“Equity and inclusion are about everyone having equal opportunity to experience the fullness of life.” –Jacob Walker
Jacob Walker, manager of Strategy and Special Projects, REACH member and HBCU graduate, has been a leader in his community for the last ten years, with a special dedication to youth mentorship.
Within DTE, Walker has successfully helped lead DTE’s Making Strides for Breast Cancer campaign for years, helped organize REACH’s annual Trailblazer Awards and played a key role in DTE’s Summer Talent Exposure Program (STEP).
“STEP means a lot to me because it brought diversity to DTE,” said Jacob. “We provided interns quality training experience and executive exposure, but we also gave them a space to have open, real conversations.”
Outside of DTE, Walker created the organization Support Black Businesses in the City of Detroit and has been a youth mentor through Real Life 101 and the BING Youth Institute, where he’s paired with students and mentors them through graduation. “The goal is to form a relationship with your mentee, and once we’re connected, we’re connected long-term,” said Walker. “A lot of these young men are grateful to have someone who wants to support them without expecting anything back in return.”
Walker has been inspired to accomplish professional and personal goals he didn’t think he was capable of through watching people like himself achieve great success, and he wants to do the same for others. “Mentorship is my way of helping young men of color know that they’re valuable, the world is open to them and they’re capable of achieving whatever they put their minds to.”
Walker believes the key to creating a more prosperous future is building authentic relationships through sharing personal stories and backgrounds. “People’s backgrounds and experiences are important to them,” said Walker. “We have to welcome people to bring their whole selves to the table and value all aspects of them if we want to build a more inclusive world.”