Leadership and Staff

Mike S. Rafferty is the President & CEO of New Detroit, Inc. Rafferty has more than 20 years of experience in leadership, project management; supporting community and regional economic development; advocacy for small businesses and nonprofits; and analyzing and advising local municipalities and politicians on policy.

In his nearly five years since joining New Detroit, Rafferty has ushered in the Just Institute, a comprehensive suite of industry-specific certified training and consulting. The Just Institute provides participants with interactive learning and customized action plans to create racially equitable policies and practices. One of the core programs of Just Institute, Just Care, customized for the healthcare industry, has been positively evaluated by John Hopkins and meets state licensing requirements under the Michigan Public Health Code.

Under Rafferty’s leadership, New Detroit has received many recognitions and awards including, but not limited to: the National Diversity Council’s 2023 Racial Justice and DE&I Advocacy award; Corp! Magazine’s Best of MichBusiness Award; named as one of Crain’s Detroit Business 2021 Metro Detroit’s Best Managed Nonprofits and received the 2024 Stellar Business Award as Best Nonprofit in Detroit, MI.

Rafferty serves as a board member for several profit and nonprofit organizations including but not limited to: Henry Ford Health, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, TechTown, and Jefferson East Inc. He earned a master’s degree in urban planning with a concentration in economic development from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

He has received several honors and awards including Crain Detroit Business’s recognition as a Notable Executive in DEI; the Sue Marx Smock Graduate Fellowship Award for Urban Research; the Business Visionary Award from the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and the Michigan Chronicle’s Men of Excellence award; Corp! Magazine’s Michigan Salute to Diversity Award and acknowledged by the Michigan Chronicle as one of 25 Inaugural Standout Black Non-Profit Leaders in Metro Detroit.

Jodee Fishman Raines, COO: After 25 years in philanthropy Jodee joined New Detroit, effective March 8, 2020. Recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business as one of Metro Detroit’s Most Influential Women, Jodee has led significant organizational growth and transformation as a professional and volunteer at some of Detroit’s finest institutions, including Executive VP of Programs at the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, Director of The Jewish Fund, Program Officer at The Skillman Foundation, and President of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue. Jodee has a J.D. from Wayne State University and practiced nonprofit and corporate law at Bodman PLC.

Marshalle Favors, Director of Community Engagement: Marshalle, a recent Michigan Chronicle Woman of Excellence Honoree, promotes positive race relations by developing and maintaining relationships that convene the Arab, Chaldean, African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American communities throughout southeast Michigan. As lead facilitator for New Detroit’s Leadership Series on R.A.C.E., Marshalle conducts regional forums with representatives from a cross section of businesses, civic groups, educational institutions, health services and community-based organizations. She is committed to cultivating cross-cultural collaboration between diverse communities by developing collective strategies and solutions that affect social equity.

Rebecca Irby, Director of Transformational Change: Rebecca was on the team winning the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize and opens spaces of peace and cross-cultural communication worldwide. She holds Consulting Status at the United Nations, is on the Financing for Development Committee, and sits on the Working Group on Climate Finance. Rebecca helps develops heart-centered leaders who are empathetic, mindful, and courageous. At New Detroit, she is developing programs and curriculum, through New Detroit’s Just Institute and beyond, that use a multi-pronged approach to addressing the three levels of transformational systems change (policy/practice | resources/power dynamics | mental models), helping groups transform themselves, their relationships, and policies to move their businesses/institutions towards becoming a thriving anti-racist, multicultural organization. Rebecca has spoken at and worked with prominent institutions and governments such as Harvard Law School, the Yale Policy Conference, the University of Michigan, NJ Department of Education, Rutgers University, The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, & Industry; The City of Hiroshima; Nagoya University; New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Det Norske Veritas (DNV), and The PyeongChang Global Peace Forum, to name a few.

Vanessa Johnson, Senior Executive Assistant and Office Manager: Vanessa joined New Detroit in 1998. Previously, she worked as an assistant in multiple capacities including a social service foster care department, with the Detroit Police Department- Personnel Bureau, and most notably for the City of Detroit as Mayoral Staff Secretary under former mayor Coleman A. Young. In her native Buffalo, NY, Vanessa enjoyed a career in television and radio media as well as in the non- profit world. She was recognized as a “Black Achiever In Industry.” Vanessa holds an Associate’s degree in office stenography from Sawyer School of Business. She is an active member of Fellowship Chapel U.C.C. and a long standing member of its Steward Board ministry.