Niles Heron

Niles Heron is a founder, entrepreneur, consultant, and advisor. As a founding partner of Michigan Funders (Michigan’s first homegrown intrastate equity crowdfunding platform), and business development consultant, Niles spends his days working to develop the capital.

Mentoring interests: Business development, investment strategy, startup coaching, consulting.

Amanda Lewan

Amanda Lewan is an entrepreneur and award-winning writer. She is Co-founder of Bamboo Detroit, the city's largest co-working community. She is founder and editor of Michipreneur, a regional digital publication on entrepreneurship and innovation. Amanda is inspired to build creative communities and tell stories that unite others. 

Mentoring interests: Marketing, community building / engagement, social media 

Nicole Mangis

Committed to supporting those who seek to better themselves and their communities through entrepreneurship.
As the founder of Launch Exchange,  Nicole works with startup companies and nonprofits to help them enterprise their missions by connecting them to the community and lowering barriers to resources.
Mentoring interests: Social entrepreneurship, sustainable business planning, idea creation.

Jill Ford

As Mayor Duggan’s Special Advisor, Jill Ford heads the City of Detroit’s innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives. Jill chose to come to Detroit from the San Francisco Bay Area, where as an Angel Investor and Advisor she transformed emerging businesses using strategies forged in mobile gaming. A global citizen, Jill ran a company in Ghana that discovered, developed, and funded new entrepreneurs and she has traveled to more than 15 countries.

Areas of mentorship: financing, strategy, cash flow planning, marketing/sales, board development

Justin Cook

Justin a social entrepreneur from Detroit dedicated to improving outcomes for our youth. His current project is Pro:Up, where he serves as the Co-Founder and Marketing VP. A Saginaw Valley State graduate, Justin also cares about health, civil rights, politics, and social services.
Areas of mentorship: Creative development, sales, team building, strategy, youth mentoring.

Lauren Hood

Lauren Hood specializes in ecosystem development with a strong focus on a community engagement. She is the newly installed director of Live6, a nonprofit planning and development organization whose mission is to enhance quality of life and economic opportunity in Northwest Detroit.

Areas of mentorship: Community engagement, ecosystem development, racial equity, public speakings



Shannon Smith

Shannon is an experienced associate with a demonstrated history of working in the financial services industry. Shannon is a Crain's 30 Under 30 awardee and was names one of 14 people who are changing the face of Detroit.

Mentorship interests: Corporate Social Responsibility, Operations Management, Market Research, Macroeconomic research and Policy Analysis.

David Tarver

David Tarver currently serves as founder and President of the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative. David is a highly successful technology business executive with an incredible entrepreneurial journey and amazing success in corporate R&D, technology business startup, and social entrepreneurship. In 1983, David launched Telecom Analysis Systems, Inc., a high-tech telecommunications instrumentation business. In 2012, he published the book “Proving Ground: A Memoir.”

Areas of mentorship: startup, technology, organization development, community discovery

Jami Polk

Jami Polk is an executive director and entrepreneur with a decade long career in the human service industry.  Jami is a native of Detroit, Michigan, whose experience with homelessness, and poverty gave her the passion to assist women to achieve greater career and financial success.

Areas of mentorship:  community service/programming, social entrepreneurship, community resource access


Devon O'Reilly

Devon O’Reilly works as Manager of Entrepreneurship and Detroit Engagement for the Detroit Regional Chamber. He supports the Chambers regional collaboration efforts by working with businesses and grassroots organizations focused on entrepreneurial development. He also assists in building relationships with Detroit based small businesses, entrepreneurs, and individuals advancing Detroit’s economic growth.

Areas of mentorship: networking, economic development, and access to support services and resources

Seun Oyewole

Seun is an analyst at Invest Detroit Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund focused on high-growth, high-tech companies in Michigan. He assists in the development of regional tech companies by sourcing deals, leading due diligence efforts, and managing portfolio engagement initiatives, including Accelerate Michigan & Hacker Fellows. Seun coordinates special projects bridging social & economic focuses like the HAPPENING.

Areas of mentorship: Business Development, Investment Proposals, Operations

Jay Rayford

Jay Rayford is a 5 year veteran of using social media to build both digital and real life relationships for businesses, organizations and individuals. As a BMe (Black Male Engagement) Leader and New Leaders Council fellow, Jay has a passion for utilizing leadership, social entrepreneurship and network organizing strategies to influence and impact urban centers. Jay is a born and raised, expat and returned Detroiter.

Areas of mentorship: Network strategies (online AND offline), Community engagement, 21st century Youth development, Strategic planning

Khalil Ligon

Khalil Ligon grew up in Detroit and is committed to advancing communities through planning, engagement, advocacy and action. She is passionate about the human and social interconnectivity of the built and natural environment. To that end, she is working on neighborhood visioning, green infrastructure, climate justice, Complete Streets and food system development initiatives in Detroit and Oakland County, Michigan.

Areas of mentorship: equitable community development, civic involvement,  sustainability, environmental & social justice, land use planning



Patti Glaza

Ms. Patricia (Patti) Glaza leads Invest Detroit Ventures managing two early-stage funds.  Previously with Arsenal Venture Partners, Patti has 25 years of experience in IT, advanced technology, and venture capital.  


Areas of mentorship:  financing, strategy, cash flow planning, marketing/sales, board development

Adrian Montague

Adrian joined the Flint Area Reinvestment Office in 2014. She is a Consultant with a focus on supporting the entrepreneur ecosystem in the Flint area. She is an alumna of the University of Michigan where she studied international relations and constitutional democracy. Her experience in urban renewal, crowdfunding, and 21st-century business start-ups includes work in Flint, Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, and London. She has worked on several political campaigns and public initiatives, including the City of Flint Master Planning Committee. In 2012, Adrian also founded Flint SOUP—a monthly dinner that raises seed money for start-ups and creative projects in the Flint community—and still serves as Executive Director of the organization. Adrian can be reached at

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