Institute for Leadership and Diversity (ILEAD)

The Institute for Leadership and Diversity (ILEAD) at the Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business integrates the school's accelerating focus on organizational diversity and inclusive leadership.

In addition to providing innovative student, community and executive leadership education and development opportunities, ILEAD will consolidate and expand the Ilitch School's inclusive leadership service and research programs with business and community partners. This work involves nurturing collaborative relationships with corporate, government and nongovernmental organizations concerned with advancing leadership and inclusion agendas.


Join us for the C200 Reachout on April 7

The Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business will host a C200 Reachout on Friday, April 7, 2017. This is the first Reachout to be hosted in the state of Michigan. Up to three $10,000 C200 Scholar Awards will be awarded to women M.B.A. students at this event.

The Committee of 200, or C200, is an international network of some of the world's top women corporate executives and entrepreneurs. C200's 400+ members represent more than 100 industries in North America and throughout Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

The primary mission of C200 and its foundation is to fund, create and implement programs to inspire, support, foster, celebrate and advance future generations of women business leaders.

One of the primary ways they work toward this mission is by funding and participating in Reachouts at the high school, college and M.B.A. level. To date, C200 members have reached more than 12,000 students all over the world through more than 60 of these Reachout events.

At these intensive events, C200 members seek to demonstrate the value of pursuing a career in business to young women who may not have made their initial career decisions. They also participate in panels and roundtable discussions with students aimed at demonstrating the positive aspects of a business career, dispelling myths about pursuing a business career, and the many possibilities that exist within different fields.

For more information, go to ilitchbusiness.wayne.edu/c200.


Through its myriad initiatives and broad community exposure, ILEAD will promote leadership and diversity research and practice — fields increasingly recognized as among the decade's most salient challenges for organizational success.

Associate Dean and Professor Toni Somers and management faculty member Sheri Perelli have driven the creation of ILEAD over the past two years and serve as the institute's faculty co-directors. They've also been involved in recent initiatives by the Ilitch School in support of leadership and inclusion in both for-profit and nonprofit sectors — strategically undertaken with local, state, national and international collaborators — demonstrating the school's impact in fueling the development of inclusive organizations and leadership in Michigan and beyond.

Over the past two years, the Ilitch School has:

  • produced three widely distributed research reports exploring corporate and entrepreneurial leadership and inclusion practices and performance in Michigan companies, in support of the Inforum Center for Leadership and the Michigan Women's Foundation
  • been selected as the host institution for the April 2017 Reachout Conference of the Committee of 200, an international organization of the world's most successful women entrepreneurs and corporate innovators
  • initiated the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) in collaboration with the National Association of Women Business Owners, Greater Detroit Chapter (NAWBO/EXCEL), a year-long program unique in the nation for its exclusive focus on middle and high school girls
  • launched a Corporate Mentor Program, which pairs first-generation college students with Detroit executives for long-term, one-on-one mentoring
  • launched the Warriors Business Community to cement networks among first-generation college students and peer leaders through a residential experience on Wayne State's campus
  • hosted women business majors at an AutomotiveNEXT executive networking event

ILEAD will provide a cohesive platform for these types of programs in the future, and Somers said the school's impending move to the District Detroit makes it the perfect time to solidify efforts in leadership and diversity.  

"We have an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen our relationships with Detroit business, government and non-profit communities and contribute to the revitalization of the city," Somers said. "Strong ties to and productive collaborations with business, government and non-profit organizations to advance the practice of inclusive leadership will benefit both students and alumni seeking rewarding careers in those sectors."

ILEAD's foundation in diversity reflects one of Wayne State's strengths and differentiating characteristics. The university's student body, which includes a significant number of first-generation college attendees, is among the most diverse in the nation.

 "We anticipate that the personal presence and active involvement of diverse city leaders in our classrooms and at our events will motivate and inspire students," Perelli said. 

For more information, email ilead@wayne.edu or call 313-577-6116.