Welcome to the home of Social Lights. New online reports with photos appear each week on the website and in the monthly print editions for the Birmingham-Bloomfield area and the Rochester-Rochester Hills area at the start of each month. If you want e-mail notification of when new Social Lights columns are posted to this site each Monday, sign up in the Newsletter Sign Up box at the lower right side of this home page.
Alzheimer’s Chocolate Jubilee
The Masquerade Ball invitation instructed “wear a mask for one night to help unmask Alzheimer’s forever,” and many of the 550 guests ($200 & up ticket) at the MGM Grand did just that. During the social hour they socialized and nearly 200 paid $50 for a Sweet Chances bag. (In the valet line one gentleman happily showed off the Bulova watch that was in his bag.) The dinner program had highlights. University student Tyler Leightner spoke about the devastation caused by his mother’s early onset-Alzheimer’s at age 44. Its genetic nature has inspired his active involvement in fundraising and research for the Alzheimer’s Association and determination to pursue a career in the field. Quicken Loans CEO Bill Emerson proved he could do okay as an auctioneer if need be as he persuaded guests to pay $75,000 for six packages in the short live auction.
front/backFresh blood has graced the kitchen at Eddie Merlot’s , an upscale steakhouse in Bloomfield Township at 37000 Woodward Avenue. Executive chef Justin Bates joined the staff after two decades in the industry. Most recently he served as executive chef for Bravo Brio Restaurant Group , where he spent years moving up the ranks. "We’re a national company, so (Bates is) not bringing any changes ...more»
oakland confidential Numbers count: Now that we’ve all recovered from our collective national election hangover, we’re examining the vote, looking at who voted and where the turnout was. While only 13 percent of registered voters in the city of Detroit turned out to vote on November 8, locally, voter participation was much stronger, with 79 percent of registered voters in Bloomfield Township, 76 percent ...more»
Daniel Sillman began the Ross School of Business at University of Michigan thinking he'd become an investment banker. But a chance encounter his freshman year with two Michigan football players who became his close friends led him to create Compass Management Group to provide financial management for professional athletes.
Sillman, 22, graduated from Ross in Dec. 2010, on the fast track since he had already begun his company to work with his two friends, Brandon Graham and Brandon Minor, who left U-M as top picks in Dec. 2009 to enter the NFL, and provide them with financial guidance and management once they left school.
"Statistics show that 78 percent of NFL athletes declare bankruptcy or are financially distressed within two years of retirement; it's 65 percent in the NBA within five years," Sillman said. "It's because most athletes lack core financial strength. They hire agents who negotiate their contracts and sponsorship deals, and they might hire someone to open a portfolio for them, and they think they're all set. The word financial advisor throws them. They're often coming from the inner city, and suddenly, they're coming into wealth, like a lottery winner."
While undergrads, Graham and Minor spent holidays and weekends at Sillman's Birmingham home, and Sillman and his father, David, began looking into business managers for them as their need became apparent. "What we realized is that there is a huge presence for entertainers and corporate space, but not for athletes. These athletes should treat themselves the same as someone else with wealth," Sillman said. Just as Graham and Minor had prepared themselves for the NFL by practicing football for years, Sillman realized he had been preparing himself for his career with Compass not only via his business school studies, but at the foot of his father's chair, watching, listening, observing.
"I've been going to the office with my father since I was 5," he said. "I rely on my father for life experience and financial experience."
Compass Management Group, so called because it provides direction, guidance and discipline to athletes, provides attorneys, accountants, insurance consultants, tax planning, bill paying, private banking, estate planning, portfolio management, business consulting and vetting services, and retirement planning.
"The average football career is three years; the average basketball career is four or five years. They could live to be 100. They have to realize they are being compensated for their entire lives, not just their pro careers," Sillman said. He creates a level of transparency and professionalism for the athletes, which now number 11, that he manages. All of the athletes, including Desean Jackson, Jimmy Smith, Manny Harris and Jurrell Casey, have come to him by word-of-mouth through locker rooms....continued on page 2
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