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Power Forward Emerging Leaders Council

THAW is honored to have the inaugural cohort of Power Forward Emerging Leaders Council members serving with passion, innovation, and dedication to helping THAW drive its mission.

The Heat and Warmth Fund launched its inaugural Power Forward Emerging Leaders Council in January 2021.

Dayna Asante-Appiah, MSW, MA

Dayna Asante-Appiah holds a deep passion for helping people and communities see the potential in themselves and their future goals. One area that she cares deeply about are issues and narratives that affect women and may prevent from achieving their goals. This includes the intersectional reality that both race and gender contribute to the complex experiences of women of color, particularly in the workplace. Dayna also seeks opportunities to help strengthen non-profit organizations that directly serve and impact local communities. Dayna currently works at the University of Michigan where she manages and is working to launch a new online MSW program for the School of Social Work.

Colin Talia

Colin Talia is currently a Financial Advisor with UBS Financial Services, having started with the firm in December 2019. Prior to UBS he was a management consultant for nearly 6 years with EY (formerly Ernst & Young) in Chicago. He graduated from Miami University in 2010 and the University of Iowa College of Law in 2013. Originally from Farmington Hills, Michigan, he moved back to Michigan with his wife in January 2020. Hardworking, driven, and compassionate, Colin brings an openness to learn and work with other people to the council.  Some of his other assets include financial expertise, critical reasoning and analytical skills, and a passion for advocacy. He says that his law school background “will also allow him to see differing viewpoints and find the middle ground.”

Courtney Smith

Recently dubbed a “modern-day history maker” by Essence Magazine, Courtney Smith is a champion advocate & servant leader, serving not only by choice but by nature. Her undeniable tenacity birthed the Detroit Phoenix Center, a high-impact nonprofit organization that operates the first Asset Based Resource Center meeting the critical, holistic, and emergent needs of homeless and street-connected youth. Her commitment to service has garnered national recognition, including Comcast Newsmakers and the Steve Harvey Show.  She has been named to Crain’s Detroit Business “Twenty in Their 20s” list of trailblazers to watch in the region. She is a Michigan Chronicle “40 under 40” honoree, and a two-time Spirit of Detroit Award recipient dedicated to promoting equity and social justice.

Katherine Brown

Katherine Brown is a connector, listener, and collaborator. She currently serves as the Housing Resource Coordinator for Bridging Communities, Inc. in Southwest Detroit. Her role and her passion are driven by helping to create stable families and increasing housing security, especially for vulnerable residents. Prior to working on Let’s Detroit, Katherine was the community outreach coordinator for the Detroit Historical Society’s Detroit 67 Project, the community engagement initiative reflecting on the summer of 1967 Detroit (what some remember as the rebellion, riots, or uprising). Her role involved creating inclusive spaces in and out of the Detroit Historical Museum for discussion and storytelling through a variety of programming with community partners. In addition to being an AmeriCorps alumna, Katherine holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Central Michigan University and a Master of Public Service from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.