Detroit native, Sonya May, realizes that there’s no place like home by playing a crucial role in redeveloping Motor City’s neighborhoods. The former investment banker on Wall Street turned President and CEO of the nonprofit Develop Detroit hopes to guide her city through bankruptcy.
According to Mays, “The circumstances that I came here were really challenging. I grew up here and it was very painful to see the city hit such a low, and to really think about the consequences of having to go to a bankruptcy. So that was all, really really tough. But I thought it was important that there was somebody that was in charge of the team that was from here and had a connection that was going to survive the actual work of the bankruptcy.”
Ever since she’s been back six and a half years ago, Mays together with her company has been working on rebuilding the city’s North End, including the Eastern Market, Grandmont, and Woodbridge.
“My nonprofit was actually coming out of the bankruptcy in response to this collective understanding that Detroit really needed a mission-focused housing company. What my organization is most interested in is how could we use real estate in partnership with other community organizations to help invest in neighborhoods that haven’t seen an investment in awhile, that maybe run a risk of being forgotten because so much attention is being paid to Downtown and Midtown.”
When asked what drove her to start with such a large-scale project, she claims that, “When I think about communities and the importance of them, I really think about people first and the role that everyday Detroiters play in the future of their neighborhood, the future of their city.”
Read more on Click on Detroit’s article here: