SOGI Initiative

Pawley Hall, Room 470G
456 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-4614

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2016 Conference

This year we are  Creating Climate Change in our Classrooms and Communities. We are taking our next steps toward creating safe and inclusive climates in our classrooms, schools, and school districts. We are stepping out to change the climate in our communities and places of work to ensure all of us are safe and free from discrimination regardless of our actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

Keynote Speaker:
Sean M.  Kosofsky, Executive Director  
Tyler Clementi Foundation

Keynote Address Title:
Bullying, Harassment Humiliation. Stories and Solutions

Sean M. Kosofsky Head Shot

Prior to joining the Tyler Clementi Foundation, Sean was the Executive Director for Amplify US. Amplify US was created to drive a research and data-driven agenda for charitable organizations working on social change. He served as Executive Director for Blueprint North Carolina, a statewide collaboration that brings together over 50 public interest advocacy organizations to shape policy and increase voter turnout.

Kosofsky was the Director of Policy for Michigan's leading LGBT advocacy organization, the Triangle Foundation (now Equality Michigan). Among other accomplishments, Sean helped introduce and build support for the eventual passage of Michigan’s anti-bullying statute (Matt’s Safe Schools Law).  

Kosofsky is a former board member and co-chair of the Equality Federation, the largest LGBT lobbying and activist network in the nation. In that role, he worked to grow state and local LGBT activism aggressively in every U.S. state and territory. Kosofsky is a former columnist for Between the Lines (Michigan) and an Op-ed writer for the Progressive Media Project. And he is an alumnus of Oakland University (class of 1998, Political Science).

Opening Remarks:
John Austin, President  
Michigan State Board of Education

John Austin Head Shot

Mr. Austin was elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2008. He is Director of the Michigan Economic Center at Prima Civitas Foundation. He is also a Non-Resident Senior Fellow with the Brookings Institution where he directed the Great Lakes Economic Initiative.

He previously held the position of Executive Director of the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan. He served as policy director for the Lieutenant Governor's Commission on Higher Education and Economic Growth. He is also a Lecturer at the University of Michigan.Mr. Austin holds a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Arts from Swarthmore College in Economics and Political Science.

Stephanie White, Executive Director  
Equality Michigan and Equality Michigan Action Network

Stephanie White Head Shot

Stephanie White is the Executive Director for Equality Michigan and Equality Michigan Action Network. Her career spans over two decades of leading collective action from US Army Commander to Political Director for the Michigan Democratic Party and the Schauer for Governor Campaign.
Steph first moved to Michigan in 2002 when she served as the Campaign Manager for the Ypsilanti Campaign for Equality and subsequently worked for the Michigan Environmental Council. She then spent six years in Washington DC working on federal policy issues, including serving as the Managing Director for the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE).
Steph currently serves as the Treasurer of the Board for NCTE . She holds a B.A. from Texas Christian University where she was a Distinguished Military Graduate. She originally grew up in Kansas and lived in Texas, New York City, and Washington, D.C. before settling in Ann Arbor, MI with her wife, son, dog, cat and picket fence.