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Type: Public event

Women's Perspectives in Public Policy

Date & time

Mar 13, 2023, 11:30 am-12:50 pm EDT


Annenberg Auditorium (1120 Weill Hall)
735 S. State St. Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Women’s rights have been at the forefront of policy conversations over the past few decades, especially recently. Join P3E for a discussion of policy perspectives on women’s rights issues with Christie Baer, Center on Finance, Law & Policy Assistant Director; Mara Ostfeld, Associate Faculty Director, Poverty Solutions; Research Director, Center for Racial Justice; Assistant Research Scientist, Ford School; and Faculty Associate, Center for Political Studies; Tonya Burns, Flint city councilmember; and Missy Stults, Sustainability and Innovations Director for the City of Ann Arbor. By sharing the experiences and knowledge gained throughout their journeys, our panelists aim to inspire hope and action for the future of public policy for American women. 

About our Speakers

Christie Baer

Christie Ayotte Baer is the assistant director of the Center on Finance, Law & Policy and serves as program director for its Detroit Neighborhood Entrepreneurs Project, an interdisciplinary program that provides 1:1 wrap-around services to minority-owned businesses in Detroit. Prior to joining the Center in 2016, Baer was an attorney in private practice in Atlanta and Savannah at the firm she founded, focused on family law, estate planning, and small business work. She is licensed to practice in Georgia (inactive) and Michigan. Before she was an attorney, Ms. Baer worked in multiple policy, political, small business, and non-profit organizations. Baer received her JD from Emory University School of Law and her BA in Sociology from Smith College.

Mara Ostfeld

Dr. Mara Cecilia Ostfeld is the associate faculty director of Poverty Solutions, the research director at the Center for Racial Justice, and an assistant research scientist at the Ford School of Public Policy. In addition, Mara is a faculty lead at the Detroit Metro Area Communities Study—an ongoing representative survey of Detroit households that asks residents about their expectations, perceptions, priorities, and aspirations. She is an expert in survey research and the analysis of public opinion, with a particular focus on the relationship between race, gender, media, and political attitudes. Her work has been published in journals that include Social Forces, Political Behavior, Political Psychology and Political Communication, and has been funded by places including the National Science Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation. Mara is the primary investigator of the Puerto Rico Public Opinion Lab (with colleagues Mayra Vélez Serrano and Luis Cámara Fuertes at the University of Puerto Rico), in which the research team is implementing the first representative study of political attitudes in Puerto Rico. During national elections, Mara also works as an analyst at NBC and Telemundo. Mara has an MA and Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania, an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a BA in social work from Rutgers University.

Tonya Burns

Tonya Burns was elected to serve as the sixth ward councilwoman for the City of Flint. Her campaign focus was policy change and community engagement. Her primary attention has been on decreasing crime and blight. She is the first woman to hold the council seat in her ward. She has served as the financial chair and various other committees on the Flint City Council. She previously worked as the liaison to the mayor and in the economic development department as a liaison between businesses and the City of Flint. Her focus was retaining and attracting new business to the City of Flint while providing resources to help strengthen and stabilize Flint's economy. She currently serves on the board of the local chapter of the NAACP as the Economic Development Chairperson. She has a weekly podcast with “Black Money Matters and Be the Change We Need”

Tonya was the first female black owner of an ADT Dealership in the United States. She maintained offices in Flint/Detroit, Michigan and in Chicago, Illinois as one of the top-producing security dealers in the United States. She created a program to give job opportunities to returning citizens from being incarcerated while teaching valuable job skills. She is a community activist, a mentor, and a public servant to the community as well as being committed to improving the community she serves in the City of Flint.

Missy Stults

Dr. Missy Stults is the Sustainability and Innovations Director for the City of Ann Arbor. In
this role, she works with all city operations, residents, businesses, the University of
Michigan, nonprofits, and others to achieve a just transition to community-wide carbon
neutrality by 2030, as outlined in the A 2 ZERO Carbon Neutrality Plan. Prior to joining the
City, Missy worked with cities and tribal communities around the nation to advance their
climate and sustainability goals, including during her time as the Climate Director at ICLEI-
Local Governments for Sustainability and as a consultant to philanthropic organizations.
Missy has a Ph.D. in urban resilience from the University of Michigan, a Master's in Climate
and Society from Columbia University, and undergraduate degrees in Marine Biology and
Environmental Science from the University of New England.

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