2021 Event Leadership
Karen & Matt Cullen
Matthew P. Cullen is the Chairman of JACK Entertainment, the Cleveland-based gaming company which employs more than 1,400 team members and generates $500 million in annual revenue. Previously, Cullen spent more than a decade leading gaming, real estate and other initiatives for Dan Gilbert's Family of Companies. During that time Cullen helped lead revitalization efforts within Detroit and Cleveland totaling commitments of more than $5 billion, and served most recently as the Chief Executive Officer of Bedrock Detroit.
Karen Cullen is happily retired following a 25+ year career in public relations and communications. A graduate of the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Communications, she held several executive positions throughout her career at GM, Delphi Automotive and Ilitch Holdings, Inc. until she retired in 2013.
During Matthew's long career at General Motors (GM) as General Manager of Economic Development and Enterprise Services, he oversaw the corporation's vast 450 million square-foot global real estate portfolio and created a shared services organization to consolidate and improve the delivery of administrative services throughout the company. Cullen was the chief architect of GM's acquisition and development of the Renaissance Center as the automaker's global headquarters. While at GM, he sparked the formation of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and helped launch the billion-dollar transformation of the city's international riverfront from a largely abandoned industrial site to a destination for entertainment and recreation. Cullen continues to serve as the founding chairman of the Conservancy, whose vision is to create more than five miles of linked parks and greenways while ensuring perpetual public access to the beautiful Detroit Riverfront.
Matthew has served as the President and CEO of the M-1 RAIL Streetcar initiative since its inception in 2017. Known as the QLINE, the system connects the city's largest cultural destinations, educational and entertainment facilities and employment centers along Woodward Avenue. The public-private partnership M-1 RAIL has served as a catalyst for investment and economic development, while creating a foundation for a modern, regional transit system.
Karen and Matthew are heavily involved in the community. Karen currently serves on the Board of Directors of Karmanos Cancer Institute and Karmanos Cancer Center, as well as the Board of Directors of University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy. She serves as a Trustee with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and is also actively involved with the Detroit Zoo, serving on their Marketing Committee, and with the Belle Isle Conservancy and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.
Matthew also serves as the Chairman of Invest Detroit; Vice Chairman of the Downtown Detroit Partnership; and is an active member of the Detroit Zoological Society Executive Committee. He is also a board member of the Penske Corporation, Detroit Regional Chamber, Hudson-Webber Foundation, and a trustee of the College of Creative Studies and Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. He previously chaired the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, The Parade Company and the Metropolitan Detroit YMCA, and remains an executive committee member of each.
Matthew earned a degree in economics from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the University of Detroit Mercy. He also completed the Senior Executive Program at Harvard University. A native Detroiter, he resides with his wife and family in the Detroit area.
Tom & Mary Shafer
Tom previously served as Vice Chairman and Director of Chemical Financial Corporation and President and Chief Executive Officer of Chemical Bank. Previously he served as president and Chief Operating Officer of Talmer Bank, a predecessor company to Chemical Bank.Prior to joining Talmer Bank, Mr. Shafer spent 16 years with Citizens Republic Bankorp, where he held various executive level positions including EVP, Commercial Banking, Retail Banking and Chief Credit Officer. Tom started his career at Michigan National Bank.
Mary has also been a significant fund raiser, chairing Gala events in Southeast Michigan and Mid-Michigan. Mary has been recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Detroit Chapter for her work with the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House.
Tom earned his bachelor's degree at Hillsdale College while majoring in Economics & Business Administration and Political Economy. He is also a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Graduate School of Banking. Mary attended Hillsdale College and the University of Michigan and received a BA in Communications.
Currently Mr. Shafer serves on the Board of Directors for the Detroit Regional Chamber, Michigan Bankers Association, and is the past Chairman of Detroit Public Television (DPTV). Mary is a Trustee of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, sustaining member of the Junior League of Detroit, member of Tau Beta and DAR and is a former Stephens’s minister at Grosse Pointe Memorial Presbyterian Church.
Mary and Tom have 2 adult children, Kathryn and Elliot (Killeen) and have 1 grandson.
Thomas C. Shafer is the Chief Operating Office of TCF Financial Corporation and President and Chief Operation Officer of TCF National Bank as of August 1, 2019 in connection with the merger between Chemical Bank and TCF.
Mary Lighton Shafer is an active community volunteer whose efforts are focused on her family, faith and community. She has been involved for over 30 years as a board member to many cultural and community groups. These include The Grosse Pointe Historical Society, Louisa St. Clair chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, Detroit East Suburban alumni association of Kappa Kappa Gamma and the Flint Institute of Music which is the umbrella organization for a regional symphony and a 1500 student school of performing arts.