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2023 Corks & Forks Breaks Records

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winning futures student at podium

We knew this was going to be a good event. What we didn’t know was that it would be record setting.

Chaired by Marlo Vitous, senior vice president – Purchasing & Supply Chain at Stellantis, and supported by Pete Hockey of Ford Motor Company, Matt Joshua of General Motors, and Scott Thiele of Stellantis, our 2023 Corks & Forks was held on March 11 at the luxurious Townsend Hotel in Birmingham. With generous support from sponsors and guests, we raised a record $545,000 to support students in our award-winning Workforce Prep program.

See photos from our 2023 Corks & Forks.

The evening started with our signature VIP wine tasting reception featuring unique wines from around the world, a selection of fine bourbons, and delicious appetizers prepared by The Townsend’s executive chef. The general reception followed and included an entirely different menu of wine. Guests mixed, mingled, and sipped, then moved into the ballroom where their tastebuds were treated to a gourmet dinner.

Les Gold, proprietor of American Jewelry & Loan and star of the hit TV series, Hardcore Pawn, served as our live auctioneer for the seventh year. His quick wit and humor were a hit with guests and proved to be a difference maker as he skillfully auctioned exclusive opportunities to network with senior automotive executives. Les has now raised more than $1 million for Winning Futures as a our auctioneer!

Sally Pham started in our program as a high schooler and is now at The University of Michigan where she is studying cognitive science. She shared with guests how our program and her career mentor helped her overcome obstacles and stay on a path to success.

Watch Sally’s remarks.

“My parents grew up in post-civil war Vietnam where poverty was rampant and education was an unaffordable luxury,” said Sally. “Their American dream success story taught me a ton about sacrifice and perseverance, but I soon realized that these lessons were not enough to help me as I began to experience a life that was foreign to them. I was set to be the first person in my family to graduate from high school, but I had nobody to lean on for help.”

“At many points I struggled to keep faith. I thought I wouldn’t make it to the finish line. At every challenge, Winning Futures was there for me. The career mentors and staff helped me be more confident and proactive about my professional growth and taught me how to build my own support network. The Winning Futures scholarship and support fund have significantly lifted my financial burdens so I could focus on academics and career growth. The support I received has given me the strength to step up and succeed every single time I faced an obstacle – obstacles that felt impossible to overcome.”

“It was an amazing night that was capped by Sally’s incredible story,” said Kris Marshall, president and CEO. “We had a lot of fun and we raise a lot of money, all of which will directly support students, like Sally, who face incredible barriers to success.”

Mark your calendar! Our 2024 Corks & Forks will be held at The Townsend Hotel on Saturday, March 9. This event has sold out for the past five years. For sponsorship and ticket -opportunities, contact Daniela Matthews, director of development, at or 586-371-2125.

NOTE: Our 2023 Golf Classic will be held on Monday, September 11 at beautiful and historic Indianwood Country Club in Lake Orion. This scramble-style outing will feature 18 holes, great food, unique raffle prizes, and opportunities to network with senior business executives. Contact Daniela Matthews or view sponsorship information.