Mike Ilitch School of Business Launches Leadership and Diversity Initiative


The Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University has launched the Institute for Leadership and Diversity, which will serve as a platform within the school that holds meetings and conducts research on increasing diversity in business, and works to strengthen relationships with businesses in Detroit.

 “Our main focus is on engagement with the business community,” says Toni Somers, associate dean at the Mike Ilitch School of Business and co-founder of the institute. “If you’re looking for leadership or education on how to improve the diversity in your workforce, we want you to come to us.”

The institute will offer classes and summer camps in the local community and the business school to foster the growth of leadership and diversity.

Somers says the institute was a natural fit for the Mike Ilitch School of Business because of the leadership classes already present at the school.

 “We had already been doing events and activities as well as training and education for companies, and we thought we’d consolidate all of that under this platform where we can reach out and continue to connect to Detroit businesses and the community,” she says.  

 Currently, the Institute for Leadership and Diversity’s research is focused on women in the workforce. Next spring, the institute is planning on holding an on-campus event for Committee of 200, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that works to integrate more women into business.  

 Wayne State University recently broke ground on the future site of its Mike Ilitch School of Business, which will open in 2018 and offer an updated facility as well as the connection of Midtown and downtown Detroit. The project is being funded by a $40 million gift from Mike and Marian Ilitch, the largest donation in the university’s history.