7 Questions with Kiaira May Executive Director
Downtown Development Authority

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In June, the Flint DDA Board of Directors voted unanimously to appoint Kiaira May its executive director. Her professional experience includes roles at Quicken Loans and Bedrock Real Estate, as well as consulting and project management for Design Core Detroit and the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Michigan. She is the first African American woman to hold the DDA position – here are a few more interesting things about this Flint history maker.

Who inspired you to pursue your career goals?

My grandmother! She was a true trailblazer – a blind chef who ran a small business for a very long time. She was the first to make history in our family and inspires me every day. I know if she was still on this earth, she would be cheering for me the loudest.

What factors about your youth helped shape who you are today?

That is a great question. I grew up in Detroit in a single-parent household. My mother was the first idol I ever encountered. Seeing her struggle every day to create a better life for my brother and me taught me how to provide for myself, believe in my dreams and to never harbor negative emotions about things that I can’t change. You just gotta keep moving forward!

Where did you go to college?

I graduated from Wayne State University where I majored in sociology and obtained my bachelor’s degree in arts and science.

What was your very first job?

I taught ballet to three- and four-year-olds at the Inner City Dance Scope Studio in Detroit. I started teaching at the age of 13 and became a prima ballerina shortly after. I miss teaching from time to time and still love to dance.

How would your friends describe you?

I called two of my friends to ask them this question and they both said the same things: energetic, hardworking and goal oriented. (I’m a Virgo, so it makes sense.)

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to listen to music and enjoy DIY projects. I take pride in making my own furniture.

What immediate goals do you hope to achieve in your role with the DDA?

I’m working toward community engagement in all things Downtown Flint and streamlined communication through all of my relationships. And one more goal I would say is not immediately achievable, but will be ongoing: accessible parking in Flint for all.

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