New Detroit Inc., a racial justice organization, announced Wednesday that Rachel Tronstein Stewart, president of Gardner-White Furniture, has been chosen by the organization’s board as its new chair. Tronstein Stewart succeeds William Taubman, who served as board chair for the past eight years.
Tronstein Stewart has been a member of the New Detroit Board since 2014. She says she accepted the position because of the “unlimited potential” it offers to play a leadership role in creating solutions addressing the racial inequities in the region.
“We need to address the persistent racial gap to keep improving our community,” says Tronstein Stewart. “Everything we do at New Detroit needs to be evaluated through the lens of the impact. We need to be willing to have the uncomfortable conversations with each other that are necessary to address ongoing racial inequities in our community. That’s the whole premise of New Detroit.”
She has played a key leadership role in the strategic planning process at New Detroit and is committed to creating solutions to improve racial understanding and racial equity in the city and region.
As the president of Gardner-White Furniture, a Michigan-based, family-owned and operated furniture retailer since 1912, Tronstein Stewart works alongside both of her parents as the fourth generation of her family at Gardner-White.
Before returning to Detroit to work in the family business, she spent four years at the U.S. Department of Energy working on a solar energy research and development initiative with the goal of driving down the installed cost of solar energy so that it is cost-competitive with traditional forms of electricity by 2020. Before this, Tronstein Stewart worked on the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, where she focused on its clean energy portfolio.
Tronstein Stewart has a Master of Science from the London School of Economics and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.
New Detroit is comprised of leaders from civil rights and advocacy organizations, human services, health and community organizations, business, labor, foundations, education, media, and clergy. It provides an arena where leaders of these groups and organizations come together to plan strategies to address the issue of race and its many manifestations. The coalition works as a catalyst to impact the actions of individuals and institutions by serving in a number of roles: advocate, convener, and facilitator. It is a private, non-profit, tax-exempt organization.