What makes a person a Trailblazer? It could be someone who’s a leader and lifts others along the way. It could be someone you can count on when a problem arises, someone who executes on creative ideas or someone who gives back in extraordinary ways in their community.

Every year during Black History Month, our company’s REACH (Respecting Ethnic & Cultural Heritage) employee resource group gathers to honor DTE employees for their exceptional leadership and mentorship, acknowledging them as trailblazers for establishing pathways of success for others to follow. First up, let’s get to know Henry Sapp.

Henry was born, raised and resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He’s worked with DTE for 23 years out of our Wealthy Station. But his work here is only a part of a much bigger life and mission.

In addition to DTE, Henry is a Christian comedian, CEO of the non-profit Better, Wiser, Stronger Inc., a Kellogg Foundation Fellow, and a We Matter Now Initiative partner. It’s a lot of hats to wear, but Henry says, “Where there is true passion, there will be results.”

Henry has been a comedian for years and believes that laughter is like medicine. He founded his company, Hen Sapp Entertainment, in 2005 and has hosted many comedy shows all over the world, including shows at Gilda’s LaughFest for several years.

His work has a far reach into the community. Years ago, Henry, along with two friends, began having conversations about how they could contribute to strengthening the next generation of young men. In 2013, they formed Better, Wiser, Stronger Inc., and the organization has impacted hundreds of families through reading programs, offering young men’s programming, resources and mentorship, as well as feeding families and the elderly.

Along his journey, in 2018 the Kellogg Foundation selected Henry out of thousands across the world to represent Grand Rapids as a Fellow, enabling him to continue his passion as a leader, youth motivator and community activist. He also collaborated with two other men on the We Matter Now Initiative, funded by the United Way and other partners. The intent is to change the mindset of people looking at our Black and brown boys, from “at risk” to “at potential!”

In 2019, he was awarded the Community Spirit Award by LINC Up. Most recently he was awarded and celebrated as a 2022 Men of Merit in Non-profit Leadership Award from the Theta Chi Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Sorority, Inc.

“If you do things better and make wiser decisions, it will make you a stronger person,” says Henry.

Henry is a devoted son, son-in-law, brother, brother-in-law, father-in-law, uncle, nephew, and friend to many! Henry is the proud husband of Christine Burch-Sapp, and states that she encouraged him from the first day they met and is still encouraging him to pursue his dreams and live his best life. Henry has two beautiful daughters, Chamille Burch-Sapp Nock and Chantell Sapp-France, who describe him as their biggest cheerleader and support staff.  He is also the proud grandfather to Chloe Christine, Carter Henry, Chase Elijah, Malaya Malique, and Caiden Christian.

“It gives me great pleasure to congratulate the 2024 REACH Trailblazer winners,” says Laurie Washington, program manager, Workforce Development and a member of the REACH steering committee. “Each winner exemplifies and demonstrates the importance of REACH and why we MUST continue to reach new levels to ensure many more trailblazers have an opportunity to inspire, innovate and deliver for their communities.”