February 14, 2012

Wayne State University School of Social Work honoring outstanding alumni March 23

The annual awards luncheon hosted by the Wayne State University School of Social Work Alumni Association will be held Friday, March 23, 2012, from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the McGregor Memorial Conference Center. Honorees include Ryan Hertz, Alumnus of the Year, and Rashida Tlaib, Citizen of the Year.

Hertz earned his master of social work degree from Wayne State in 2008, with a focus on community practice and social action. In 2010, Hertz's research on human rights violations in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, was presented at the Society of Social Work Research annual conference in San Francisco. He is the executive director of the South Oakland Shelter and was formerly the executive director at HOPE Hospitality and Warming Center in Pontiac, Mich. During his tenure with HOPE, the agency experienced a remarkable transformation and 144 percent annual growth in revenues.

In 2009, Crain's Detroit Business recognized Hertz for his community efforts, naming him on their "20 in their 20s" list. He is also Principal of EcoZoic L3C, a consulting firm specializing in organizational transitions, social enterprise, multi-sector collaboration, process facilitation and new media applications to  achieve social outcomes.

A resident of Ferndale, Mich., Hertz is active with several local and global community initiatives. He is on the board of directors for the Greater Detroit Network of Social Innovators and the Upland Hills School. He co-founded the Water for Huicholes initiative, a social enterprise in partnership with the indigenous community of La Laguna, Jalisco, Mexico. Hertz is also involved in the Oakland County Taskforce on Homelessness and Affordable Housing.

Tlaib was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives for the 12th District (Detroit) in 2008. She was raised in Southwest Detroit, the eldest of 14 children. A daughter of Palestinian immigrants, Tlaib made history by becoming the first Muslim woman elected to the Michigan legislature. Before being elected, Tlaib worked at a number of nonprofit organizations, including the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) and the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit, where she advocated for improved access to human services, education and civil rights.

As a representative, she fights to protect families through direct service programs and strong advocacy at her Neighborhood Service Center, the only fully staffed community-based center established by a Michigan legislator providing more than 10 anti-poverty programs.

In 2009, Tlaib received the Role Model Award from Alternatives for Girls. She also has received the Emerging Leader Award from the National Network for Arab American Communities, the Women of Wayne Headliner Award, CAIR Michigan's Community Service Award and the United Community Housing Coalition's Maryann Mahaffey Public Servant of the Year Award. She also was recognized as one of Crain's Detroit Business' "Women to Watch" and recently was named to the "Top 10 Heroes" list by Immigrants' List for her advocacy work. 

Tlaib received her bachelor's degree in political science from Wayne State University in 1998 and her law degree from Thomas Cooley Law School in 2004.

Hertz was nominated by Joanne Sobeck, associate dean for research and director of the Center for Social Work Practice and Policy Research at Wayne State University. Tlaib was nominated by Phyllis Edwards of the Wayne State University School of Social Work Alumni Board. The honorees were chosen by the Alumni Board under the leadership of President, Larmender Davis.

Contact Julie Alter-Kay at 313-577-4464 to RSVP for the luncheon. Registration is $25, which includes a buffet luncheon. The event is open to the public.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.










                                   Ryan Hertz                                                                                                                 Rashida Tlaib


Julie Alter-Kay
Phone: 313-577-4464
Email: ae8440@wayne.edu