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Chanell Scott Contreras, Executive Director of ProsperUS

Chanell Scott Contreras - Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives - ProsperUS Detroit

Driven by her empathetic nature and passion for entrepreneurs of color, Chanell is deeply committed to increasing economic equity throughout Detroit. As the Executive Director of ProsperUS, she collaborates with a rich network of partners to strategically grow and develop training, business services, and microlending for underserved entrepreneurs in Detroit’s neighborhoods.

Prior to joining ProsperUS, Chanell worked on a range of community and economic development initiatives with organizations such as Kiva in Detroit and the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland. She refined her skills in economic development as a National Urban Fellow at The Cleveland Foundation while completing a Master of Public Administration at Baruch College of the City University of New York. Before Chanell pursued a career in community economic development, she was a small business owner working to help independent producers of fair-trade and eco-friendly products market and grow their own small businesses.

Chanell’s commitment to equity and inclusion was strengthened during her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan and is rooted in the beautiful diversity of her friends and extended family. In her free time, Chanell is often playing outside or enjoying cultural events with her family, buying another pair of earrings, or listening to NPR.

Joanna Dueweke-Pérez, Director of Operations & Programs

Joanna Dueweke-Pérez prides herself on being a dedicated lifelong learner who believes empathetic leadership develops resilient organizations rooted in the values of its community. Most recently, she directed the Systems Innovation team at TechTown Detroit where she was responsible for an equity-focused strategy for the organization’s systems, data, and processes. Before working at TechTown, Joanna had the privilege of serving as the Program Manager of ProsperUS when it was a project of Southwest Economic Solutions. She was a member of Detroit Equity Action Lab’s Racial Equity Fellowship in 2020, has her Master’s in Library and Information Science from Wayne State University, and volunteers with Southwest Detroit Restaurant Week.

Joanna is grateful to live in Detroit with her family. When she’s not engaged in community economic development projects, she is spending time outdoors, skateboarding at Dequindre Cut, paddleboarding in the Detroit River, or collecting more books for her ever-growing “to read” list.

Matthew Bihun, Senior Loan Officer

matthewbihun2-bwA barstool intellectual with a master’s degree in small talk, Matthew Bihun joined the ProsperUS Detroit Micro-Loan Program in the winter of 2013. Matthew’s first task was to create the model, infrastructure, and processes for a loan program, specifically designed to serve the capital needs of low-income, minority, and immigrant entrepreneurs. Since then, ProsperUS Detroit has loaned over $500,000 in micro-loans to 28 entrepreneurs. Matthew believes that developing honest and high-touch relationships with borrowers is critical to mitigating risk, creating personal and family wealth, and promoting profitable businesses.

Outside of ProsperUS, Matthew is a co-owner of UFO Factory in Corktown, an art and performance space that also serves as a bar and restaurant. Matthew enjoys purchasing and rehabbing turn of the century houses in Detroit’s historic neighborhoods, taking Chris Butterfield’s predictable curveball deep (playing baseball), and traveling. He is on a quest to visit all 59 National Parks in the next five years. His best pal is Miles, his dog.

 

 

Andrew Kaplowitz, Program Manager

Like many Michiganders, Andrew [He/Him] appreciates A Primer by Bob Hicok, going for a dip in the lake, and a fresh blanket of snow.

Andrew works as the Program Manager at ProsperUS and helps run the Entrepreneur Training Program. Some other highlights from Andrew’s entrepreneurial experience include helping grow LOUD in Chicago, volunteering in Nicaragua with Peace Corps’ Entrepreneurship Training program, and his ongoing freelance creative work.

Although he is an avid traveler, Andrew loves Detroit and seeks every opportunity to grow with the community. Andrew spends his free time expressing his creativity in any way possible, most frequently through photography.

 

 

 

Emeric Dongmo, Portfolio Manager

Emeric Magloire Dongmo Tsakem is a finance professional with over 10 years of experience in the industry. Emeric was born and raised in Africa, where he obtained a Master degree in Banking and Finance from the International Relations Institute of Cameroon. He has always been passionate about helping vulnerable people improve their economic and social well-being. His served as portfolio manager, National Loan officer and District Manager with Afriland First bank, Unity Cooperative Society LLC, and CEFAC Yaoundé.  In 2014, he moved to the United States of America, and he intends to fully contribute to his new community. With ProsperUS Detroit, Emeric hopes to apply his background and skills in a deep and meaningful way. There is already a great connection between his personal aspirations to serve the less privileged and the mission of ProsperUS and he is excited to inspire and support the Detroit community via his work at ProsperUS.

Shannon Warren, Program Coordinator

Shannon joins the ProsperUS team with a background in customer service, sales, and office administration. While pursuing a degree in Business Administration, she decided that Hospitality Management would be a closer fit to who she is personally. Shannon believes life experiences have been her best teacher and further fueled her concerns for the community. As a member of Detroit Action, she seeks to make a difference in the areas of domestic violence, affordable housing, liveable wages for the working class, criminal justice reform and programs for returning citizens. With a passion for music, reference to being a mermaid and the serenity of water, is there any wonder that her favorite summertime hangout is the Aretha Franklin Amphitheater (formerly known as Chene Park)? This mother of three is striving to create a legacy for her family that will incorporate her love of cooking, entertaining and event planning.

 

 

Suzanne Cleage, Graduate Advisor

Suzanne Cleage, a graduate of Spelman College, has decades of experience in program design and implementation, creating training manuals and workshops, facilitating focus groups, needs assessments and feasibility studies. She has created programs in both non-profit and for-profit industries. She has provided program oversight and management for the day-to-day operations and services related to education, health and wellness, youth development, entrepreneurial development, neighborhood building and community organizing.

Suzanne’s strongest attributes are one-on-one relationship building, nurturing and coaching that has been provided in creating national and statewide service provider networks, supervising staff either remotely, across the United States or locally. Her ability to connect and relate to people from all walks of life is reflected in the effective way in which she communicates and engages.

Her experience also encompasses event planning, coordination and logistics. Examples include but not limited to; retail pop-ups for entrepreneurs, educational programs celebrating Juneteenth, election night watch parties, fashion shows and other community events and celebrations.

The mission and vision of Suzanne’s work has always been framed around solution-focused initiatives that work to improve the quality of life of others and assist others in maximizing their dreams.

 

Emily Sioma, Executive Assistant

After a decade in the service industry and almost two decades of being bossy – she started young – Emily joins the ProsperUs team with an appreciation for organization and “making things happen.” Emily comes from a background in advocacy and activism, most recently working with Planned Parenthood of Michigan to organize their LGBTQIA constituency during the 2020 elections. She also spent her year of service as Miss Michigan 2018 advocating for survivors of sexual violence and raising awareness to the water crisis facing Michigan residents.

As a small business owner herself, Emily knows the value of community and industry-based mentorships and support. So, when she’s not in the office, you’ll find her sourcing vintage goods for her next pop-up shop and connecting with other small business owners over coffee or a cocktail.

 

 

 

 

Tiffany Gist, Financial Coach

Tiffany is a 2nd Year Americorps States member. She decided to continue her quest for community give-back by joining ProsperUs Detroit as a Financial Coach. Here she will help cultivate entrepreneurs and
prepare them with the financial knowledge they need to successfully build their brands and businesses. Her core principles consist of Accountability, Empowerment, and Oriented Planning.

She brings with her an innate sense of compassion, understanding, and a burning desire to help others in need accomplish their dreams. Volunteering since a child, St Christine Catholic school is where she
started her lifelong dedication of helping those less fortunate and in despair. To uplift and empower people with the Financial Tools/ Skills necessary to be successful is her mission!

She is a divorced mommy of 3 brilliant scholars who loves the sun, the beach, and more sun!!! In her spare time, she is an avid reader (current read: Becoming Supernatural, Dr. Joe Dispenza), gardener, and loves
to cook! She also double dutches, volunteers with various community organizations, and plans to open a Transitional Housing facility that provides wraparound support to women/ families in need.

 

 

Para una descripción general de ProsperUS Detroit en español, visite la página.

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