Tomorrow, we’ll unveil the 2021 Crain’s 20 in their 20s. 

It’s the 15th year of the program, which began in 2006 as a way to honor creatives, entrepreneurs and rising talent in metro Detroit — the kind of people who could move to New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago, but chose to make a home and a career here. Hands were wringing, then, about “brain drain,” and how Michigan could transform its economy and bring new ideas, energy and people here. What could business leaders learn from these young people, and what would it take to keep them here? 

Some of the things the 2006 20s said they wanted to see here have come to pass over the last decade and a half: vitality in downtown Detroit, with more options for housing (though not all of it affordable) and entertainment. A more supportive environment for entrepreneurs. Some other things are still, to put it generously, a work in progress. (Ahem: Mass transit.) 


We reached out to that first class of 20s to ask where they are now and what advice they have for this year’s honorees. Many have stayed here, and not just because of the energy of the city but also to raise children, be close to family, have some space. Some just feel like this is home: an intangible factor that is too abstract for any “cool cities” initiative or economic development effort to capture — but more powerful than bike lanes or murals on neat old buildings. 

In other words: “I stay in Detroit because there is still an opportunity for me to make a positive impact on the city that I love,” said Austin Black II, broker and owner of City Living Detroit. 

Read about their perspective on work, life and personal growth here, and head over to crainsdetroit.com tomorrow morning to meet this year’s class. 


Photo of a nurse in PPE caring for an ICU patient whose face is not visible in a hospital bed

A nurse cares for a patient in Beaumont Royal Oak’s COVID-19 unit. Photo by Cydni Elledge for Crain’s.

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are falling in Michigan as a third surge recedes, but Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak is still treating over 100 seriously ill patients. This week they invited Crain’s senior health care reporter Jay Greene and photographer Cydni Elledge into the COVID-19 unit, where doctors and nurses said they are seeing more young patients in need of intensive care. 

More COVID-19 news to catch up on this week:

– How Michigan doctors are lending a hand with India’s coronavirus outbreak from afar, Sherri Welch reports.

– The state has loosened mask requirements for vaccinated residents  

– What’s going on with cheese, bath bombs, lumber and other quirks of the supply chain? Blame the bullwhip effect, writes Dustin Walsh. 

Bank to work: Tensions over the post-pandemic return to the office continue to simmer. Last week, JPMorgan Chase & Co. became the first major bank to mandate that employees get back to the office. Local banks have yet to announce any firm plans to bring workers back to the office, in part because of the awkward fact that remote-working bankers produced record profits for their firms in 2020. “Many employees see little need to endure commutes after being so productive and are likely to push back against a full-time return,” Nick Manes writes

Plane games: The controversy over Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s trip to West Palm Beach in mid-March, when coronavirus cases were climbing and travel was still frowned upon by state officials and the CDC, took a turn this week when it was revealed that she took a plane owned by well-known metro Detroit businessmen to get there, as Chad Livengood reported today. This whole scandal seems very tedious to me, but also like it would maybe be less of a big deal if the governor would just say where she went, when she went and whose plane she took, instead of giving reporters scandalous puzzles to solve. Just a thought!  


This week’s look-ahead comes from Crain’s senior editor Chad Livengood.

The years-long battle over shutting down Enbridge Energy Inc.’s aging Line 5 underwater oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac may come to a head this week. Wednesday is the 180-day deadline Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gave Enbridge in mid-November to cease operations on Line 5, which carries about 23 million gallons of oil and natural gas liquids daily between Superior, Wis., and Sarnia, Ontario.

Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge has said it does not plan to shut down the pipeline, setting up a potential showdown with Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel in federal court.

“We are not going to stop operating unless ordered by a court or regulator, which we think is highly unlikely,” Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy told Crain’s on Friday.

Across the Detroit River, Canadian anxiety has been building for weeks about the potential ramifications for energy supplies for Ontario, Quebec, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states. Here’s a closer look at what would happen to regional gasoline and propane supplies if Line 5 were shuttered without an alternative means of transporting the pipeline’s crude oil and natural gas liquids.


A sampler of thoughts on work and motherhood from Saturday Extra readers and the Crain’s Detroit Business newsroom:

Vintage photograph of a mom in business clothes with her 3 tween and teenage children

Rose Bryant (second from left) with her children. Photo provided by Eva Bryant.

Be ready: Eva Bryant remembers her mom, Rose Bryant, being in a perpetual state of getting ready for work. 

“One thing my mother taught me about work is that it takes preparation, mentally, physically and emotionally to get up and go every day,” Eva said. “I used to fuss at her saying, ‘All you do is work and get ready for work,’ since she would use majority of her off time to do her hair and nails, do laundry, cook and clean, and relax. … Well, fast forward 20 years, she’s retired and now all I do is work and get ready for work. Hair, nails, laundry, dishes and all.” 

Moms are leaders: “A lot of what I’ve learned about being a parent applies to how I manage and lead my teams,” wrote Nikki Little, VP of Strategy for Franco. “There needs to be a healthy combination of support, autonomy, empathy and teaching. Working on developing and strengthening my emotional intelligence, along with practicing mindfulness, has helped me immensely both as a parent and a manager/leader.”

Where to hide your treats: Is it a lesson on putting yourself first or just a genius mom hack? From Crain’s nonprofit reporter Sherri Welch: “Treats around our house go missing so I can’t have one when I’m hungry for them. So I’ve taken to hiding things. My mom shared the art with me. With eight kids, she had to hide stuff or she’d never get any. She said that the trick is to hide other treats in less-hard-to-find spots so they’ll stop looking when they find those.” Sherri recommends using empty healthy cereal boxes for the primo treats.

Take a break: Alexis Sims, owner of Leaf Me Plant Boutique, got her work ethic (and her first houseplants) from her mom, who has worked at the Detroit post office for 30 years. “She is literally the hardest-working person I know,” Sims said. “I told her, ‘Ma, you ruined me!’ because I’m just now respecting the fact that I’m a human being who will get sick, who does need to sleep —  I’m like, ‘You did that, ma!'” (Here’s more of my conversation with Alexis about motherhood, wellness and running a business.)


Headshot of a woman with a logo for "Crain's Saturday Extra" and a byline that reads "Amy Elliott Bragg"

Thanks for reading the Saturday Extra. I would love your thoughts, ideas and fun facts for future issues! Email me: [email protected].


Source: crainsdetroit.com

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