Mercy High School is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Alumna Award, Sommer Woods ’95. Dr. Cheryl Delaney Kreger ’66 presented Sommer Woods ’95 with the 2016 Mercy High School Distinguished Alumna Award at Tea for Tuition on April 17, 2016.
Sommer is the vice president of external relations and marketing for M-1 Rail, a light rail circulator that will strengthen the backbone of the Detroit region by connecting downtown Detroit to Midtown to New Center/North End. Her responsibilities include workforce development, community engagement/inclusion, governmental relations, and minority/Detroit based business procurement. A colleague wrote, “In this role, she has been instrumental in ensuring that minority and women-owned businesses are given an opportunity to participate in and benefit from the business opportunities associated with the development of Detroit.”
Sommer was a member of former Detroit mayor Dave Bing’s administration, serving as the film, culture and special events director for the city of Detroit. In this role, she managed the city’s film-related efforts and coordinated all aspects of special events, including permitting, serving as the liaison with government officials, event logistics, tactical operations and community and business outreach and engagement. She was responsible for promoting Detroit as a premier location for conferences, film productions, sporting events, ethnic and cultural festivals, and other large-scale activities.
Prior to these roles, Sommer’s experience in event planning, implementation and sponsorship fulfillment and activation included positions with the PGA TOUR and Super Bowl XL. During her tenure with the PGA TOUR, Sommer was a team member for the Tour Championship, the PLAYERS Championship, the NFL Golf Classic, and the President’s Cup. While with the Super Bowl XL Host Committee, she assumed responsibility for sponsorship activation of Host Committee contracts valued at over $10 million. She also oversaw a $1 million plus budget for sponsorship fulfillment.
Sommer serves as Detroit City Council’s appointee to the Belle Isle Advisory Committee. She is a board member of Tour de Troit and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She has accomplished many career goals, but considers being a mentor her greatest achievement. She is an active and proud mentor with the Midnight Golf Program for youth development. She refers to her mentees as her “babies” and she “beams from ear to ear when she brags about their success.” Sommer and her mother created a scholarship fund honoring her college golf coach. Each year they award deserving Midnight Golf students who will attend a historically black college or university. Sommer holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Talladega College.
The Class of 1995 elected Sommer Senior Class President. To this day, Sommer continues her service to Mercy High School. Most recently, she shared her insight with the student club B.A.S.E. (Black Awareness Society for Education) and encouraged class participation in Mercy’s 70th Anniversary and Grand Reunion Celebration. An alumna remarked, “I recall, during my Mercy years, Sommer being a caring, ambitious, and vibrant leader. After all these years…she continues to portray those qualities and more, capturing the spirit of Mercy, which is inspiring to others.”
More on Sommer Woods: http://www.modeldmedia.com/features/UIXcities-Sommer-Woods-102715.aspx
Distinguished Alumna Recipients
- 2005: Arleen Brennan Bonello '56, Noreen McGowan Keating '58, Sister Mary Paulita Walters, RSM '63