Secretary of State, Michigan
Jocelyn Benson is the Secretary of State of Michigan. She is also the former Dean of Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, Michigan, a co-founder of the Military Spouses of Michigan and a board member and former CEO of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality. She is the author of "State Secretaries of State: Guardians of the Democratic Process." Crain's named her one of Michigan's "Most Influential Women" in 2016 and in October 2015 she became one of the youngest women in the state's history to be inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame, second only to Serena Williams.
Benson began her career in Montgomery, Alabama, where she worked for the Southern Poverty Law Center as an investigative journalist, researching white supremacist and neo-Nazi organizations. She has also worked as a summer associate for voting rights and election law for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and as a legal assistant to Nina Totenberg at National Public Radio.
As the CEO of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), Benson led a coalition of sports leagues and teams to empower athletes to advance equality. One of her major initiatives was to launch RISE to VOTE, a nonpartisan effort to register professional and college athletes to vote and encourage them to lead their fans in becoming informed and engaged citizens.
A long-distance runner, Benson averages two full marathons per year. She has completed twenty-three full marathons since 2005, including races in New York City, Detroit, Honolulu, San Francisco, Washington DC, Florence, Venice, Chicago and Philadelphia. In 2016 she completed her second Boston Marathon and became one of a handful of women in history to complete the Boston Marathon while more than 8 months pregnant.
Benson is a graduate of Wellesley College, Oxford University, and Harvard Law School.