Board Member Spotlight: Hakim Berry
City of Detroit Chief Operating Office Hakim Berry has enjoyed a distinguished career. Prior to his appointment as the City of Detroit's COO, Berry served as the city's Labor Relations Director leading bargaining negotiations for Detroit's police unions and bargaining for operational improvements that restored pay equity and benefits lost during the city's bankruptcy.
As one of NSO's newest board members, Berry brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the position.
1) What excites you most about being on the NSO Board of Directors?
The NSO provides hope for those who may feel hopeless and help for those who believe they are helpless. Watching the work of the NSO over the years as a past volunteer, I’ve always been impressed about the transformative deeds the organization has brought to those in need.
2) What influenced you to join the NSO Board of Directors?
Many of my past colleagues have been members of the board, and I’ve been encouraged by their good experiences. As an official with the City of Detroit, I have witnessed first-hand the continuous improvement to the programs and offerings the NSO has brought forth for Metro Detroiters
3) What is your favorite aspect of NSO?
In addition to shelter, the wrap around services that are provided are bar-none.
4) Briefly talk about your career (what you do) and one major highlight.
I currently serve the residents of Detroit as the Chief Operating Officer for Mayor Mike Duggan. Prior to accepting this fantastic opportunity, I was a HR executive in the private sector. One of the most memorable moments was during the pandemic, when my 25-year career came full circle.
While participating in the pandemic response from the City of Detroit, I had the opportunity to meet and partner with many organizations, from private sector to high-ranking officials in the armed forces. I was fortunate to touch base with many from my past. Stellantis, formerly known as FCA (but will always be Chrysler for me), donated vehicles to be used by the city's Human Services division to navigate the many COVID shelters that were created, DTE with the generous donations of PPE, and my healthcare partners (DMC, Henry Ford Health Systems, Trinity and Ascension Health) who provided staff that performed thousands of COVID tests at the State Fairgrounds. I was able to utilize these great partnerships that I had formed over my career to help out during one of the most precarious times in recent history.
5) How important is community service to you?
Dr. King once said that “it is all right to tell a man to lift himself by his own bootstrap, but it is a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstrap.” Sometimes in life's journey obstacles appear that can take us off track. When this occurs there are those of us who may need assistance in getting back on track. As many of us are blessed with gifts, we should use our gifts or our ability to help another in need. It is the essential reward of life.
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