DTE Chairman and CEO Jerry Norcia to Keynote PuLSE 2023 Conference on Affirmative Action Sep 14

Prominent Detroit business leader Jerry Norcia, the Chairman and CEO of DTE Energy, a Fortune 500 utility company, has been invited to be a keynote speaker at this year’s conference on Affirmative Action and Economic Justice organized and hosted by The PuLSE Institute, Detroit’s national and independent non-partisan anti-poverty think tank.

The poverty-themed conference will be held virtually this year on Thursday, September 14, from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 pm and will feature solution-oriented keynote presentations and cutting-edge about how to address the salient issues of poverty and inequality in urban America including Detroit, one of the nation’s largest Black cities, and one of the most impoverished in the country.

Registration for the conference is now open on Eventbrite.

The September gathering is the Institute’s annual racial and economic justice conference for policy makers, scholars, industry captains and community advocates working towards creating an ethical economy that guarantees equality for all.

The theme for the 2023 conference “Unfinished Mandate: Affirmative Action and the Call to Champion Racial Equity and Economic Justice” in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling against Affirmative Action, one of the crucial programs that came out of the Civil Rights Movement.

Norcia will give his take on the high court’s adverse impact on Affirmative Action and discuss how corporate America must respond in relation to the push for meaningful racial diversity and inclusion in business.

Norcia, who took over the top leadership at DTE Energy in 2019, is a trained engineer, who sits on several boards of organizations in the state including Business Leaders for Michigan. He is a board member of the American Gas Association, Edison Electric Institute, Nuclear Energy Institute and the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, where he is engaged in shaping the future of the energy industry.

“At DTE, we are dedicated to affirmative progress in diversity, equity and inclusion.  We are committed to the communities we serve, and we work every day to improve people’s lives with our energy. However, our work is not close to done. We must continue to move forward by being open to learning and understanding the challenges and opportunities that exist to support equality for all people. I look forward to joining this important PuLSE Institute discussion,” Norcia said in a statement.

Attorney Tina M. Patterson, the President and Director of Research at The PuLSE Institute underscored the importance of the conference’s theme.

“The Supreme Court’s decision on Affirmative Action will not only reverberate in colleges and universities across the nation, but also in the corporate boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies. That is why it is important to have a major CEO like Mr. Jerry Norcia, who leads one of the largest companies to discuss how corporate America should tackle the aftermath of the court decision to ensure equality and advancement for Black people in the workplace as well as supporting African American-owned businesses,” Patterson said.

Bankole Thompson the nationally renowned Black journalist and a standard-bearer for racial and economic justice issues, whose longstanding and influential work on race, democracy and poverty led to the founding of The PuLSE Institute five years ago, said the conference will highlight the important work that needs to be done after the Supreme Court ruling. 

“CEOs and other captains of industry cannot sit on the sidelines of this terrible decision by the Supreme Court. This gathering is an opportunity to not only discuss what needs to be done in the aftermath of the court’s ruling, but also to engage with conscientious business leaders who are not afraid to have the difficult conversation around racial injustice” said Thompson, who serves as the executive dean of The PuLSE Institute, and is a twice-a-week opinion columnist at The Detroit News. 

Thompson, who was recently elected to the National Board of Directors of the historic Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the signature civil rights organization founded by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who served as its first president, and which led the Civil Rights Movement added, “This is a time for leaders of corporations to stand up and be counted. The court’s decision is challenging the conscience of every business leader in this country.”

Also delivering a keynote at The PuLSE Institute conference is Erwin Chemerinsky, the internationally celebrated legal scholar and the dean of the University of California Berkeley School of Law and the Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law. Chemerinsky dubbed for the second time in 2017 by National Jurist magazine as the most influential person in legal education in the United States, was named in 2022 as the President of the Association of American Law Schools.

More speakers about next month’s conference will be announced in the days. For inquiries about the forum email info@thepulseinstitute.org.

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