Acrobat Extraordinaire, Engineer
Chris Gatti is a man of two worlds. Michigan alum and an extraordinaire in Industrial and Systems Engineering, Chris was also a performer in the famous Cirque du Soleil! Chris was always fascinated with gymnastics, being a gymnast from age five and serving as the captain for the men’s gymnastics team at the University of Michigan during his junior and senior undergraduate years. Through his dual roles as an academic and performer in life, Chris has experienced a myriad of self realizations and life lessons on who he is, the world around him, and his role in it. Now, he is pursuing his passion for gymnastics by hosting gymnast workshops across the country, with his specialty being the perfect handstand.
The Connector, The Educator
Huda Essa is a Michigan alum, educator, leader, and the founder of Culture Links, LLC. She has positively influenced countless communities through her engaging and thought-provoking learning opportunities. Huda utilizes her extensive experience as a Cultural Competency Consultant, Culturally Responsive Educator, former Teacher, and English Language Development Specialist to support organizations in successfully meeting their diversity and inclusion initiatives. She is the author of the motivational children's book, Teach Us Your Name, focused on empowering children to take pride in their many identities while showing respect for themselves and others. Huda continues to write culturally relevant children’s books and is also the producer of a series of short films focused on matters of social justice.
Joe Holberg is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan, where he earned a B.S. in economics, and is a shining example for what it means to be a Michigan Wolverine. Joe believes in the ideal of helping those around him and working with his community to create an overall healthier society. To work towards realizing his belief, Joe utilized his knowledge in economics to create his company, Holberg Financial. He understands the financial challenges and opportunities Americans face, and is using his company as a platform to engage and help Americans gain financial security and better financial health. By doing so, he sees himself as an individual who is helping to create a sense of financial justice in his greater community and showcasing what it means to be one of the ‘leaders and best’.
A native Ann Arborite, John Pollack is an insightful individual and a masterful storyteller, having used his talents as the former presidential speechwriter for former United States president Bill Clinton. He now uses his writing prowess as a consultant, having served several Fortune 500 companies, non profits, and major philanthropists over the last 15 years. His latest works involve studying the powers of analogies and language in shaping our society around us.
John also has some expertise as an engineer, having built and successfully sailed a 22-foot Viking ship in Portugal, affectionately called ‘The Cork Boat” due to it mainly being composed of wine corks.
Keiana is a researcher, entrepreneur, and a second year undergraduate student at the University of Michigan. At the age of 15, Keiana began researching the BP oil spill and ultimately invented a carcinogen-fighting molecule and created her own startup, which is currently being supported by both the University and Chevron. She is also a brand representative in various fashion and modeling companies and she hopes to use her influence in both science and fashion to blend the two together to promote female empowerment.
The Gateway, The Marketing Guru
Marcus Collins is a proud Detroit native and greatly admired Lecturer of Marketing at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. He is a deeply curious thinker and emits an infectious sense of charisma and energy to those around him. A guru in the world of marketing and an impassioned educator, Marcus strives to understand the cognitive factors and biases that help drive human behaviors and actions. He utilizes his understanding and insights to study why certain products become popular and uses his knowledge to help companies and individuals market themselves.
The Poet, Professor, Protester
As a teenager in Soviet Poland, Piotr Westwalewicz found himself in an environment that had a variety of strict rules and limited opportunities for self expression, from extreme censorship rules to regular curfews. Because of this, Piotr became attracted to the power of music and how it allowed him to express himself in a peaceful manner as an individual and rebel against the societal rules of Soviet Poland. For him, “protest was the perfect excuse for fun” and allowed him to connect with others and grow as a person. Due to these experiences, Piotr believes in the rights one has to express themselves and the power of music in rebellion. Now, he utilizes his firsthand experiences as a Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature at the University of Michigan, teaching a popular class called Rock Poetry and the Art of Protest.
The Hustler, The Curator
Sava Farah is the charismatic CEO of SavCo Hospitality. Immigrating from Albania to the Bronx at the age of five, she grew up surrounded by a sense of constant hustle, propelling her to get her first job at the age of 13 in the restaurant business. From here, she quickly fell in love with the restaurant industry and became a rising star. Combining the restaurant hustle with her entrenched Albanian heritage values of hospitality, Sava created her concept of ‘hospitality intervention’, and works to benefit the community around her and inspire compassion through her actions. She eventually relocated to Ann Arbor and started her own restaurant, Sava’s. She has continued to inspire and enlighten the Ann Arbor community ever since with her actions, and is truly a pillar of hospitality in the community.