Improving the lives of children and families across Southeast Michigan

Improving the lives of children and families across Southeast Michigan

Described as a transformational leader, Kylee Mitchell Wells ‘03, was hired at Ballmer Group in December 2017 as Executive Director – Southeast Michigan. She leads philanthropic efforts in the area, developing and managing a multi-million dollar budget for Southeast Michigan grants and initiatives.

“I am thrilled to be a part of Ballmer Group’s team making a difference in the great city of Detroit and throughout Southeast Michigan,” said Wells.

Referring to the position as an “ideal fit,” Wells shares the organization’s enthusiasm for transforming hometown. She was selected as a leader at Ballmer Group because of her commitment to addressing challenges in Detroit neighborhoods as well as her considerable experience working across the region’s public, private and social services sectors.

“I have a passion for bringing people together to create new paths of opportunity for our young people and their families,” said Wells. “I’ve loved every job I’ve had.”

Ballmer Group was founded by Detroit native and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie. The organization focuses on improving economic mobility for children and families across the U.S. who are disproportionately likely to remain in poverty.

“I share the Ballmer’s belief in the power of this region to drive changes that improve the lives of children and families,” she explained. “I look forward to working with a host of community partners to find creative ways to address challenges.” 

A career visionary on behalf of children and families, Wells previously served as the senior director for the Detroit office of national nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners. In this position, Wells devised capital and programmatic and policy/advocacy solutions to address the needs of low- and moderate-income Detroit neighborhoods.

Wells’ career path has also included service with the City of Detroit, the District of Columbia, other national non-profits and the automotive sector. Seeking organizations with inventive approaches has been essential to her career journey.

Much to her parent’s chagrin, Wells turned down a full-ride scholarship to another college in order to graduate from Davenport University.  

“As I graduated from Cass Technical High School in Detroit, I was offered this wonderful scholarship,” said Wells. “You can imagine my parent’s reactions when I turned it down, but eventually they could see it was absolutely the right choice for me to be at Davenport.” 

“One of the great attractions for me was that I could work full-time and take classes at times that fit my schedule. With Davenport’s flexible format, I was able to complete my degree in four and a half years.”

After receiving her degree in finance in 2003, Wells continued her education. She earned a master’s degree in public administration and behavioral economics from the City University of New York in 2010 and was a National Urban Fellow. In 2014, Wells participated in the Michigan Political Leadership program as a graduate fellow at Michigan State University.

“Not only was Davenport’s approach to delivering a degree very innovative, but I had such wonderful mentors, too,” said Wells. “I believe that the opportunity to participate in these fellowship programs was very much based on Dr. David Fleming’s letters of recommendation for me.”

Wells is excited about Davenport’s return to Detroit with its downtown campus at New Center One. “I’m delighted to know that Davenport is a part of the resurgence in Detroit,” she said. “My own experience tells me that they will serve our city well.”

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