About The Speaker
An urban practitioner with a passion for inclusive economic development, James’s client roster includes New Economy Initiative, Rock Ventures, the Knight Foundation, Wayne State University and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. He has contributed to programs as NEIdeas, Motor City Match, Detroit Demo Day, the Knight Cities Challenge, and Detroit Revitalization Fellows. These efforts have helped redefine Detroit’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, shift the flow of capital, diversify the region’s talent pool, and create a more connected city. James was a 2017 Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar, and also served as the inaugural Entrepreneur-In-Residence for Ford Motor Company Fund’s FREC City, an economic mobility hub stationed in a Detroit Public School on Detroit’s Eastside. With a proven ability to think “from the boardroom to the barbershop,” James enjoys sharing Detroit’s innovation success, and lessons learned, with other cities. In 2019, he served as a technical expert for the Equitable Economic Development Fellowship, a collaborative effort led by National League of Cities, Policy Link, and Urban Land Institute. In October 2020, James accepted the role of Director, Entrepreneurship for the Rocket Community Fund.