ELEANOR JOSAITIS:
 




 
 
 
 
 
CEO and Co-Founder, Focus: HOPE, is one of metro Detroit's most beloved community activists. A suburban homemaker in 1968, she co-founded Focus: HOPE with the late Father William Cunningham. Focus: HOPE is a nonprofit dedicated to "intelligent and practical action to overcome racism, poverty and injustice." The organization started out with a food distribution program, then conducted groundbreaking studies proving supermarket chains were charging far more in the city and using their city stores to dump expired food from suburban stores. Focus: HOPE got into job training in 1981 and today trains thousands of Detroiters for modern technological careers


WHERE BORN: Detroit.

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “There have been so many. Sen. Phil Hart, who helped me in so many ways. President Bill Clinton. Rosa Parks. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And I'd say Father William Cunningham. He made a difference, a tremendous difference.”

LAST BOOK READ: “I read several books at once. Right now I'm reading The End of Detroit: How the Big Three Lost Their Grip on the American Car Market by Micheline Maynard. And I'm reading In God We Trust by Norman Vincent Peale, because it's very positive faith for troubled times, and I certainly think these are troubled times. I also read the Harvard Business Review on a regular basis.”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Passionate about civil rights, and persistent.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: “The best way to eliminate racism and poverty is to ensure that everyone has an education, skills training, and a job.”

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: “I'm not a real technological person. I've got my cell phone and my laptop computer.”

FAVORITE PLACE: “I would say my home, and visiting my children. But when I'm really having a bad day, the place that I go is Belle Isle.”

FAVORITE HOBBY: “I read, but my favorite thing is really being with people. I love meeting lots of different people.”

FAVORITE FOOD: “Perch, baked potatoes, cole slaw and a glass of wine.”

MY HIDDEN TALENT: “A lot of people have told me I have a talent for motivational and inspirational speech, but what I really like to do is bring people together.”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “As a person who had a passion and made a difference. I'm grateful for the love of my family and my colleagues and friends, but what it's really all about is when a young person comes back and throws their arms around me and says, ‘I have a job, and just bought a house, thanks to what I learned here.’”