Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion takes 10 Ignite Students to prestigious Detroit event

This fall, the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) offered 10 Ignite Bridge program students the opportunity to attend the Multicultural Media Luncheon Auto Industry Awards hosted by The Ajamu Group, LLC in Detroit. There, students were able to watch notable companies win awards for their accomplishments in creating multicultural automotive advertisements and encouraging DEI in their companies.

Many ComArtSci alumni also attended the event, enabling students to connect with fellow Spartans and see how large the alumni network is. Following the event, students expressed their enthusiasm for being able to participate in this space by sharing their experiences.

The Multicultural Media Luncheon was founded and created by Cheryl D. Parks Ajamu in 2011 and has continued to be an annual event during the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit ever since. Ajamu is also founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Ajamu Group — an Advertising Media Sales and Event Management Firm that is certified as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). She is the first African American woman to produce an event during NAIAS, which is also referred to as the “most prestigious event” of the year during that press week.

“The tickets were donated by Mr. and Mrs. Hannibal Parks who are the parents of Cheryl Parks Ajamu,” said DEI Office Project Coordinator, Jada Flowers. As project coordinator, Flowers aims to provide resources and activities for students, faculty and staff to get involved in that emphasize equity and opportunity for all.

“This event was an incredible opportunity for the students to be immersed in the Detroit multicultural communications scene,” said Flowers. “They were able to meet and interact with influential professionals that are making an impact at their brands at the local and national level.”

Students who attended the event were able to connect with prominent figures of the advertising and auto industry, including keynote speaker of the event, Rich Paul — founder and CEO of Klutch Sports Group. Paul took a particular liking to the MSU Ignite students and even invited them to the front of the event to take pictures and chat.

“I really wanted to go to this event to hear Rich Paul speak because I know he's a successful businessman and sports agent. I wanted to learn more about his background and what he did to achieve his success,” said second year Communicative Science and Disorders major, Kyla Phillips. “It was inspiring to see Rich Paul give back to his community by taking time out of his schedule to give advice, share his upbringing, and take individual photos with everyone.”

On top of interacting with notable figures in the advertising industry like Rich Paul, Phillips noted that the event was also a great opportunity to share this experience with fellow students.

“Spending time with my Ignite peers was another one of my favorite things. Overall, I learned a lot and had a great time during this experience.”

The office for DEI has already started event planning for spring semester 2023 and welcomes students to submit any ideas and organization collaborations they would be interested in attending.

To submit ideas for future events, please contact the DEI office.

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By Casey Halas