2024 Woman of Influence: Angelique Peterson-Mayberry 

Published on February 26, 2024 in

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re talking to women who support their communities in collaboration with United Way for Southeastern Michigan. We’re discussing their experiences, sharing their passions and motivations, and shining a light on the women who have inspired them along the way.

Since we last spoke with Angelique Peterson-Mayberry, employee engagement specialist at Ford Motor Company and president of the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) Board of Education, she has celebrated a growing list of accomplishments, including being named Women United’s 2024 Woman of Influence. Angelique has been involved with United Way for more than fifteen years. She is currently a member of our Cabinet, co-chair of the labor subcommittee, and a proud member of Women United. Below, we check in with her on her latest achievements.

United Way: Angelique, it’s been two years since our last interview. Tell us what you’ve been up to.

Angelique: I’m now an employee engagement specialist for manufacturing at Ford where I oversee several plants and I’m responsible for transforming culture and making manufacturing a place where people want to be. I’m a thought partner for stakeholders – from the plant manager to UAW and other leaders – to identify ways to improve the culture. It’s very rewarding because my team is new – only a year old – and people are really appreciative of the fact that we’re listening to their concerns and one of our chief tasks is to care about the employee experience.

United Way: Congrats on the new role! It sounds like an interesting position and one that not a lot of manufacturers have. What’s your favorite part about the change?

Angelique: I’m a people person so this is a perfect role for me. Yes, Ford makes amazing cars and trucks but we’re really in the people business. If we take our focus away from the people, it negatively impacts the product. What has been really gratifying is that leadership proactively seeks out my thoughts and opinions because I have a pulse on manufacturing. Once we identify an area of concern, we’re able to identify solutions.

United Way: Congratulations are also in order for you being named Women United’s 2024 Woman of Influence. What does that accomplishment mean to you?

Angelique: I was shocked. Apparently, I was nominated during the one committee meeting I missed. It was a surprise and an honor that means everything to me, truly. Women United is a group of very accomplished women so it means a lot to be seen and recognized by this group that you’re a part of. So often, we’re focused on the work – looking outward and helping others but it’s nice to know when others recognize your contributions.

United Way: You bring up a great point – Women United is undoubtedly an esteemed group of changemakers. Yourself included! Why do you continue to stay involved with Women United after four years given all the other things on your plate?

Angelique: It’s pretty simple; I’ve seen the impact we can make when we come together and lock arms for a common goal and mission. And because we’re bringing resources to the table, we’re not just talking about problems, we’re solving problems. That’s really gratifying. And I love that although we’re all accomplished in our own right, we have diverse perspectives and backgrounds. I believe that gives us optimal results.

United Way: That’s so important. On the topic of staying engaged and involved, it feels like a pivotal time for people to stay engaged as a lot of changes are happening on a local and national level. Not to mention it’s an election year.

Angelique: Absolutely. I think you do yourself a disservice when you don’t put yourself in positions to be informed and educated. You’re really at the mercy of what somebody else is telling you. There are so many ways to stay informed that there’s really no excuse. When you’re not informed, you give your power away to people who may not have your best interest in mind and may not understand your plight. It’s also disingenuous to the people who have really fought for us to have a voice. After being silenced for so long, it’s now women who are deciding elections. Knowing we have that power, we have to be really careful about how we use it and protective about not giving it away.

United Way: That’s so true! Last question. We know you’re passionate about education, which is also a focus of Women United’s work. Why is early education so important for our community?

Angelique: I think our children are brilliant and they’re brilliant very early on. I immerse myself with young people all the time and I’m always amazed at how much they know. They’re like sponges. If we don’t pour into them early, there are negative influences that they’ll absorb. Our task is to ensure that the ground they grow from is fertile and nourishing. We often reference Tupac and “The Rose That Grew From Concrete,” but it shouldn’t be like that. We should absolutely be working together to ensure the ground is fertile so that every child is ready to grow and reach their full potential.

United Way: That’s a perfect note to end on. Thanks so much, Angelique.

To read our previous conversation with Angelique, click here.