Elite 40 Under 40 2015 – Forum 1

Tuesday morning, May 5th, kicked off the first of a series of Oakland County Executive Elite 40 Under 40 Forums. The forums are designed to bring together a few class members at a time with Oakland County officials in a more intimate setting to build friendships and foster collaboration. Oakland County Executive, L. Brooks Patterson, hosted the event and was joined by Oakland County CIO and Deputy County Executive Phil Bertolini, Deputy County Executive Matt Gibb and the Elite 40 Program Coordinator, Kristie Zamora. In attendance from the Elite 40 2015 class were Melody Arabo, Treger Strasberg, and Jessica Thomas.

Elite 40 2015

Treger Strasberg, L. Brooks Patterson, Melody Arabo, and Jessica Thomas

Melody Arabo, winner of the Elite 40 2015, is coming to the end of a very busy year as the 2015 Michigan Teacher of the Year. She just returned back from a trip to Washington D.C. where she met the President. Next week, she’ll hand over her title as the 2016 honoree is named. Melody is eager to get back in the classroom to start implementing what she has learned in the Walled Lake Consolidated School District. Melody is also the author of, “Diary of a Real Bully” and hopes to incorporate this message into Oakland County’s youth suicide prevention efforts.

Treger Strasberg is the Founder, and Chairman of the Board for Humble Design, a non-profit organization that helps families transition out of homeless shelters by providing furnishings and design services. Humble Designs has helped furnish over 500 homes in 6 years and is looking to expand their Oakland County footprint and offer their services nationwide. Treger is also passionate about using Humble Design to decrease veteran homelessness and will be collaborating with the Oakland County Veterans’ Services team to make this a reality.

Jessica Thomas recently made the move to go out on her own as a entrepreneur. Building on her expertise in financial and business consulting for the public sector, she will be helping distressed schools and municipalities navigate through difficult financial times to prosperity. Stressing the impact of economic development on the public education system, Jessica has been invited to join the Oakland County One Stop Ready Program in order to bring awareness and proactive tools to our communities.

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The round-table discussion inspired collaboration between the county and Elite 40, as well as provided warm introductions across the state. The Elite 40 noted how this was a unique opportunity to meet with people outside of their own profession, build relationships, and make strategic connections in their community. Patterson encouraged the Elite 40 to “Keep it up!” and noted how “ [It’s] Exciting to hear what you are doing to contribute to the quality of life in Oakland County. Let’s continue this connection throughout the year and beyond.”

Learn more about the Oakland County Executive’s Elite 40 Under 40 program at AdvantageOakland.com and view the entire class of 2015 HERE. Then stay connected with the program on social media with #Elite40 on Advantage Oakland’s Twitter & Facebook.

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