Leader of Leaders – 2015 Winners

2015 Winners


Henry Tanaka, LOXVIII and ALI-3 – Artist, Optimist, Advocate, Educator, Leader.  These words are just a few of the many words that describe Henry Tanaka.  Henry’s life story is fascinating and his path is varied and triumphant.  He is considered a bridge builder in the community, in his work as Academic Dean of Art, Design and Humanities at Oakland Community College, and as a member of the Governor’s Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission as well as numerous other organizations.  His life experiences provide him a level of wisdom that translates well into the populations he serves.  For this and much more we honor Henry Tanaka for excellence in PERSONAL LEADERSHIP.


Annie VanGelderen, LOXXIII and ALI-2 – As President and CEO of the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center—or BBAC—Annie VanGelderen has blazed a trail that takes art and leadership to new levels in our region. In addition to building the BBAC into a fiscally healthy and well respected art gallery, gift shop and educational center, Annie’s Leadership has expanded the BBAC to serve the public school systems in Detroit, Pontiac and Southfield with visual arts classes.  They also offer a program for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and other art making sessions for a wide variety of those with distinct needs such as Children’s Village and children with cancer.  For these accomplishments and much more, we honor Annie VanGelderen for excellence in PROFESSIONAL LEADERSHIP.

Kirsten Elliott Formal 2x2 1


Kirsten Elliott, LOXVI – It is hard to tell where Kirsten Elliott’s professional and public life are different.  Kirsten’s passion for serving people with disabilities and those faced with homelessness have driven her to work tirelessly on behalf of those with life challenges.  She has led the redevelopment of the Unity Park neighborhood in Pontiac, is a Vice President at the Community Housing Network, and served for 11 years as the co-chair of the Oakland County Continuum of Care.  She and her son Maxwell who has a disability, are a dynamic team of presenters for those wishing to gain perspective on the challenges and victories of families living with a disability or with one who is disabled.  For these things and much more we honor Kirsten Elliott for excellence in PUBLIC LEADERSHIP.

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