PuLSE Institute Next CEO Forum on Poverty set for June 10

Speakers include UM President Schlissel, Blue Cross CEO Loepp and S3 CEO Pasky

DETROIT, MI. April 1, 2019— Following a successful launch of its inaugural CEO Forum on Poverty Series last month at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel,The PuLSE Institute (Institute for Public Leadership and Social Equity), Detroit’s non-partisan and independent anti-poverty think tank will hold the second edition in the series on Monday, June 10, 8am at the Colony Club, 2310 Park Ave in downtown Detroit.

The speakers who will take the stage at the Colony Club for the second leadership breakfast forum on poverty are Mark S. Schlissel, president of the University of Michigan, Daniel J. Loepp, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Cynthia J. Pasky, president and CEO of Strategic Staffing Solutions. The forum moderator is Bankole Thompson, the editor-in-chief of The PuLSE Institute, who is also an op-ed columnist at The Detroit News. Doors open at 7 a.m. for breakfast. Tickets to the forum can be obtained here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-pulse-institute-ceos-on-poverty-series-tickets-59651118100  . Discounted tickets are also available for members of the Institute.

The speaker series which is focused exclusively on poverty, is the first of its kind in recent Detroit history to feature a diverse range of industry captains speaking directly to the inequality issues facing the recovery of the city. The poverty conversation which the Institute is driving to the C-Suite for equitable solutions, is not only significant but it is also coming at a time when Detroit leads the nation among big cities on poverty, according to the Census.

“I applaud The PuLSE Institute for bringing important conversations about the pressing issue of poverty into the public consciousness,” said UM President Schlissel. “I believe the public mission of the University of Michigan demands that we use our intellectual power to tackle and aim to solve great problems. In 2017, nearly 40 million people lived below the poverty line in the United States. Of those, 12.8 million were children.”

The University of Michigan, which was ranked last year as the top public university in the U.S. for the third time by QS World University Rankings 2018-2019, is ahead of the curve on the issue of poverty through initiatives such as a Poverty Solutions project, Schlissel said.

“We have engaged in action-based research focused on partnerships, pilots, and large-scale interventions and programs that determine what is most effective and bring new discoveries to policymakers and community stakeholders,” Schlissel said. “Our faculty, staff and students have also risen to this challenge, as U-M scholars in disciplines that include business, law, information, public health, social work, public policy, medicine, urban planning and engineering are working with one another and community partners to attack the many factors that contribute to poverty in our society.”

Pasky, the CEO of S3, who also chairs the Downtown Detroit Partnership, underscored the significance of the forum in seeking solutions to the socioeconomic challenges Detroit is dealing with and cited the famous Biblical injunction: “To whom much is given, much is required.” 

“We are honored and fortunate to be leaders in our city and within our industries,” Pasky said. “ However, that good fortune comes with a responsibility to ensure that all of our city’s residents  – including the poorest – have a share in whatever opportunities are created.”

Cindy Pasky

Loepp, the leader of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, said business leaders cannot be divorced from fighting poverty.

Dan Loepp

“For too many, poverty is the greatest barrier to success in life, impacting a person’s health and reducing life expectancy. As CEOs and business leaders, we have an obligation to work with community residents and civic organizations to co-create solutions that tackle the root causes of poverty, so that people have greater potential to overcome barriers to health and success,” Loepp said. “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is guided by a longstanding social mission to improve the health of all Michiganders.  To accomplish this goal, we continue to engage within the communities we serve to better understand and address the economic barriers that prevent residents from achieving optimal health.”

He added, “Working together with communities, doctors, hospitals and nonprofit organizations, our aims are to improve health at the community level, improve the quality of care and improve lives.  Person by person, community by community – this is how we will make Michigan a healthier place for everyone.”

The Institute’s president and director of research Tina M. Patterson, a former attorney for the Social Security Administration said the forum is igniting conversation about inequality in unlikely places.

The PuLSE Institute’s inaugural CEO Forum on Poverty sparked great interest due to its unique perspective on inequality from what seemed like a contradictory source. However, the success and awareness of the event awakened the possibility and the need to bring poverty- the most pressing issue of our day- into an otherwise unlikely space inside the corporate boardroom,” Patterson said. “This series is necessary because top executives have the power and influence to create change that will permeate throughout their entire organizations and to introduce thought-provoking and quantifiable solutions to measure the impact of their efforts. The PuLSE Institute is proud to be at the forefront of these groundbreaking conversations and we look forward to this second edition of the series.”

C. Paschal Eze, a humanitarian disaster expert and board chair of the Institute, echoed a similar sentiment.

“If big businesses around us are doing very well, it is partly because there is no dearth of dynamic ideas and decisive action in their C-Suite. So, what if those intellectual and behavioral assets are creatively channeled toward tackling the tough and widely consequential problem of poverty in our community? Many less fortunate citizens will start to do well. That’s why The PuLSE Institute is pleased and proud to attract notable top CEOs to the poverty solutions suite,” Eze said.

For more information about the work of the Institute and the CEO on Poverty Series visit www.thepulseinstitute.org

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