JoAnn Chávez ’86, ’90 J.D. devotes energy to helping Detroit youth

Joannchavez Vanguard

JoAnn Chávez ’86, ’90 J.D. was profiled recently in a cover story in Vanguard Law Magazine.

Chávez is senior vice president and chief legal officer for DTE, an energy provider and Fortune 250 company based in Detroit.

The Vanguard article describes how Chávez has devoted her personal energy to helping Detroit kids succeed.

“Resource and access inequities have been barriers for these kids for too long,” she told the magazine. “My purpose is to create economically empowered leaders in the next generation, guiding them to their seats next to me at the opportunity table.”

Chávez has mentored future leaders through the Michigan Hispanic Collaborative, which she spearheaded, and the DTE Summer Talent Exposure Program (STEP).

STEP was established in 2009 with a focus on mentoring college students in everything from soft skills to writing resumes and preparing for job interviews. The goal, Chávez told Vanguard, is to support young people, especially college students who are Black, Latino, and other underserved students of color.

In 2018, Chávez launched the Michigan Hispanic Collaborative, an organization that helps 11th and 12th grade students find a path from high school graduation to college graduation and into their early careers. The DTE Foundation, as well as Chávez and other Hispanic professionals in Detroit, provided funding to support the new organization.

“It felt like a full-circle moment,” she said. “My parents dropped out of Western International High School in Detroit, which is now one of the three main high schools the MiHC program serves.”

Chávez has been supportive of Notre Dame Law School, too.

She serves as a member of the Law Advisory Council, and she established the Chávez Family Law Fellowship to benefit Hispanic law students at Notre Dame.

In addition, several Notre Dame Law School students have participated in the summer internship program at DTE. The goal of the internship program is to expose first-generation Black and Hispanic students to a variety of legal experiences and careers.

Read the full feature article about JoAnn Chávez on the Vanguard Law Magazine website.

Originally published by Notre Dame Law School at on April 25, 2023.