LEAD 2022 Speakers

Check back for new speakers—added every week!

Evening Chapel Speakers

Lorenzo Sewell - Week 1
Lorenzo Sewell was born and raised in Detroit, MI. As a result of his father going to prison and his younger brother being killed, Lorenzo became heavily involved in drugs and became a gang leader. On April 18th, 1999 during his senior year at Fraser High School he had a “Damascus Road,” encounter with Christ that set his heart on fire. He immediately started winning souls to Christ and began formally preaching in 2000, attending Bible school and discovering a love for apologetics and business. Lorenzo accepted a position at Straight Gate Church International in Detroit, and in 2010 was called into a coaching ministry focusing on leading pastors in establishing a culture of prayer. This led to his position as Pastor of the Woodside Pontiac Campus and Director of the Dream Center.  In January 2019, he was called to a new position as Lead Servant of Evangel Ministries in his hometown of Detroit.  Lorenzo is happily married with three beautiful children. 
Mary Grace Braatz - Week 1

Public Speaker; Founder, LEGIT.

Mary Grace Braatz graduated from Michigan State University with a B.S. in Communications, and worked in Marketing for Fortune 500 company Time Inc. (She especially enjoyed working with Sports Illustrated—she’s a big sports fan!) After having her four children, she decided to give homeschooling a try! She has since become a busy inspirational/motivational speaker, both writing for and speaking on many different topics such as the Pro-Life issue, Parenting, Trauma, Finding your Identity, Adoption, and Homeschooling. She also founded a Women’s group called LEGIT which stands for Ladies Encountering God in the Trenches. She loves the Lord, enjoys following politics, and is thrilled to be speaking with all of the future world-changers at the Student Statesmanship Institute!

Blaine Schultz - Week 1

Chief Operating Officer at Advance Employment

Blaine Schultz grew up in Midland, Michigan in the 1970’s and 1980’s. While he left that small town in 1982 for Michigan State University and he still resides in the Lansing area 40 years later, he never left his small town roots. Blaine and his wife Laura (married 1991) have 3 children, Rachel (married to Zachary), Isaac (married to Taylor), and Derick (still single), 2 dogs, 2 “grand dogs,” and are convinced they will be awesome grandparents if (when) they get the opportunity.

Blaine has been in the staffing industry for 31 years and he and Laura are the majority shareholders of a staffing company called Advance Employment, which was founded in Lansing in 1989. The Advance corporate credo is: Serve first, Serve without exception, Forgive without condition, Trust – but verify, Work matters, Work provides dignity and self-respect; WE PUT PEOPLE TO WORK.

Charleston Day - Week 2

Senior Pastor of The R.O.A.D. Church

Charleston Anthony Day was born and raised in Pontiac, Michigan. After graduating from Pontiac Central High School, he studied sociology, theology, and music at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. He also attended Birmingham Bible Institute and took several courses in urban ministry through Youth For Christ Institute. Since being called to the ministry 23 years ago, Pastor Day’s passion for winning souls and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ has remained constant. Many communities have recognized his ministry, especially his work with young people.

 

Currently, he serves as Director of City Life Detroit, Director of Juvenile Justice Ministry, and the Senior Pastor of The R.O.A.D. Church in Detroit. He is also a member of the Detroit police Chaplain Corps, an active board member for Incarcerated Youth Ministry, and a platform artist and speaker for Prison Fellowship International that has allowed him to minister in over 93 prisons in 13 states. Pastor Charleston Day is a community advocate, husband, father, grandfather and Entrepreneur. He is an anointed Man of God and has truly seen the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in his life. Pastor Day strongly believes he is God’s CHOSEN ONE!

Coye L. Bouyer - Week 2

Pastor, Kingdom Life Church

Coye L. Bouyer is the pastor of Kingdom Life Church in Lansing, Michigan. He works in the ministry alongside his wife, Keturah, whom he has been married to for 21 years.  Pastor Bouyer graduated from Western Michigan University in 2001 with his Bachelor’s in Social Work.  While at WMU, Pastor Bouyer ran track on a scholarship with the Men’s Track Team.  Also, while at WMU, he married his long-time middle school friend Keturah Sudduth.

Having been called to the ministry at the age of 17, Pastor Coye fondly remembers the countless number of people who encouraged him along the way, which is why when he graduated from Dallas Seminary in 2005, he returned back home to Lansing, MI where in 2008 he started up Kingdom Life Church.  Passionate about his relationship with the LORD, Pastor Coye Bouyer has committed himself and his life to preaching the Gospel, developing disciples, and advancing God’s Kingdom.

Anthony Weber - Week 2

Pastor and Teacher – Northwestern Michigan College

In addition to being a pastor for the past 17 years, Anthony Weber was an English, Logic, and Comparative Worldviews teacher at Traverse City Christian school from 1997 until 2017. He currently teaches a Contemporary Ethical Dilemmas class at Northwestern Michigan College along with his pastoral work.

A lot of Anthony’s life revolves around seeking to engage a wide variety of people in conversation that is bold, honest, and true when it comes to issues of life: God, morality, politics, the church, etc. Anthony blogs on worldview and church issues at empiresandmangers.blogspot.com; he podcasts with two other friends at Breaking the Surface (on Spotify, Pocket Casts, Radio Public, and Google Podcasts)

Hobbies: napping, drinking coffee, writing, reading, and ineffectively trying to avoid arguments on Facebook.

Anthony married up, as everyone in his life will attest. He and wife, Sheila, have been married 31 years and have three boys: AJ (25), Braden (21), and Vincent (15).

Tim Van Loh - Week 3

Pastor for Outreach at South Church

Pastor Tim Van Loh comes to us from Lansing, Michigan, where he is the Pastor for Outreach at South Church. He was raised in Minnesota, and after graduating from Seminary moved to Japan for nine years where he and his wife, Naomi, worked as English teachers and started an international church. They returned to Minnesota in 2004 with Lily and Isaac and then moved to Michigan in 2009 to pastor Grove Bible Church. From 2014-2018 he was the Chief Operating Officer at Student Statesmanship Institute. He is passionate about the book of Ephesians and in particular the theme of racial reconciliation. Tim enjoys exercising, reading, taking walks with his wife, and visiting Mackinaw City. Both of his kids and his son-in-law, Alex Telloyan, have attended SSI as students and volunteered at SSI as ADCs.

House & Senate Track Speakers & Coaches

Joseph Cecil - Instructor

President, Student Statesmanship Institute

Joseph Cecil serves as the President at SSI and is an alumni of the SSI LEAD Summer Program. Previously, he worked in the Michigan House of Representatives as a Legislative Director and Member Advisor. He has also been privileged to work with many local and statewide campaigns. Joseph is passionate about empowering young people and equipping them to be effective leaders in their communities.

Joseph has been married to Charlie Ann since 2015 and together they are raising two dynamic boys. Outside of the office Joseph enjoys spending time with family and is an active member of his church, his community, and Michigan’s political landscape.

Aimee Chauvin - Senate Instructor

Programs Coordinator – Student Statesmanship Institute

Aimee has been working with SSI since 2015 as the Director of Programs.  Before hiring on, she had attended SSI as a student twice and volunteered as an ADC for four years.  Aimee has experience as a tutor, and for five years after graduating high school she worked with homeschool groups and co-ops offering classes in math, English, speech, debate, and American Sign Language.  She loves helping people understand things which is why the environment at LEAD is so perfect for her.  Aimee also enjoys coaching the Lansing area homeschool junior high soccer team (LA Dragons) and playing music in her spare time (especially show tunes). 

Anthony Weber - Worldview Instructor

Pastor and Teacher – Northwestern Michigan College

In addition to being a pastor for the past 17 years, Anthony Weber was an English, Logic, and Comparative Worldviews teacher at Traverse City Christian school from 1997 until 2017. He currently teaches a Contemporary Ethical Dilemmas class at Northwestern Michigan College along with his pastoral work.

A lot of Anthony’s life revolves around seeking to engage a wide variety of people in conversation that is bold, honest, and true when it comes to issues of life: God, morality, politics, the church, etc. Anthony blogs on worldview and church issues at empiresandmangers.blogspot.com; he podcasts with two other friends at Breaking the Surface (on Spotify, Pocket Casts, Radio Public, and Google Podcasts)

Hobbies: napping, drinking coffee, writing, reading, and ineffectively trying to avoid arguments on Facebook.

Anthony married up, as everyone in his life will attest. He and wife, Sheila, have been married 31 years and have three boys: AJ (25), Braden (21), and Vincent (15).

Sen. Lana Theis- "Civility in Politics Speaker" Week 1

Michigan State Senator

State Senator Lana Theis was elected to the Michigan Senate in 2019 and represents Livingston and Washtenaw counties. She attended California State University Fullerton where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry. She was elected treasurer of Brighton Township in 2008 and was re-elected in 2012. Theis has served on the Brighton Planning Commission and Brighton Area Fire Authority. She was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in November of 2014 and represented the city of Brighton and the townships of Brighton, Genoa, Green Oak, Hamburg and Putnam as well as serving as the chair of the Insurance Committee and Education Committee and vice chair of the Regulatory Reform Committee. Theis and her husband Sam have two children, Jacob and Gabrielle.

Lennie Mailand - Worldview Instructor

For nearly forty years, Mr. Mailand has worked in the field of education at the college and secondary level as an administrator, teacher, and coach. He has taught classes in a variety of subjects including Bible, apologetics, history, government, and comparative world-views. Along the way, he was able to attend seminars conducted by Dr. David Nobel, founder of Summit Ministries. In his own teaching he has utilized an adaptation of the “Understanding the Times” curriculum. His other contributions have included curriculum development, teacher training, and coaching where his teams have recently won three National Homeschool Soccer Championships.

The Honorable Richard Bernstein- "Civility in Politics" Speaker Week 2

Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court

Justice Richard Bernstein became the first elected blind justice to the Michigan Supreme Court in November 2014. Prior to being elected to Michigan’s highest court, Justice Bernstein was known as a tireless advocate for disabled rights heading the public service division for The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. Blind since birth, Justice Bernstein is a graduate of the University of Michigan and earned his JD from Northwestern University School of Law. In his spare time, Justice Bernstein is an avid runner, completing 25 marathons— including fifteen New York City marathons, a full Ironman triathlon, and a half Ironman.

Brian Calley- "Civility in Politics" Speaker Week 2

As President and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan, Brian is able to put his passion for Michigan’s small businesses to work. He serves as a director of a publicly traded community bank and as a Trustee of Oakland University as well as sitting on various boards, including Special Olympics Michigan, Sparrow Health System, Disability Rights Michigan, and the Autism Alliance of Michigan,

Calley had the honor of serving as Michigan’s 63rd Lieutenant Governor from 2011-2018. Prior to that, Calley served in the Michigan House of Representatives, as an Ionia County commissioner, and worked for over a decade in community banking. He holds degrees from Michigan State University (BA), Grand Valley State University (MBA), and Harvard University (MPA).

Calley is an avid runner, having completed more than a dozen full marathons and a capable piano player. He and his wife Julie live in Portland with their three children: Collin, Reagan and Karagan.

Aaron Miller - Civility in Politics Speaker Week 3

Mortgage Lender for Sturgis Bank and Trust, Former Representative

 

Aaron Miller served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 2015 to 2021, representing the 59th district in southwest Michigan.  Interested in politics as a child, Aaron received a teaching degree in 2010 for political science and mathematics.  He taught middle and high school math for four years before serving.  While he was able to pass various bills into law and be part of a significant slice of Michigan history, he considers his greatest accomplishment to have been staying true to himself, his family, his constituents, and his faith in God.  Aaron now works as a mortgage lender for Sturgis Bank and Trust in Sturgis, where he walks to work daily and enjoys being involved in the community.  He now serves on the Sturgis city commission and was elected by his peers to serve as vice-mayor.  He lives with his wife, Alex, and four daughters, Jael, Leah, Anna, and Adah.

Alan Cropsey - House Debate and Communications Speaker

Retired. Former Michigan Senator and Representative

Alan Cropsey earned his B.S. in mathematics education with a minor in composite science from Bob Jones University in 1975 and his J.D. from Cooley Law School in 1978. He was partner in the Kallman & Cropsey law firm, was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the Intergovernmental Advisory Council on Education, and served as Chairman of the Advisory Committee on National Juvenile Justice Reform. In 1986, Cropsey wrote the Criminal Justice section of the Source Book of Model Legislation for the American Legislative Exchange Council. He served in the Michigan House of Representatives from 1979-1982 and 1993-1998, in the State Senate from 1983-1990 and 2003-2010, and as Senate Floor Leader from 2007-2010. Cropsey is married with four children and sixteen grandchildren.

Media Track Speakers & Coaches

Lily Telloyan - Week 3 Instructor

Teacher, The Potter’s School, LifeTech Academy

Lily Telloyan earned her Elementary Education and Teaching All Learners Bachelor’s Degree from Grace College in Indiana. After graduating in 2018, Lily taught special education and ESL at Madison Elementary School in Warsaw, Indiana for two years. Currently, she teaches elementary students online through The Potter’s School and LifeTech Academy. Her favorite quotation, “The end of all learning is to know God, and out of that knowledge, to love and imitate Him,” (Milton), summarizes why she is excited volunteer at LEAD. In addition to teaching, Lily enjoys making handmade cards; playing piano, flute, and guitar; graphic design; and videography. Lily grew up in Japan until she was eight years old and experienced life in a multigenerational household upon moving to the United States. She now lives with her husband, Alex, in Charlotte, Michigan.

Dan Armstrong - Speaker

Corporate Communications Specialist – Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability and Filtering

Dan Armstrong is the corporate communications specialist for Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability and Filtering in Owosso, MI. He handles the public relations and promotion of the company. Prior to his current role, Dan directed the marketing and communications department at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and spent 10 years as a television news anchor and reporter at two NBC stations in Michigan. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Radio and Television Broadcasting from Bob Jones University and master’s degree in Journalism from Regent University. He and his wife Amber have four kids with a fifth on the way.

Colton Wesley - Speaker

Adjunct Professor at Great Lakes Christian College

Colton Wesley is an adjunct professor of English at Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing, Michigan and a sports radio broadcaster for the Lansing Herald. At Great Lakes, he teaches writing and research labs, serves as a tutor, and is the play-by-play voice of GLCC athletics. At the Lansing Herald, he covers the Lansing Lugnuts and is the play-by-play voice for high school football, high school baseball, and Michigan State women’s hockey. Wesley is also a former contributor at Detroit Jock City.

Wesley completed his B.S. in history and theology from GLCC in 2016, graduating with honors. He earned his M.A. in English at the University of Indianapolis in 2021. Wesley plays competitive trading card games, co-hosts the Clock Tower trading card game channel on YouTube, and has published some poetry. He lives in Lansing and is not an alien, time traveler, or esper.

Kendall Wingrove - Speaker

Communications Manager – Michigan State Police Office of Highway Safety Planning

Kendall Wingrove took a position with the Michigan State Police Office of Highway Safety Planning in March of 2015. Kendall was formerly the Senior Writer at Delta Dental since 2011. Before that he worked in the Communications Department of the Senate Republicans, where he started in October 2005 after many years as a press secretary in the Michigan House. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree from Michigan State University. Kendall is also a free-lance historical writer and columnist who is regularly featured on the editorial page of several Michigan newspapers.

Dorie Shelby - Media Coach

Professor of Communication and Media at Spring Arbor University

Prior to coming to SAU, Shelby gained her real-world experience as anchor, producer, and reporter from 1980-89 at WILXTV-10, the NBC affiliate in Lansing, Michigan. From 1989-1995, she was a reporter and Jackson bureau chief for WLNSTV-6, the CBS affiliate in Lansing. After joining the faculty of SAU, she continued working as a freelance reporter for WLAJTV-53, the ABC affiliate in Lansing, and WKHM 970AM radio in Jackson, Michigan.

 

Business Track Speakers & Coaches – Week 1

Gary W. Britten - Track Instructor

Associate Professor of Business, Spring Arbor University

Gary W. Britten is a 1973 graduate of the University of Michigan School of Business and a 1976 graduate of the University of Detroit School of Law. He has been on the faculty of the Gainey School of Business at Spring Arbor University for over thirty years, teaching law, economics, argumentation, and business strategy.

 

Ryan Kolis - Track Instructor

Business Analyst – Doxim

Ryan Kolis is a LEAD alum and attended the Business Track himself when he was a student.  Ryan studied Business at Macomb Community College and later at Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration. He has worked in the print industry since 2013 and currently works as a Business Analyst with Doxim, a company providing both print and electronic communication solutions to financial institutions and municipalities primarily in the US and Canada.  In his spare time Ryan enjoys working on home improvement projects, and expanding his handyman skill set while he renovates his home in Fraser, MI.

Joseph Cecil - Speaker

President, Student Statesmanship Institute

Joseph Cecil serves as the President at SSI and is an alumni of the SSI LEAD Summer Program. Previously, he worked in the Michigan House of Representatives as a Legislative Director and Member Advisor. He has also been privileged to work with many local and statewide campaigns. Joseph is passionate about empowering young people and equipping them to be effective leaders in their communities.

Joseph has been married to Charlie Ann since 2015 and together they are raising two dynamic boys. Outside of the office Joseph enjoys spending time with family and is an active member of his church, his community, and Michigan’s political landscape.

Blaine Schultz - Speaker

Chief Operating Officer at Advance Employment

Blaine Schultz grew up in Midland, Michigan in the 1970’s and 1980’s. While he left that small town in 1982 for Michigan State University and he still resides in the Lansing area 40 years later, he never left his small town roots. Blaine and his wife Laura (married 1991) have 3 children, Rachel (married to Zachary), Isaac (married to Taylor), and Derick (still single), 2 dogs, 2 “grand dogs,” and are convinced they will be awesome grandparents if (when) they get the opportunity.

Blaine has been in the staffing industry for 31 years and he and Laura are the majority shareholders of a staffing company called Advance Employment, which was founded in Lansing in 1989. The Advance corporate credo is: Serve first, Serve without exception, Forgive without condition, Trust – but verify, Work matters, Work provides dignity and self-respect; WE PUT PEOPLE TO WORK.

Cassandra Opper - Speaker

Supervisor and Corporate Web Services at Auto-Owners Insurance

Cassandra Opper (AINS, API) works for Auto-Owners Insurance, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Lansing, Michigan. Over the past 8 years, she’s held positions in several divisions including underwriting, Human Resources, and marketing/sales. She is currently managing a team of 11 business analysts and quality analysts who work on the company’s customer-facing digital assets including the website and mobile app. Cassandra is passionate about the role insurance plays in helping put people’s lives back together and about working each day to develop future leaders within the company.

Cassandra and her husband (Zak Weston) are both SSI LEAD alum and enjoy investing in the next generation’s future leaders.

Mock Trial Speakers & Coaches – Week 2

Scott Robe, Esq - Track Instructor

Scott M. Robe, Esq., earned an A.B. degree summa cum laude in History at Ohio University in 1984. He received a Master of Public Policy and a Juris Doctor degree from Regent University in 1986 and 1989 respectively. He passed the Virginia Bar Exam in 1989, the District of Columbia exam in 1990, and the Ohio exam in 1991, and is admitted to practice in each of those jurisdictions.

Kerry Lee Morgan, Esq - Speaker

Attorney

Kerry Lee Morgan is an Attorney admitted to practice in Michigan, Virginia, the District of Columbia as well as the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan, U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court. He formerly served as an Attorney-Advisor with the United States Commission on Civil Rights in Washington D.C.  In addition to practicing law, since 1980, Mr. Morgan has also written a number of thought-provoking articles in the areas of natural law and unalienable rights. He completed an extensive legal review of religious liberty principles and Supreme Court cases titled, Unalienable Rights, Equality and The Free Exercise of Religion. In 1997, University Press of America published his book, Real Choice, Real Freedom in American Education, a scholarly work that articulates the legal and Constitutional case for parental rights and against governmental control of American Education. He has been nominated every year since 2017 as a Super Lawyer in Municipal law, an honor reserved for the top 5% of Michigan attorneys.

The Honorable Michael Schipper - Judge

The Honorable Michael Schipper was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to the Barry County District Court in July of 2011.  He was elected by the people of Barry County in 2012 and served a 6-year term. After earning an economics degree from Hope College in 1985 and going on graduate from The Ohio State University College of Law in 1988, Judge Schipper began his legal career in Grand Rapids at the Clary Nantz law firm.  He also acted as the prosecutor for the City of Kentwood and served for 20 years in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Grand Rapids.  Judge Schipper’s most cherished accomplishments, however, come from his work with kids.  He has coached sports for over 20 years.  He currently coaches both football and swimming at Hastings High School.  He also is a regular speaker at all of the schools in Barry County and shares about topics such as teen crime, leadership, the proper role of a judge in our system of government, and the Constitution.  

Moot Court Speakers & Coaches – Week 2

Jonathan Robe, Esq - Track Instructor

Jonathan E. Robe earned a B.S.M.E. degree summa cum laude in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio University and a Juris Doctor degree from Duke University School of Law.  He is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the District of Columbia, and the State of Ohio.  He is also registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, where he focuses his practice on electro-mechanical and medical device technologies.  He practiced for a number of years at a large firm in D.C. but now practices under his father, Scott Robe.  He resides in Athens, Ohio with his wife and two young children.  His favorite book is The Development of the Flour-Milling Industry in the United States, With Special Reference to the Industry in Minneapolis by Charles B. Kuhlman.

The Honorable Stephen Markman

Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court

Justice Stephen Markman served on the Michigan Supreme Court for more than 20 years, including as its Chief Justice.  Prior to that, he served as the United States Attorney, or federal prosecutor, in Michigan; as Assistant Attorney General of the United States (where he coordinated the federal judicial selection process for President Ronald Reagan); and as the Chief Counsel of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution.  He has also taught constitutional law at Hillsdale College for nearly thirty years and spoken before hundreds of youth, civic, charitable, and legal groups throughout Michigan and nationally.  He is married with two grown children and five grandchildren and lives in Mason.

Bill Schuette

Former Attorney General

Bill Schuette attended Georgetown University and completed his Juris Doctorate at University of San Francisco School of Law in 1979. He has 35 years of experience in federal and state government across several different roles, such as being a Representative in U.S. Congress (1985-1991), the Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture (1991-1994), a Michigan Senator (1995-2002), a judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals (2003-2008), and the Michigan Attorney General (2011-2018). He is currently leveraging his expertise in public policy as well as in issue and crisis management to benefit private and public sector organizations. Bill and his wife, Cynthia, live in Midland, Michigan. They have two adult children, Heidi and Bill.

The Honorable David Viviano

Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court

David F. Viviano is the 109th Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. Justice Viviano previously served as Chief Judge of the Macomb County Circuit and Probate Courts. He was elected to the Circuit Court in 2006 and again in 2012, and during that time presided over both civil and criminal cases. In 2008, then-Judge Viviano worked with a small group of judges to test reforms to Michigan’s jury system. A number of these reforms were adopted and are now being used throughout Michigan. Because of their efforts, Justice Viviano and his colleagues received a national award for jury innovation.

 

Before becoming a judge, he founded his own law firm in Mt. Clemens, Viviano & Viviano PLLC. He also served as City Attorney for the City of Center Line. Justice Viviano received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Hillsdale College and his Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School. Justice Viviano and his wife, Neran, live in Sterling Heights with their four children.

The Honorable Elizabeth Welch

Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court

Justice Elizabeth M. Welch joined the Michigan Supreme Court on January 1, 2021.  She currently serves as the Justice Liaison on data gathering and transparency in the civil, criminal, and juvenile justice systems. She received her law degree from Ohio State University and her undergraduate degree from Penn State University. After law school, she practiced labor/employment law at large law firms located in Louisville, KY and Grand Rapids, MI, prior to starting her own law practice. Justice Welch is a trained mediator and volunteered for many years with the West Michigan Dispute Resolution Center. She has been a member of numerous professional and non-profit boards. Prior to her joining the Supreme Court, Justice Welch devoted 15 years to public education advocacy and voting rights. She has received several awards in recognition for her public school and other community work. She and her husband Brian Schwartz live in Grand Rapids and have four adult children.   

The Honorable Brian Zahra

Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court

Justice Brian K. Zahra was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court on January 14, 2011 by Governor Rick Snyder. Prior to serving on the Supreme Court, he served 12 years on the Michigan Court of Appeals and 4 years on the Wayne County Circuit Court. He is currently a Distinguished Fellow at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, MI and has previously served as a Senior Fellow of Law and Public Policy at the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus. He was appointed chair of the Justice for All Commission in 2021 and currently serves as the Supreme Court’s liaison to Michigan Business Courts, which currently operate within 17 circuit courts. Justice Zahra is also involved with many civic and charitable organizations. He resides in Northville Township with his wife Suzanne and their two children.

Campaign Track Speakers & Coaches – Week 3

Matt Sowash - Speaker

Lobbyist, Michigan Legislative Consultants

Matt Sowash is a lobbyist with the multi-client firm Michigan Legislative Consultants with a variety of corporate clients, associations, and non-profits.  

Prior to joining MLC, Matt served as legislative director and the point person on policy with the House Commerce and Trade Committee. Matt was integral in setting the committee strategy and moving policy development through the committee. He quickly developed a reputation of being able to get things done and is known for his trust and results-driven attitude. Matt’s experience working daily with multiple legislators in the Michigan House of Representatives positions him as a genuine and impactful lobbyist. Matt also held other positions in the State House and was an analyst with the legislative corrections ombudsman. 

As an entrepreneur, Matt started Sowash Strategies, a political consulting firm based in Lansing, Michigan. Matt worked with over 15 House and Senate candidates during the 2014 election, winning elections with over 90 percent of the legislators he consulted. 

Matt holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Economics from Calvin College and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Michigan State University. 

Outside of work, Matt likes spending time outdoors, hunting, fishing, and golfing. He is also an avid sports fan and enjoys playing hockey. Matt, his wife Megan, daughter Madelyn, and son Henry reside in Delta Township on the west side of Lansing. 

Lily Telloyan - Speaker

Teacher, The Potter’s School, LifeTech Academy

Lily Telloyan earned her Elementary Education and Teaching All Learners Bachelor’s Degree from Grace College in Indiana. After graduating in 2018, Lily taught special education and ESL at Madison Elementary School in Warsaw, Indiana for two years. Currently, she teaches elementary students online through The Potter’s School and LifeTech Academy. Her favorite quotation, “The end of all learning is to know God, and out of that knowledge, to love and imitate Him,” (Milton), summarizes why she is excited volunteer at LEAD. In addition to teaching, Lily enjoys making handmade cards; playing piano, flute, and guitar; graphic design; and videography. Lily grew up in Japan until she was eight years old and experienced life in a multigenerational household upon moving to the United States. She now lives with her husband, Alex, in Charlotte, Michigan.

Frankie Dame - Debate Panelist

Majority Legal Counsel for the Michigan House of Representatives

Frankie is from West Branch, Michigan (a tiny town up north). He has seven younger sisters and two wonderful parents and is married to his lovely wife Kelsey. He was homeschooled through high school in a strong Christian home and attended SSI four times: once in the House and three times in the media track. He graduated with a BA in Political Science from Thomas Edison State University and a J.D. from MSU law school. During law school, Frankie was on the law review and moot court and interned for the DOJ in Washington, D.C. the UN in the Netherlands, and a judge and several other political figures in Lansing. After law school he clerked for a few years for a federal judge in Detroit, writing opinions and memos for the judge. He then litigated at law firms for three years before joining the Michigan House of Representatives as Majority Legal Counsel in summer 2021.  

Kelsey Dame - Debate Panelist

Attorney with Warner Norcross & Judd

Kelsey is from Grandville, Michigan. She has four siblings and two (equally!) wonderful parents. She double majored in Spanish and Psychology at Hope College. During law school (where she and Frankie met), she interned at a county prosecutor’s office and a premier Michigan law firm. She joined that law firm right after graduating and currently practices labor and employment law and criminal defense.  She and Frankie now live just outside Grand Rapids. In her spare time, Kelsey loves to travel internationally (she’s been to over 30 countries!), hang out with friends, and watch and read all the true crime stories she can get her hands on.    

Anna Liz Nichols - Debate Panelist

Journalist, The Associated Press

Anna is an award-winning reporter for The Associated Press whose work has been seen in The Washington Post, Detroit Free PressPBSCNN, and other news outlets. Anna’s work in government and criminal justice reporting involves robust and investigative stories on sexual and domestic violence, election laws, and government accountability. She has attracted an international audience for her stories surrounding topics of violence from the Oxford High School shooting to the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

Alumni Chapel Speakers

Shiloh Carozza- Evening Alumni Speaker Week 2

Engagement Editor (Franklin News Foundation) and Strategic Analyst (The Enhance Team)

Since graduating from Hillsdale College in 2019, Shiloh Carozza has capered about. This capering has yielded two children’s books, one novel, and a curious collection of ambitious screenplays that may or may never be produced. Against all odds, Shiloh does make money. She works as the engagement editor for the Franklin News Foundation, a Chicago-based media company—and also as the strategic analyst at The Enhance Team, a Michigan-based videography company owned by a friend she met at SSI. She has also appeared as a guest writer on the national radio program Our American Stories.

If Shiloh has learned nothing else, it is that storytelling is the singularly most fulfilling and frustrating calling God has given her—fulfilling in that nothing excites her more, and frustrating in that she can’t shake the habit no matter how hard she tries.

Frankie Dame- Evening Alumni Speaker Week 3

Majority Legal Counsel for the Michigan House of Representatives

Frankie is from West Branch, Michigan (a tiny town up north). He has seven younger sisters and two wonderful parents and is married to his lovely wife Kelsey. He was homeschooled through high school in a strong Christian home and attended SSI four times: once in the House and three times in the media track. He graduated with a BA in Political Science from Thomas Edison State University and a J.D. from MSU law school. During law school, Frankie was on the law review and moot court and interned for the DOJ in Washington, D.C. the UN in the Netherlands, and a judge and several other political figures in Lansing. After law school he clerked for a few years for a federal judge in Detroit, writing opinions and memos for the judge. He then litigated at law firms for three years before joining the Michigan House of Representatives as Majority Legal Counsel in summer 2021.

LEAD is a week-long, hands-on leadership experience for high school students that empowers them to change their world. Click here to learn more about how you can attend LEAD this summer!

Week 1: June 26-July 1, 2022

Week 2: July 10-15, 2022

Week 3: July 24-29, 2022

For media inquiries, please contact James Muffett at 517-321-6233 or james@ssionline.org.

Past Speakers

Each week of camp, students hear from and are coached by experts in the legislative, media, business, judicial, and campaign fields. Past speakers and coaches have included…

 

Greg Kelley

Executive Director of World Mission

Brian Calley

Lt. Governor of Michigan

Abdu Murray

North American Director, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries

The Honorable Richard Bernstein

Michigan Supreme Court Justice

Andy Schor

Mayor of Lansing, former State Rep.

Scott Richards

Vice President, Hallmark Tool & Gage