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School of Social Work Winter 2019

Keynote Speaker James Điền Bùi, MSW '01 Founder and Managing Partner at Lotus Impact

James Điền Bùi

James Điền Bùi was honored for his impact investing, especially on behalf of entrepreneurs of color, and for his work on affordable housing, workforce development and clean energy projects worldwide. After earning his MSW from the U-M School of Social Work, Bùi was awarded the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations Minority Fellowship to study community economic development at MIT, Tufts and Harvard.

Today he has more than 20 years of experience in economic development and impact investing in North America and Southeast Asia. He is the founder of Lotus Impact, an impact investing firm with incubation services making social impact and creating transformative growth worldwide. He has worked with the World Bank, USAID and the Government of Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in developing a gender lens investing framework, helping women entrepreneurs and investors usecreative finance as a tool to further gender equity policy.

He is working on a new fund that will invest in entrepreneurs of color, changing how disadvantaged communities generate innovation and financial agency for social change and also helping new fund managers of color emerge in the impact investing space.

Bùi has worked as a principal consultant for clients including the International Finance Corporation, FMO (the Dutch development bank) and nonprofits worldwide while raising over $50 million for social impact projects, particularly post-Hurricane Katrina and Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill recovery efforts in the United States, and clean water and sanitation projects in Southeast Asia.

Read James Bùi's Speech

Student Speaker Michelle Mattison MSW Degree Candidate

Michelle Mattison

Michelle Mattison is a 16-month, Interpersonal Practice student with a concentration in Mental Health. She is also a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Scholar who applied her training at Positive Images, a substance use treatment facility for women pursuing lifelong recovery.

She is a Detroit native with a passion for yoga and improving health determinants in the Black community by enhancing the quality of mental health services. Mattison is a world peace visionary and firmly believes in the power of uplifting individuals through empathy, encouragement and integrity. While in the School of Social Work, she has served as the president of our Student Union and deputy director of Black Radical Healing Pathways.

Mattison envisions using her collective experiences to own a business that focuses on advocacy and empowerment. Her most recent work includes educating teenagers on the practice and knowledge to support a healthy meditation practice. She pursued her MSW while pregnant with her third child and has hoped to serve as an impression of resilience and redemption. Mattison hopes that being transparent about her life experiences will uplift others and plant seeds of self-belief. She is also a dedicated spouse to Tyrone and mother to Titus, Titan and Tobias, who have fueled her passion for success and ambition. Her motto is “Gratitude is always my answer.”

Read Michelle Mattison's Speech

Commencement Resources

Photos from the Ceremony

View the Winter 2019 commencement gallery on Flickr

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