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Chief Equity Development Officer, Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP)

Tony Willis
Tony Willis

As the Chief Equity Development Officer for LEAP, Tony leads the organization in establishing and extending programs to support equitable economic development throughout the Lansing region. With the goal of creating a stronger, more competitive economy that works for all; Tony works to dismantle barriers and expand opportunities for low-income people, communities of color, and other underrepresented groups.

Tony has worked in multiple capacities at LEAP starting as Business Acceleration Manager and VP of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, before being promoted to Chief Equity Development Officer. During his time at LEAP, Tony has created, developed, and implemented several programs including: PROTO Accelerator: the region’s first corporate innovation platform and the only accelerator in the state of Michigan with a program focused on InsurTech, One and All: an IEDC Gold Award winning entrepreneurial program focused on supporting entrepreneurs within the ALICE threshold with mentorship, educational curriculum, and seed funding, as well as Elevate: the region’s first small business accelerator focused on Black entrepreneurs and enterprises, with the goal of enhancing revenue, profitability, and prominence.

Tony is a proud Spartan, having earned a BA in Communications with specialization in PR from Michigan State University. Tony also attended Lansing Community College prior to transferring to Michigan State University. When not working, Tony is an active community member where he serves on several boards and advisory groups for organizations (All of the Above, JUSTICE League of Greater Lansing).