DBusiness Daily Update: Travelogue Follows Detroit Native’s Journeys Around the World, and More

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Detroit native Jessica Nabongo is the first Black woman on record to visit all 195 UN-recognized countries. // Courtesy of National Geographic
Detroit native Jessica Nabongo is the first Black woman on record to visit all 195 UN-recognized countries. // Courtesy of National Geographic

Travelogue Follows Detroit Native’s Journeys Around the World

Detroit native Jessica Nabongo is the first Black woman on record to visit all 195 United Nations-recognized countries. Her adventures are chronicled in “The Catch Me If You Can: One Woman’s Journey to Every Country in the World” slated for release June 14 from National Geographic.

“My goal is to expand people’s understanding of the globe and make it more accessible to everyone,” explains Nabongo. “This book is a collection of countries that make my heart smile. I hope my stories make you laugh, cry, and ultimately think differently about the world in which we live.”

A first generation American, Nabongo was born and raised in Detroit by Ugandan parents. “The Catch Me If You Can” documents Nabongo’s experiences, including swimming with humpback whales in Tonga; a scooter accident in Nauru, the world’s least visited country; horseback riding and learning to lasso with Black cowboys in Oklahoma; dog sledding in Finland; a late-night adventure with strangers to cross the border between Guinea-Bissau and Guinea; and much more.

More than anything, her story, featuring 416 pages and 300 photographs, is about the kindness of strangers — from the people who supported her journey on social media to those she met along the way, ones who opened their homes, tables, and hearts to her.

In addition to anecdotes from destinations like Peru and South Africa, the book also includes tales from far-flung corners and seldom visited locations, including North Korea, Tuvalu, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic.

Nabongo flips the script, showing that off-the-radar destinations can be just as welcoming, safe, and remarkable as tried-and-true favorites. Her stories are love letters to diversity, beauty, and culture — and, most of all, to the people she meets along the way.

“I have visited the world’s 195 countries and 10 territories, and I came away with two key lessons,” she says. “First, most people are good. Second, we are more similar than we are different. I hope what other Black people see from my story is that you should feel comfortable traveling anywhere you want to go. My journey is about showing everyone, not just Black women and men, that your dreams are achievable.”

The book is available for pre-sale here.

Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance Marks One-year Anniversary

The Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance (MDBBA) is marking what it calls a successful one-year anniversary.

MDBBA officially launched March 19, 2021. Since the launch MDBBA has experienced exponential growth and provided programming and resources to its members and the metro Detroit Black business community. Highlights of the successful first year include:

  • Launch and implementation of four key programs — Black Business Resource Center, Capital Connect, BizWiz, and Hastings St. Index.
  • Capital Connect has generated more than $1.8 million in funding.
  • Advocacy meetings with local and state legislators advocating for funding for small businesses.

In celebration of its one-year anniversary, MDBBA will release its Annual Report on March 19.

MDBBA also will mark the occasion on March 20 at Cutter’s Bar Grill (2638 Orleans St. in Detroit), beginning with an all-member meeting at 3 p.m., and a party from 4-6 p.m.

The organization also will host a Women in Business Event in partnership with Michigan Women Forward featuring Alexis Dishman as the guest speaker on March 23 at 1 p.m. The next installment of its Truth to Power series featuring Michigan State Senators Sylvia Santana and Joe Tate on Friday, March 25 at 9 a.m.

Additionally, Bank of America, will also provide a 50 percent discount for potential new members to join by using the special discount code BIRTHDAY.

“Grateful is the first word that comes to mind when I think about this whirlwind year for MDBBA,” says Charity Dean, president and CEO of MDBBA. “Humbled and honored are the next two words that come to mind. From the support of major corporations such as Huntington Bank who committed $1 million dollars and establishing a five-year partnership with us, to our board members and staff who help make sure we are a top-notch organization adhering to our mission and values, and to our members who support us and trust us to serve as advocates on their behalf.”

Registration and memberships can be conducted at mdbba.com is required for the annual meeting, celebration party, Women in Business, and Truth to Power series. New membership purchases with the 50 percent discount begin on March 20.

Virtual Career Fair Connects Interns and Hiring Companies March 23

Ann Arbor SPARK is hosting a Michigan STEM Forward virtual career fair from 4-7 p.m. on March 23 to connect the state’s growing companies with interns.

Thirty-four companies from around the state are participating in search of interns to join their teams this upcoming summer. All college students seeking a STEM-focused internship in Michigan are encouraged to attend.

Attendees will have the opportunity to virtually meet one-on-one with human resources representatives from hiring companies. As part of the registration process, attendees also will have the chance to upload their resumes for the companies to review in advance of and after the event.

“Since it launched in April 2021, Michigan STEM Forward has placed over 190 interns at nearly 100 companies throughout the state,” says Bill Mayer, senior vice president of entrepreneurial services at Ann Arbor SPARK. “Going into this career fair, Michigan STEM Forward has a strong tailwind in terms of its track record of connecting intern candidates with terrific opportunities at leading companies across the state. For students and companies alike, participating in Michigan STEM Forward is a really effective use of time and resources to match job seekers with a job opportunity.”

For more information or to register, visit here.

Doner Agency Named to Ad Age A-List for 2022

Doner, the Detroit-based advertising agency, has been named to the Ad Age 2022 A-List and Creativity Awards as an Agency Standout.

This category recognizes U.S.-based advertising agencies or agency networks that have displayed exceptional business success and growth, developed high quality work, and demonstrated leadership, innovation, and culture in the industry.

Doner counts among its clients Stellantis, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Amazon, JBL, and others. Standout work included a Super Bowl spot for Jeep featuring Bruce Springsteen that sparked global conversation, an effort called #EczemaEquality for Aveeno Baby that is reversing an inequity in BIPOC representation in baby skin care in online searches, and the launch of JBL’s special edition headphones designed by reigning NBA MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The agency also became a destination for top industry talent and expanded its U.S. footprint by introducing the Doner Chicago Talent Hub.

“A-List recognition is a great honor, one we share with all 400+ Doner employees and our client partners alike,” says David DeMuth, CEO of Doner. “And while A-List recognizes our 2021 achievements, this is truly the result of years of growth, attracting top talent and creating an inclusive agency culture, driven by creativity and committed to our clients’ success.”

Kroger Launches 4x Fuel Point Gift Card Promotion Through March 22

The Kroger Co. of Michigan has launched an initiative to reward shoppers with four times fuel points on gift card purchases.

Customers can purchase gift cards from their local Kroger store to accommodate springtime shopping, dining, and more to save money at the gas pump. Now through March 22, customers can earn four times fuel points on most gift cards purchased when they download the digital coupon available in-store, on the Kroger app, or here. That means a $25 gift card would be worth 100 fuel points.

“We know many shoppers purchase gift cards to use like cash when dining out or shopping in other locations,” says Rachel Hurst, corporate affairs manager for the Kroger Co. of Michigan. “This promotion offers a great way to save on fuel at the same time. For every 100 fuel points earned, customers can receive .10 off per gallon at any Kroger Fuel Center.”

Kroger continues to offer everyday savings on fuel by providing one fuel point for every dollar spent on groceries, 25 points for every qualifying prescription, as well as two times fuel points on select gift cards.

Motor City Cruise to Debut Pink Uniforms for Breast Cancer Awareness

The Motor City Cruise, the G League affiliate of the Detroit Pistons, announced they will debut a new custom uniform for their game against the Greensboro Swarm at 3 p.m. on March 20.

Teaming up with Henry Ford Health System, Huntington Bank, and Game On Cancer, Cruise players will wear full pink uniforms that pay homage to those close to them who have endured a battle with breast cancer.

The name on the back of their respective jersey will be changed to a special person who has been affected by breast cancer in their life. Following the game, the jerseys will be gifted to the players’ honoree or the family members associated with their uniform. In addition, a portion of the proceeds for every ticket sold will be donated to Game On Cancer.

“Having the opportunity to help in the fight against breast cancer and honor those who have been directly affected is something we take great pride in,” says Rob Murphy, president and general manager of the Motor City Cruise. “The custom-designed uniforms symbolize power, strength, and resilience, and we are honored to have the chance to play for the names on the back of the jerseys.”

Public invited to Free College Week at Washtenaw Community College

Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor will open its virtual classroom doors to the public during Free College Week April 4-8.

All residents of Washtenaw County and beyond are invited to attend the more than 60 free classes designed for audiences from kindergarten through senior citizens.

WCC faculty members will teach classes from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. on topics including:

  • Automotive/Advanced Transportation
  • Broadcast/Radio/TV
  • Business/Entrepreneurship
  • Careers/Professional Development
  • Computers/IT
  • Cooking
  • Education and College Success
  • Fine/Digital/Visual/Performing Arts
  • Health/Safety/Wellness/Fitness
  • Financial Planning
  • Senior Citizens
  • Sustainability

Visit the Free College Week webpage to register for free Zoom classes here.