Economic Opportunity through Inclusivity: MEDC’s Dedication to DEI Efforts

Aileen Bovan

Friday, February 9, 2024

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is committed to a more equitable and resilient economy for all Michiganders to achieve prosperity and find opportunities to Make It in Michigan


By Aileen Bovan, MEDC Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Officer

When I was appointed to be the Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity Officer for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in 2020, the first step was to listen. How could the MEDC grow and improve as an organization? What were the ways the MEDC could better serve our diverse communities across Michigan?

Then, we began to put words into action to show that the MEDC remains committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), ensuring that our programs and services are delivered equitably to the residents and businesses of our state.


Our action is apparent with DEI growth over the past year

Since last year, we have added two full-time DEI team members, DEI Liaison Odessa Carson and DEI Coordinator/Ombudsperson Mykayla Giles. As the DEI Liaison, Odessa works to build and maintain relationships with our external stakeholders, bringing to me the concerns of our customers, and serves as the Title II ADA language access coordinator to support the organization in providing meaningful access to MEDC programs and services. As DEI Coordinator, Mykayla serves as a project manager for DEI efforts related to internal DEI policy and procedures, conducts DEI trainings and supports the work of the DEI Council.

The DEI Council, which the MEDC relaunched last fall, consists of members who act on behalf of the organization to launch and support our DEI priorities and has elected leadership to ensure continuity. The MEDC DEI Council will strive to create an organizational culture and climate in which all staff are engaged, valued and have a sense of belonging and connection with one another and the organization, while feeling empowered to do their best work.


Assessing internal and external barriers to DEI

Finally, in June 2023 the MEDC contracted with consulting firm TPMA to support our DEI efforts. The consultant is charged with conducting an environmental scan and a best practice review, providing MEDC program recommendations and assisting the organization in creating a DEI toolkit, strategy and roadmap.

To date, TPMA has focused primarily on MEDC’s internal DEI practices. In 2024, TPMA will shift its work to an external focus, identifying key partners and recommendations for a successful outreach strategy in addition to looking at potential barriers to accessing MEDC programming.


Laying the DEI groundwork for prosperity for all

With the added capacity and the groundwork that was laid in 2023, 2024 is already starting off with so much forward momentum. To make Michigan world-renowned for robust inclusivity and as a destination for limitless economic opportunity, it is critical to ensure that the work that we do is embedded into the very framework of who we are, so that regardless of environmental culture shifts, as an organization we are able to continue to push the needle forward.

Michigan’s economic prosperity flourishes exponentially when everyone has the opportunity to participate. I am honored and humbled to be a part of building those bridges to support economic opportunity for all 10 million Michiganders.

Learn more about the MEDC’s commitment to DEI efforts and meet the full MEDC DEI team.


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