Ilitch School announces Sheri Perelli as 2020 Inspirational Teacher Award winner

The Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business has announced Sheri Perelli, senior lecturer of management, as the 2020 recipient of its Inspirational Teacher Award.

Created by Dean Robert Forsythe in 2015, the award provides Mike Ilitch School of Business alumni with the opportunity to submit stories about professors who truly inspired them, encouraged them, broadened their horizons or made a lasting positive impact on their lives. Nominees must be living current or former members of the WSU Mike Ilitch School of Business faculty (full time or part time). A committee of Ilitch School Alumni Council members reviews the nominations and makes its recommendation to Dean Forsythe, who then selects the winner.

Perelli joined the Ilitch School faculty in 2010, bringing with her 30 years of Fortune 500 corporate, U.S. government and private consulting experience in management, marketing, trade development and multi-sector collaboration with work in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and South America. The former senior automotive industry executive also served as a White House-appointed special assistant to the U.S. ambassador to Japan, supporting U.S. business interests in and providing market access counsel to major U.S. companies. As a management consultant, she specialized in the formation of public-private partnerships in developing countries by harnessing major global corporations, national governments and non-governmental organizations in support of education, conflict resolution and social justice initiatives.

In addition to teaching management courses, Perelli leads the Ilitch School’s study abroad program in China and is the co-director of the school’s Institute for Leadership and Diversity (ILEAD). Her research interests focus on the nexus between business and society and business as an agent of social change.

Perelli received multiple nominations for this year’s Inspirational Teacher Award, including one from Robert Reaves, a two-time graduate of Wayne State University with a B.A. in public relations (’11) and an M.B.A. in management (’15). Reaves currently serves as director of accreditation for WSU’s School of Medicine and is the incoming president of the WSU Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Of his former professor and mentor, Reaves said, “Sheri groomed me into an executive-level leader at the nation’s largest medical school; into a community leader committed to supporting local charities and nonprofits; and into a young man devoted to supporting social justice and equality for women and underrepresented minorities in corporate America. More importantly, she ensured that I became a man with integrity, one dedicated to uplifting my own community – specifically, as it relates to underprivileged and marginalized Black and Brown children in the city of Detroit.”

Perelli will be honored at the Ilitch School’s 40th annual Recognition and Awards Program (date TBD). The Recognition and Awards Program is also where the Ilitch School celebrates the recipients of its Michigan Executive of the Year, Distinguished Alumni, Emerging Leader and Outstanding Student awards.

For more information on this event or to view past winners, please visit

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