Bishop Edgar L. Vann, Jr.
Chief Executive Officer and Founder
From the board room to the neighborhood, Bishop Edgar L. Vann’s name rises to the top when leadership is discussed in Detroit, Southeast Michigan and beyond. A major contributor to the greater good for Detroit and communities around the world, Bishop Vann exemplifies the fact that “Community” starts with “empowered people.” Inspiring personal growth and transformational change to both secular and faith-based audiences across the globe, Bishop Vann fulfills his life purpose as he serves in business and civic arenas and faith-based and motivational platforms.
Serving as senior pastor and CEO of Second Ebenezer Church since 1976, Vann has carried forth the legacy of his father who was a noted religious leader in Detroit for more than 50 years. When Bishop Vann first arrived, Second Ebenezer was a small eastside church on the verge of insolvency and foreclosure. Today, Second Ebenezer is home to thousands of members and partners across the world.
In 1995, Bishop Vann founded Vanguard Community Development Corporation to strengthen the north-end community in Detroit. Over the years, Vanguard has invested more than $65 million in housing, redeveloped commercial property, community development and youth programs.
Bishop Vann has extensive involvement with community organizations including: Mosaic Youth Theater, Wayne State University’s Research & Technology Park, The Skillman Foundation, Detroit Regional Chamber, Michigan Coalition of Human Rights, Detroit Institute of Arts, Henry Ford Health, Commissioner for the Detroit Police Department, Habitat for Humanity and the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. He has also served as consultant and adviser to governors, mayors, civic officials and corporate executives throughout Michigan.
He is a graduate of Wayne State University and the University of Detroit.
Dr. Bertram Marks, Esq.
DEI Co-Founder, Litigation Associates, PLLC Chair, Attorney
Dr. Bertram Marks, Esq., D. Minn., has been a practicing trial lawyer for 28 years. His practice includes product liability, medical malpractice, ecclesiastical law, corporate law, civil rights, personal injury and white-collar criminal defense. He attended Michigan State University’s James Madison School of Government, earned a political science degree from Wayne State University and a law degree from the University of Detroit. Dr. Marks also earned a master’s degree in divinity and a doctorate degree in ministry from the Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit.
Dr. Marks serves as chairman of the Litigation Associates Trial Law Firm. As a trial attorney, he has litigated cases throughout the U.S., practicing in Michigan, Kentucky, Texas, Ohio, Louisiana and Mississippi. He serves as a senior-level consultant to major organizations, Fortune 1000 corporations and educational institutions. He provides advice and counsel on issues ranging from social and economic justice to corporate citizenship and civic responsibility. He also serves as chief legal officer of the faith-based Genetic Research Institute.
Dr. Marks formerly served as president of The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) board of directors, Michigan Civil Rights Commissioner, general legal counsel to the Council of Baptist Pastors and legal analyst for WMXD-Detroit.