Dr. Rita Fields is a dual CEO of both 313 Industries, a CNC machining and milling corporation and Copper Phoenix Consulting, LLC where she offers expertise on talent and operations management. Dr. Fields is also faculty in the school of management at University of Michigan, healthcare administration at Central Michigan University, and a dissertation advisor in the PHOD Program at Assumption University in Bangkok, Thailand. Dr. Fields worked at the senior executive level in the healthcare industry for 10 years and in corporate America for two decades.
Dr. Fields is a SHRM Certified Senior Professional of Human Resources (SHRM-SCP), and a lifetime member of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR). Dr. Fields serves as a spokeswoman for the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan and as a member of the EDA University Center for Regional Economic Innovation (REI) at the MSU Center for Community and Economic Development.
Dr. Fields is a board member with both South Oakland Shelter (SOS) and Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS) and a member of the board of trustees at Sinai Grace Hospital in Detroit. Crain’s Detroit Business named her among “40 under 40” in 2008. In 2009, the Fusion division of the Detroit Chamber of Commerce honored her with a Young Professional in Health Care Services Horizon Award. In both 2010 and 2011 she was selected to serve as a United States delegate with SHRM to explore human capital issues in both China and Brazil. She was selected to be a presenter at TEDxDetroit in 2015. In 2016 she was honored with a Women’s History Month Careers Mastered Leadership in Action Award. In 2017 she was a featured speaker at the Detroit Policy Conference. In 2018, she was selected to be an Innovation Fellow for the Center for Regional Economic Innovation and to serve as a reviewer for the 2018 Robert Woods Johnson Culture of Health Leaders Fellowship. In 2019 she was the keynote speaker for the annual MNA conference on talent management. She is a sought-after speaker for both her expertise in workplace culture and her transparent commitment to sharing her story of struggle and resilience.
In 2018, Rita began her Innovation Fellows project, “Exploring the Underground Economy in Detroit.” Economic development initiatives targeting entrepreneurs have found Detroit to be a ripe breeding ground for talent, and for those entrepreneurs who are able to participate in those programs this has been a time of great fortune. The reality, though, is that these programs are not open to all who desire to ascend to the entrepreneurial ranks. For a multitude of reasons that need to be further identified and explored, some aren't able to take advantage of this opportunity. For some entrepreneurs, transitioning from being 'off the books' (or, as referred to in the title, underground) to 'on the books' would result in a significant pay cut due to the costs of conducting business. The research proposed in this study will focus on the definition of the underground economy, identification of susceptible participants, barriers of entry that have prevented participants of the underground economy from engaging in standardized entrepreneurial development, an attempt to quantify the potential economic impact of the underground economy in the region and why a commitment to reconnect that effort to the overall impact benefits the region and propose recommendations on how funders can be more inclusive in their funding guidelines.