Chanell Scott Contreras is the Executive Director of ProsperUs Detroit. Since taking on the role in 2015, Chanell has led tremendous growth in organizational capacity, access to capital, program delivery, and the development of resources to foster equitable outcomes.
Under Chanell’s leadership, ProsperUs Detroit was spun off from an existing nonprofit into a successful standalone operation. In 2021, the organization was formally certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), established a relationship with the Credit Builders Alliance, improved internal systems and processes, and built an intentional organizational culture rooted in radical support of the people they serve.
Chanell has over 15 years of experience in community economic development and facilitating innovative partnerships to advance equitable opportunities in employment, entrepreneurship, and access to resources. Chanell is an alumnus of National Urban Fellows, where she was a community economic development fellow and consultant to The Cleveland Foundation. Before that, Chanell co-founded and led Guffly, a fair-trade and eco-friendly eCommerce company featuring products from over 100 artisans, small businesses, and cooperatives worldwide. Through her experience at Guffly, she learned about the challenges that aspiring entrepreneurs must overcome, and the importance of having practical support and funding to help them become successful.
Chanell and the ProsperUs Detroit team focus on disrupting inequitable systems in support of the rich culture of entrepreneurship that persists in neighborhoods. Harboring a staunch belief in the vision, skills, and determination of community members—when successfully and intentionally supported—these new business leaders will transform the future and serve as points of inspiration to others aspiring to do the same.
Chanell received her Bachelor’s from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and a Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College. As the only Black, woman leader of a CDFI in all of Michigan, Chanell inspires other women leaders and people of color as an example of perseverance and compassion.
Charlene Donelson is the Programs Director of ProsperUs Detroit. She is responsible for overseeing the training, business services and financial coaching program.
Prior to joining ProsperUs Detroit in April 2022, Charlene was the Program Director for Urban Alliance. During her time in this role, Charlene led the organization’s daily operations, supervised and managed program recruitment, cultivated and maintained relationships with Detroit Public Schools and community partner organizations to enhance support and resources, and oversaw programmatic budgets.
Charlene earned her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Detroit Mercy. Her favorite thing about being a part of ProsperUs Detroit is the approach the organization takes to their work, and how she’s able to marry both her personal and professional values by supporting her community and making an impact. Charlene believes that being radically supportive is more than just a mission, it’s how she and her colleagues operate daily with each entrepreneur they encounter.
Charlene is motivated by her children and is proud that she can show them non-traditional job and career opportunities that will hopefully inspire their journeys in the future.
When she’s not working, Charlene enjoys spending time with her children, baking, going to wine tastings, and visiting the tastiest brunch spots in town.
Christina Foster is the Business Services Manager at ProsperUs Detroit. She is responsible for fortifying and growing the organization’s relationship with training graduates and borrowers, facilitating technical assistance projects and practical coaching, and enhancing Business Services programming.
Prior to joining ProsperUs Detroit in January 2022, Christina was the Human Resources Manager for Emergency Responses, Inc. where she oversaw new hire orientation, training, and development, as well as the daily policies and procedures.
Christina holds a Bachelor of Arts in Family Community Services with a specialization in Child & Youth Development from Michigan State University and a Master of Business Administration from Keller Graduate School of Management. Both Christina’s educational and work experiences allow her to help ProsperUs Detroit entrepreneurs overcome any hurdles they may face while working to start or expand their businesses. As someone with an entrepreneurial spirit herself, Christina knows firsthand what it takes to run a company and can support the organization’s members with intention, empathy and understanding.
Christina is motivated by her son, who pushes her to be better in everything she does. When she’s not working, Christina likes to practice mindfulness by meditating and exercising. She also loves to spend time with her family friends, travel, and attend networking events to meet new people.
Christopher Dargin is the Financial Coach for ProsperUs Detroit. He is responsible for helping to coach the organization’s small business owners and entrepreneurs on their personal and business finances.
Before he joined ProsperUs Detroit in September 2022, Christopher was the Vice President of Investments, Private Client Advisor for JP Morgan Chase. Within this role, he helped his clientele with their personal investments.
Christopher earned both his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration from Wayne State University. Additionally, he is the holder of Series 7 and Series 66 licenses. Christopher is no stranger to hard work, and as a result, he has seen much success in his field. He’s been recognized by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago for his work on Faster Payments research with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is a fintech startup consultant, and is the founder and CEO of Adaptive Radiance, a tech-enabled furniture shopping experience.
Christopher is motivated by his family and the understanding that we can all change our lives through our thoughts. He loves the fact that his role at ProsperUs Detroit allows him to have a direct impact on the lives of small business owners by helping them change their financial trajectory.
When he’s not helping entrepreneurs accomplish their financial goals, Christopher loves reading. He’s in the middle of reading 4 books and reads 10-15 articles a day on a variety of topics.
Emeric Dongmo is the Portfolio Manager at ProsperUs Detroit. He is responsible for closing and servicing loans, restructuring troubled loans, sending reports to the Credit Builders Alliance, and managing the organization’s portfolio management software.
Before becoming a part of the ProsperUs Detroit team in 2020, Emeric worked with Renkim Corporation, a leader in the financial and mission-critical documents industry for credit, collection, healthcare, and automotive companies.
Emeric holds a Bachelor’s in Economics with a major in Management Sciences from the University of Dschang-Cameroon as well as a Master’s in International Relations with a major in International Banking, Money and Finance from The International Relations Institute of Cameroon at the University of Yaounde II-Cameroon. He is motivated by the community that ProsperUs serves and enjoys how his team pushes him to be creative when coming up with solutions to meet borrowers where they are.
When he’s not immersed with numbers, Emeric enjoys participating in faith-building activities, playing soccer, traveling, and listening to music.
Emily Sioma is the Executive Assistant for ProsperUs Detroit. She is responsible for handling the organization’s invoicing and payment requests, Board of Director relations, and capacity calendar.
Prior to joining ProsperUs Detroit in August 2021, Emily worked as a community organizer in Detroit, where she was involved with recruiting, training volunteers, and organizing virtual community events leading up to state and local elections.
Emily began her undergraduate career at the University of Michigan with the intention of pursuing a career in pharmaceuticals, but she quickly realized that her true passion was in women’s studies and sociology. This pivot allowed Emily to study the history of conversations that she was already having outside of class, and she ultimately obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies with a focus on adolescent sexual health.
As the winner of Miss Michigan 2018 and the recipient of the 2019 University of Michigan Athena Award, Emily is no stranger to working hard and taking risks. She is motivated by her friends and family that encourage her to pursue her passions and support her when she’s facing obstacles, fear, or self-doubt.
During her free time, Emily enjoys sewing and altering clothes and playing with her Mini Dachshund, “Jellybean.”
Janae L. Wilson is the Operations Coordinator for ProsperUs Detroit. She is responsible for making sure the systems and policies (such as human resources, information technology, communications, digital marketing, project management, and evaluation & reporting) run smoothly within the organization.
Before joining the ProsperUs Detroit team in May 2022, Janae served as the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Program Intern at the Rock Family of Companies, and more recently worked as the Program Manager at Plug and Play Tech Center Detroit.
Embracing learning and continuous improvement are important pillars in Janae’s life, and her work ethic and Bachelor of Administration degree from Wayne State University are testaments to that. Crediting her history and family as her main sources of motivation, Janae is proud to have come from a village of entrepreneurs and immigrants who keep social justice at the forefront, inspiring her to empower others through the work that she does.
When she’s not helping to manage the daily operations at ProsperUs Detroit, Janae works as the COO of Nur’s Ventures, the CEO of JLW Professional Services, and goes skydiving on occasion.
When I’m not doing work with ProsperUs Detroit, I am #EnjoyingDetroit! Whether that be shopping at Detroit businesses, exploring Eastern Market, riding a MoGo bike around my neighborhood or something else I love Detroit! That is what I like to do when I am not doing the important work we do at ProsperUs Detroit.”
Joanna Dueweke-Perez is the Senior Operations Director at ProsperUs Detroit. She handles the daily functions of various parts of the organization such as program evaluation, human resources, IT, facilities, communications, and reporting. Additionally, Joanna provides oversight and leadership to the training and technical assistance programs aligning practices with the mission and vision of the organization.
Prior to becoming the Senior Operations Director at the organization in April 2021, Joanna served as ProsperUs Detroit’s Program Manager from 2016-2018 and later worked as the Professional Service Network Manager for TechTown Detroit from 2018 to March 2021. In this role, Joanna was tasked with facilitating 1-1 coaching and the “Ask an Expert” program, as well as overseeing alumni engagement. She also co-created TechTown’s Systems Innovation Department and was later promoted to the Systems Innovation Director where she collaborated with TechTown’s leadership team to develop sustainable systems to promote data-driven operations and program execution and analysis.
Joanna holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Michigan State University and a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) in Information Management and User Experience from Wayne State University. As someone who is passionate about equitable economic development and community building, Joanna is motivated by justice, and is proud of the work that ProsperUs Detroit does to support innovative and inspiring entrepreneurs who have historically been underserved.
When she’s not busy making sure that everything at ProsperUs Detroit is running smoothly, Joanna enjoys participating in board sports (snowboarding, longboarding, and paddleboarding to name a few!), reading, gardening, traveling to new places, and spending time with her family.
LeRobert Johnson is a Loan Officer for ProsperUs Detroit. He is responsible for helping entrepreneurs and business owners fund their ventures, which in turn allows them to grow their microenterprises.
Prior to joining the ProsperUs Detroit team in November 2022, LeRobert worked in Public Service for over 20 years. Some of his previous positions include working at Selfridge Air Base and serving as a communications liaison for the Detroit Fire Department, where he was responsible for the dispatch of all emergency calls made through the 911 system.
LeRobert earned his Bachelor’s from Northwood University and his Master’s from the University of Phoenix. Additionally, he is a nationally registered EMT and has certifications in both economic development and entrepreneurial leadership. LeRobert loves his role at ProsperUs because of the comradery and the organization’s mission. He enjoys being able to help others succeed and grow, all while impacting their lives and communities.
Owning and maintaining a successful small business are familiar concepts to LeRobert, as he is a business owner himself. His fragrance & brand scenting agency, Rooftop Candle Co., has a working partnership with Goldman Sachs in New York City and was even featured in Oprah’s O Magazine as one of 25 “Best Black-Owned Candle Companies.”
When LeRobert is not occupied with work, he enjoys playing chess, taking road trips with his family, working on his fragrance agency, and collecting action figures and comics.
Matthew Bihun is the Lending Director at ProsperUs Detroit. He is responsible for providing strategic direction and leadership regarding how capital is developed within the organization and deployed to entrepreneurs. He is also responsible for building and sustaining ProsperUs Detroit’s network of partners and collaborators by developing and nurturing relationships with lenders, community organizations, and other stakeholders.
Before Matthew joined the ProsperUs Detroit team in February 2013 he worked at the Southwest Detroit Business Association where he was responsible for helping to manage the Business Improvement District, commercial real estate assets, and the Nuisance Abatement and Code Enforcement Program. Matthew obtained his Bachelor’s degree from Fordham University with a major in Urban Studies and a minor in African American Studies and his Master’s in Community Development from University of Detroit Mercy.
Motivated by the entrepreneurs that he meets through the organization, Matthew loves that his role allows him to develop genuine relationships with such innovative and aspirational people and enjoys playing a supporting role in helping to make their dreams come true.
During his free time, Matthew enjoys visiting National Parks and Monuments, owning and operating his own small businesses, renovating historic houses, reading, podcasting, collecting vinyl records, and spending time with his family, friends, and dog.
Shakir Bralock is a Loan Officer at ProsperUs Detroit. He is responsible for working directly with entrepreneurs and business owners who have applied for a business loan. Additionally, he underwrites business loan applications and presents them monthly to loan committees.
Prior to joining the ProsperUs Detroit team in March 2022, Shakir served as a Branch Manager for Flagstar Bank, where he was responsible for managing a team of bankers and increasing sales and operations at a banking center.
As a Western Michigan University alum with a Bachelor of Business Administration and former experience in the financial industry, Shakir is well-equipped with the knowledge and skillset needed to assist local entrepreneurs with their lending needs.
Shakir enjoys working alongside a group of passionate and caring professionals that are working to create equitable access to capital and technical services for entrepreneurs. He is motivated by his wife and children and is determined to create opportunities for them that he didn’t have growing up.
When he’s not busy underwriting loans, Shakir enjoys spending time with his family, running his food truck business, and traveling to NFL stadiums across the country.
Shannon Warren is the Training Manager at ProsperUs Detroit. She is responsible for managing our training program from start to finish; assuring that ProsperUs Detroit entrepreneurs have all that they need to be successful in the program.
Shannon joined the ProsperUs Detroit team in 2020 during the midst of the pandemic. Her vast background in leadership, communications and customer service supports her when it comes to collaborating with the organization’s community partners and helping them accomplish their goals and embark on new endeavors.
As a self-proclaimed “natural born people magnet,” Shannon loves meeting innovative creatives who are on a mission to pursue their dreams. She is motivated by purpose-driven work and her three adult children who are all on paths to entrepreneurship themselves. Additionally, Shannon loves learning more about peoples’ individual journeys and figuring out how she can be of support to those that need her.
When she’s not busy running the training program and supporting local entrepreneurs, Shannon loves listening to music, traveling, planning, and hosting events, and making gift baskets for her loved ones.
Siobhan Barrett is a Loan Officer for ProsperUs Detroit. She is responsible for collaborating with small businesses and entrepreneurs of color to help them access capital and invest in the growth of their microenterprises.
Before Siobhan joined ProsperUs Detroit in November 2022, she worked with Rocket Mortgage as a Senior Mortgage Banker where she was tasked with presenting, evaluating, and selling valuable financial solutions to clients across the country. Siobhan also owns her own business, Siobhan Barrett Lingerie, and handles all the design, product development, marketing, client services, and manufacturing.
The Pratt Institute alumna holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Fashion Design and is a federally licensed mortgage officer in 18 states. Siobhan’s passion for small businesses and micro-economies is evident. So much so that she was the recipient of Rocket Mortgage’s “Love Our Clients” Award and received multiple prestigious team awards during her time at Rocket.
Siobhan is motivated by her community and the prospect of creating a more equitable ecosystem for the people within it. She is also motivated by her children – everything she does is to create a life for them that will allow them to experience the world.
When she’s not busy working with ProsperUs entrepreneurs, Siobhan enjoys sewing & designing, hosting & attending photo shoots, going to the skate park with her children, traveling, reading, and doing physical activities like Olympic weightlifting and hiking.