Thirteen years ago, I had the amazingly good fortune to be asked to lead a research study and strategy planning effort to better understand immigration and the regional economy, funded by the New Economy Initiative, Detroit Regional Chamber and Skillman Foundation. We did not, at that time, expect this effort to grow into a full-fledged organization—rather, the intent was to incubate initiatives and find the right homes for them. Ultimately, though, it became clear that Southeast Michigan needed a dedicated organization focused full time on immigrant inclusion. Global Detroit has proven to be one of the most meaningful endeavors I have had the privilege to pursue in my nearly 30-year policy and public service career.
Today, Global Detroit is a nationally recognized leader advocating for and executing strategies to drive equitable local, regional and statewide economic growth through immigrant inclusion. In addition to helping launch ProsperUS Detroit, the Detroit Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and another half dozen major regional immigrant inclusion initiatives, we lead a number of important programs of our own. These include the nation’s first international student retention program; a Global Entrepreneurs in Residence (Global EIR) program for foreign-born startup founders; Welcoming Michigan, which has made our state home to more welcoming cities and counties than any other state in America; and our Opportunity Neighborhoods program, connecting residents and business owners in Detroit’s immigrant neighborhoods to resources to help them thrive. I feel confident in saying that Global Detroit is one of the nation’s premier economic development organizations focused on immigrants and global talent and that we make significant, life-changing contributions to the hundreds of individuals we serve annually.
So, it is with a mix of emotions that I announce that I will be stepping down as Global Detroit’s executive director. In August 2021, as the pandemic continued, my family and I relocated from Detroit to the San Francisco Bay Area. I have continued to lead Global Detroit remotely, and will remain in my role until a new leader is hired.
We are launching our search for Global Detroit’s next executive director today. You can find the job posting here. Please share it with your networks and, especially, with dynamic leaders who believe, as we do, that immigrant inclusion is essential to Southeast Michigan’s future.
I look forward to working with the next Executive Director on a smooth transition and to continuing to work for Global Detroit on specific projects where my labor and expertise can help advance the organization, its work, and our city and region. Over the course of my career, I have had the satisfaction of handing off several other nonprofit organizations and watching those organizations grow and blossom with new leadership. I am confident that great things are in store for Global Detroit.
I am incredibly grateful for the stellar Global Detroit team; our wonderfully committed board of directors; and to you, our donors, supporters and partners. It has been an absolute joy working with all of you to guide Global Detroit as we grew from a study and plan to a national expert on immigrant inclusive economic development. So, I hardly feel this is a goodbye, but, rather, an invitation to join Global Detroit as we enter this next chapter of our groundbreaking work and impact.
– Steve Tobocman