Ilitch School selects senior advisor to Mayor Duggan as 2021 Emerging Leader


The Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business has announced Amanda Elias as the 2021 recipient of its signature Emerging Leader Award.

Founded in 2013, the Emerging Leader Award recognizes a more recent graduate of the Mike Ilitch School of Business who has already distinguished themselves as a rising star in their industry or community, and who shows even greater promise for the future.

Elias graduated from the Ilitch School with a B.S. in business administration and marketing management in 2015. She now serves as a senior advisor to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, serving on the Mayor’s jobs and economy team. In this role, Elias is responsible for helping major development projects navigate city processes and approvals to become reality.

Elias plays a leading role in shepherding economic development projects through the critical components of a deal, including zoning and land use approvals, construction permits, community benefits processes and necessary tax incentives, in addition to helping project sponsors navigate a wide variety of issues with the city’s building, water and public works departments throughout the construction process. She regularly helps significant mixed-use and manufacturing development projects obtain public approvals from the City of Detroit Planning Commission, Detroit City Council, Historic District Commission and other public bodies. She is also currently a mayoral appointee to the City of Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, which oversees tax increment financing (TIF) plans for brownfield redevelopments throughout the city.

Elias has served the City of Detroit for over seven years, starting when she was still an undergraduate student at the Ilitch School. Prior to joining the jobs and economy team, Elias was the employer engagement manager for the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, where she led efforts to create a pipeline of talent to meet the needs of Detroit’s retail, hospitality and entertainment sectors while helping Detroiters enter or advance within the labor market.

Elias will be honored at the Ilitch School’s 41st annual Recognition and Awards Program on Thursday, Nov. 11, at the Roostertail. The Recognition and Awards Program is also where the Ilitch School celebrates the recipients of its Distinguished Alumni, Michigan Executive of the Year, Inspirational Teacher and Outstanding Student awards.

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

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