Equality Michigan recently elected its new board leadership for 2021, with former State Sen. Buzz Thomas as chair of its board of directors. He has served on the board since 2017.
The leadership team of the organization currently includes Michael Rowady, chair emeritus; Kerrin Kramer, vice chair; Tim Atkinson, secretary; Scott Morrow, treasurer; and Richard Vaughan, member-at-large. Other board members include Chuck Otis and Jeff Hadstedt.
“Buzz is a dedicated leader with an innovative vision and true passion for his work,” said Erin Knott, executive director of Equality Michigan. “His intersectional approach to achieving Equality Michigan’s mission will build upon past successes and help to build a stronger, more inclusive organization.”
Thomas is the co-founder of Thomas Group Consulting, a Detroit firm that helps develop and manage relationships for clients in southeast Michigan. With expertise in the business and political realms, they assist in navigating opportunities for the individuals and businesses they serve. In addition, Thomas spent 14 years in the state Legislature, serving as Democratic Floor Leader in the Senate and as Democratic Leader in the House. He was co-chairman of the 2008 Michigan Presidential campaign of Barack Obama. In 2013, Thomas founded and co-chaired Turnaround Detroit, the Super PAC credited with electing Mike Duggan Detroit’s Mayor. In 2019, he joined Founders Brewing Co. as Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
“I’m humbled at the opportunity to chair the EQMI Board for the next two years,” Thomas said. “While we’ve made tremendous progress in our fight for equality, there is much work still to be done to ensure that all LGBTQ+ people can live their best lives across Michigan. I look forward to strengthening the work of our board and its membership, our education, outreach and victim services programs as well as supporting the many other amazing organizations supporting our community.”
Outgoing Chair Michael Rowady called the transition “seamless” and said he will be focusing his attention on his law firm and community efforts.
“It has been an honor to serve as Chairman of the Board of Equality Michigan for the past two years,” Rowady said. “It is an equal honor to pass on the gavel to my friend and mentor former Senator Buzz Thomas. We have had our grave challenges like every other organization, but we are more united than ever, and I am proud that we are passing the torch to the first African American chairman to lead the board of the organization. I will remain on the board as Chair Emeritus because it is my hope that in my time, I will see full equality for Michigan LGBTQ citizens under the law.”
Learn more about EQMI and its goals at equalitymi.org.