vance Jackson

Social Impact Development Officer Mayor’s Office
Mayor’s Office City of Detroit Office of Development & Grants Management

Connect with Vance on LinkedIn

TUESDAY BREAKOUT SESSION: Vision. Value. Purpose. Passion. It’s Bigger Than Me.

Whether you’re leading in the Boardroom or climbing the corporate ladder—make the role bigger than YOU and your reach will surpass your title.

Key Takeaways:

  • Teaching others how to lead without a title
  • Helping participants discover their ability to influence others through their passion, skill, and gift

Session Podcast:



Vance K. Jackson Jr. has a passion for investing into others and leading in the areas of Business and Philanthropy.

Most recently, Vance was appointed to serve as a National Board Member on the ‘Emerging Leaders Advisory Board (ELAB)’ of Huntington Bank (formerly TCF Bank) a $150 Billion Publicly-Traded Bank where he will advise the Board, Executives, and Senior Leaders on industry insights, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and other strategic national initiatives.

Called to impact and transform communities, Vance K. Jackson holds a Masters of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor and was recently appointed to the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work Alumni Board of Governors as one of the School’s Board Members.

Presently, Vance serves in the City of Detroit Mayor’s Office as a Social Impact Development Officer. In this role, he integrates his background in Government, Corporate, Banking, Finance, and Philanthropy and advises government leaders, corporate executives, and the philanthropic community on the implementation and execution of Mayoral priorities that trigger economic growth for the City of Detroit and the surrounding regions.

In this role, within the Mayor’s Office, he serves on a 5 member Development team that has raised more than $1 Billion Dollars in public, private, philanthropic, and corporate investment to strategically serve the residents of the City of Detroit in the areas of Economic Development, Housing, Business, and other areas.

Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office in 2018, Vance served more than a decade at J.P. Morgan, where his financial career spanned across the breadth of the global bank. In his last role, he served in J.P. Morgan’s Commercial Bank—Middle Market Treasury, where he specialized in constructing Global Treasury solutions for Multi-National Middle Market Corporations with annual revenues ranging from $100 Million - $2 Billion, as a Treasury Analyst of J.P. Morgan’s Michigan Middle Market Treasury Team.

Vance has been fortunate to combine his background in Government, Philanthropy, Banking, and Finance to serve as an Executive Board Member and Global Board Member for several Nonprofit, For-profit, Faith Based, and Leadership Development Organizations in Michigan and throughout the world.

He has worked with and advised executives, political figures, faith-based organizations, nonprofits, and community organizations in various leadership development and organizational capacities.

A frequent speaker on various topics in Social Impact, business, faith, family, finances, and leadership—Vance also leads the University of Michigan Black Alumni (UMBA) Speakers Bureau where he leads more than 200 speakers globally and engages audiences through a number of Leadership Workshops, Speaking Series and Leadership Programs & Initiatives.

One of the many organizations that he has served on was JPMorgan’s Black Organization for Leadership Development (BOLD) where he served as the Chairman for the State of Michigan where he oversaw and advocated for the career advancement of 200+ employees with various Professional and Leadership Development initiatives and community volunteer efforts.

In addition to the local State Position as State Chairman, in he also served as one of the youngest Global Board Members for JPMorgan Black Organization for Leadership Development (BOLD) where he led more than 10,000 employees across the United States, LATAM and EMEA.

He established new chapters in Brazil, LATAM, and in regions across the United States. In this capacity he has helped to start and lead various financial literacy, community, and corporate professional development strategies in order to impact communities across the US and in regions around the world.

A graduate of the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor holding both Masters (MSW) and Bachelors Degrees. A first generation college graduate and oldest of 7, Vance has a passion to see others fulfill and live out their purpose.

A mentor to many throughout government, corporate, and philanthropic community Vance inspires leaders to impact the communities they serve. A Conference Speaker, Pastor, Husband, Father, and Leadership Mentor Vance K. Jackson also serves as an ordained Elder and Assistant Pastor of Word of Life Christian Ministries in Detroit, Michigan.

Vance is married to the love of his life, Nina Jackson, for 12 years. They reside in Detroit, MI with their 1 year old son Vance Jackson III (Tripp).

Michelle Acciavatti

Market Leader - Michigan and Northwest Ohio
Willis Towers Watson

Connect with Michelle on LinkedIn

TUESDAY BREAKOUT SESSION: Brave Conversations for Inclusion, Diversity and Change

Creating a truly inclusive environment and world requires conversations – one at a time. That said, we know that conversations around I&D can be the most difficult to have. We are afraid to say the wrong thing, we are afraid to make people uncomfortable and mostly we are afraid they won’t care or understand. We can’t let the fear of imperfection keep us from trying to advance these crucial conversations.

Key Takeaways:

  • Why it is important to have inclusive and brave conversations
  • How to empower and lead others to develop skills that promote inclusion
  • Tools and tips for how to have them
  • And, we will discuss a few case studies

Session Podcast:



Michelle Acciavatti is the Market Leader for Michigan and NW Ohio for Willis Towers Watson; the first female to hold this role in our 70+ year history. She is also a 22 year wife, a mother of two (one being a Special Olympics Athlete), a Board Chair for Special Olympics of Michigan and a Board member for The Detroit Economic Club and Walsh College. Over her 27 year career at Willis Towers Watson (starting right out of college), Michelle’s positive tenacity has put her on a path to grow from an actuarial analyst to market leader. Her experiences in her career, family and the community shape her every decision. In her role as Market Leader, Michelle created the Michigan Inclusion Network and the Race @ WTW Michigan team which focus on three key areas: Activating Allies and Advocates, Enhancing the Talent Experience for current and future colleagues and Improving our Communities. These groups have successfully led to office-wide training/education and open and honest conversations among our colleagues. In 2019, Michelle was a recipient of the Crain’s Detroit Notable Women in HR Award for her commitment to growth within her organization and in the community. Michelle strives every day to make a difference for her clients, Willis Towers Watson colleagues and the community she lives in.

Michael Drawhorn

Client Relationship Director
Willis Towers Watson

Connect with Michael on LinkedIn

TUESDAY BREAKOUT SESSION: Brave Conversations for Inclusion, Diversity and Change

Creating a truly inclusive environment and world requires conversations – one at a time. That said, we know that conversations around I&D can be the most difficult to have. We are afraid to say the wrong thing, we are afraid to make people uncomfortable and mostly we are afraid they won’t care or understand. We can’t let the fear of imperfection keep us from trying to advance these crucial conversations.

Key Takeaways:

  • Why it is important to have inclusive and brave conversations
  • How to empower and lead others to develop skills that promote inclusion
  • Tools and tips for how to have them
  • And, we will discuss a few case studies

Session Podcast:



Michael Drawhorn is a Senior Director in Willis Towers Watson’s Client Management division, a 29 year husband, a father of two, a youth football coach and an avid race car driver. He has a unique personal path, rich with diversity of career and cultural experiences. Michael grew up in the heart of the south side of Chicago, with humble hard-working parents who kept the callings of mean streets at bay. College came with two degree pursuits – aeronautical engineering and pre-medicine, biology. But, law enforcement was Michael’s calling, and he became an Illinois State Trooper at 20 years old. After 11 years there, Michael had amassed several promotions, and a multitude of roles from street cop, to homicide investigator, to c-suite leader – and had helped countless citizens and colleagues. A Master’s Degree from the Northwestern University Kellogg School became the catalyst for Michael’ second career, when he joined Towers Perrin as a management consultant. The 21 years since has yielded compelling client experiences, many business and geography leadership roles and even a near decade stint running Southeast Asia for the firm. It’s his exposure to people from all walks of life and corners of the globe that shapes him.

Kurt A. David

International Speaker on Sudden Change, Emmy Award Winning TV Host/Producer, Co-Founder of PurposePoint

Connect with Kurt on LinkedIn

TUESDAY CLOSING KEYNOTE: Leading Change - Nine Principles for Development During Sudden Change

We’re all called to lead at some point in our lives whether at the office, home, or in the community. How we perceive ourselves as leaders is the first step in developing ourselves and those we lead into legendary leaders.

Key Takeaways:

  • Hear how people can perceive life through four different lenses and ways it can impact the work environment (morale & productivity)
  • Learn the nine principles acclaimed by the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and New York Times that will grow your leadership
  • How to coach your managers to recognize employees’ perceptions and improve their leadership skills

Session Podcast:



Kurt A. David is the creator and host of the Emmy Award Winning TV show and best-selling book, "From Glory Days" which interviews Hall of Fame and World Champion former professional athletes about their successful transition into life after pro sports.

Following Kurt's life as a professional basketball player, he re-created his successes by discovering five keys for navigating Sudden Change.

These same 5 R.U.L.E.S., as he calls them, propelled Kurt like rocket fuel into the next successful phases of his life as an Emmy Award Winning TV Show Host/Producer; Acclaimed Author of two books; owner of Glory Days Productions which creates television shows and movies; Co-Founder of PurposePoint.com which is a professional development organization that inspires individual and organizational Purpose; and Board of Director of a $300+ million credit union.

Kurt's implementation of these 5 R.U.L.E.S. with others has proven they're immediately applicable to highly-successful organizations facing sudden change and he’s presented these 5 R.U.L.E.S. to hundreds of companies including the leadership of AMCOR (world's largest packaging company), MORPACE (international marketing company), BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD (insurance company in 190 countries), doctors, attorneys, financial institutions, governmental agencies, military, and many more.

The results of sharing this knowledge included:

  • Healthier Leader Relations
  • Improved Productivity
  • Engaged Workforce
  • Swifter Transition
  • Improved Morale

Despite an extremely busy schedule, Kurt believes it is important to give back and does so by volunteering his time and resources to numerous local, national, and international charities.

Program Titles (45 to 90-minute keynote or 3-hour workshop format)


LEADING CHANGE – 9 Principles for Leader Development During Transition

COMMUNICATING CHANGE – 8 Vital Keys During Rapid Change

*Currently providing professionally produced virtual engagements*

Find out more at: www.KurtDavid.com

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Opening Keynote: Walter Ward III

Breakout Session: Nathalie Osborn

Closing Keynote Powered by MotorCity Casino Hotel: Jan Griffiths

Walter Ward III

Chief of Staff
Lambert & Co.

Connect with Walter on LinkedIn


Problems are all around us. The best leaders personally and professionally know how to understand a problem by deconstructing it, restructuring it and then articulating a problem-solving approach.

Key Takeaways:

  • How to identify the “real” problem
  • How to deconstruct and reconstruct a problem
  • Drafting a problem statement
  • How to choose a plan of attack

Session Podcast:



Walter Ward is Chief of Staff at Lambert & Co., a top-10 investor relations and top-40 PR firm nationally, that specializes in public relations, investor relations and integrated marketing. For more than 20 years, Lambert has partnered with clients across the globe to build brand awareness, drive sales and scale business.

In addition to his role at Lambert, Ward is Chief Financial Officer at Tiicker, a web-based/app software startup that engages, verifies and rewards retail investors.

In these multi-faceted roles, Ward spearheads the execution of strategic initiatives, empowers the internal business and finance operation teams, and assists with new business strategy and growth associated with product innovation as well as Mergers & Acquisitions.

Bringing a balanced background of creative and operational management skills, Ward also supports Lambert’s growing family of companies, including EQUALSIGN, Camber Engage and 9thWonder.

Prior to joining Lambert, Ward worked in the Washington D.C. office of management consulting firm MorganFranklin where he most recently led two multi-million-dollar credit card technology transformation projects for a $350 billion bank, overseeing technical teams, stakeholder management and communications. Before that, he provided strategic execution counsel to a number of large-scale financial service firms as a management consultant for BTS, USA in New York.

Ward also worked for one of the largest healthcare insurance providers where he was responsible for the redesign and management of the company’s enterprise performance dashboard process for the offices of the Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors.

Additionally, Ward is an entrepreneur. He founded The Mobile Business School in 2017 as online platform to provide general business skills to underserved communities. At its height, TMBS had over 5000 students before transitioning to an in-person workshop format in 2019. Today, Ward is also workshop facilitator and conference speaker, working with organizations such as Ford Motor Company’s Ford Fund, Tech Stars Detroit Start-up Week and The United Negro College Fund’s Koch Scholar Program to name a few.

Ward has a Master of Business Administration degree from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in Atlanta and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in advertising from Michigan State University.

Nathalie Osborn

Founder & Chief Energizer | Positively Powered Professional Development

Connect with Nathalie on LinkedIn

WEDNESDAY BREAKOUT SESSION: Reclaim Your Power | A Personal Energy Fuel-up

Our personal energy is one of our most powerful resources, and our capacity to be happy, productive and successful is driven by how well we can renew and recharge our own personal energy.

Based on her Ignite Your Leadership chapter “Powering Personal Energy – the ‘kW’ of Energized Leadership,” this interactive session designed to help you reclaim your power to fuel success, unplug stress & energize a life you love.

Key Takeaways:

  • Why it’s more important to manage your energy vs. time
  • 3 Simple “kW” to energize your life
  • How to reclaim your power
  • How to “ohm” your full potential
  • 5 ways to renew & recharge your energy

Session Podcast:



Nathalie Osborn is the Chief Energizer of her own leadership development company and co-author of the international bestseller, Ignite your Leadership, where she is focused on positively powering industry professionals to energize lives and careers they love!

For over 20 years, she’s been focused on the energy of all things – buildings, people and organizations, and she’s come to learn that our personal energy is our most powerful and renewable resource. Nathalie used The Success Principles to power an accomplished career in the energy industry where she helped implement over $500M in energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability programs.

Nathalie is a Certified Canfield Success Principles Trainer, and FranklinCover Facilitator, who is now transforming the energy industry with Positively Powered Professional Development programs by sharing how proven strategies, similar to how we power our homes and buildings, empower more efficient, productive, energized leaders.

You can learn more about Nathalie and connect with her at www.nathalieosborn.com.

Jan Griffiths

President & Founder
Gravitas Detroit

Connect with Jan on LinkedIn


Gravitas is the hallmark of authentic leadership; we’ll explore what authentic leadership is all about, why it’s needed now more than ever and what YOU can do to make it happen and lead with Gravitas.

Key Takeaways:

  • Why it’s time to break the mold of corporate leadership
  • What it takes to be an authentic leader
  • Examples of successful authentic leaders (taken from my podcast interviews)

Session Podcast:



Jan Griffiths is the President and Founder of Gravitas Detroit, a company committed to transform the work experience by breaking the mold of corporate leadership. Gravitas is the hallmark of authentic leadership – it encompasses all the traits of authentic leadership.

Armed with the skills she learned in the Welsh farmlands and a degree from the University of Wales, Jan moved to the United States at 23. She quickly made her mark and rose through the corporate ranks, ultimately serving as Chief Procurement Officer for a $3 billion, Tier-1 global automotive supplier. Her success in the position helped earn a spot on Automotive News’ list of the 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry.

For all her success in the automotive space, Jan’s true passions have always been for driving change and inspiring professional leaders. This passion drove her to transition into a second career at Gravitas Detroit. In this role, Jan brings compelling energy to industry, professional, and educational events. She’s already proven a success earning awards like Corp Magazine’s MVP Entrepreneur Award and sharing the stage with notable thought leaders including Carly Fiorina and Dr. Janet Yellen.

In January 2020, Jan launched the Finding Gravitas podcast where she interviews some of the finest authentic leadership minds in the quest for Gravitas, recent guests include:-

  • Andy Palmer, former CEO of Aston Martin & COO of Nissan
  • Tim Fiore, CPO of Ryder Systems
  • Warren Harris, CEO of Tata Technologies
  • Jason Stein, VP & Publisher, Automotive News

Jan stays active in the community serving on the Global Supply Chain Management Advisory Board at Wayne State University and the Automotive Women’s Association.

Jan likes to seize the day as an early-morning workout junkie and shares her passion for early mornings with the creation of The Accountability Lab, born out of the struggle of the Pandemic, it provides a supportive community for all members to achieve their goals.

Thank you to our 2021 Young Leader Conference Sponsors!

2021 DEC Young Leader Conference Sponsors: Platinum: MotorCity Casino Hotel Additional: American Axle & Manufacturing, Barton Malow, Delta Dental of Michigan, Detroit Regional Chamber, DTE Energy, Emagine Entertainment, Fifth Third Bank, General Motors, Henry Ford Health System, ITC Holdings Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lawrence Technological University, NBS Commercial Interiors, PNC Bank, Rush Group, Urban Science

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Closing Session Powered by MotorCity Casino Hotel and Networking Reception

Photos by Rob Widdis