Board & Staff

Current Board

YDDA Board members serve for four year terms. 
( ) indicates year of term expiration

  • Ylondia Portis, Chair
    -Brandhrt Digital Insights and Strategy  (2025)
  • Paul Ajlouny, Vice Chair
    -Eagles Market & Sweetwaters Cafe  (2025)
  • Brian Jones-Chance, Treasurer 
    -734 Brewing Co (2026)
  • Nicole Brown
    Mayor of Ypsilanti (2026)
  • Dieter Otto
    -Eastern Michigan University Representative  
  • Patton Doyle
    -Decode Ypsilanti (2025)
  • Andrew French 
    -Aubrees Pizzeria and Grill (2025)
  • Kayia Hinton
     -Hinton Real Estate Group (2025)
  • Bryan Foley
    – Aarneth Lighting Solutions (2027)
  • Malissa Gillett
    -Betty Green Organic Salon  (2025)
  • Valory Brown
    -Home Sweet Homecare (2025)
  • Gerry Kreiner
    -Mix Fitness Studios (2027)
  • Emmy Maurer
    -Maurer Properties (2028)




Elize Jekabson is an Ypsilanti based artist and community organizer. They graduated with an Associates degree in Culinary Arts and Management, followed by a BFA from Eastern Michigan University with a concentration in Sculpture. Elize took on the role of Vice President of First Fridays Ypsilanti in 2013, and helped establish the organization. In 2017, they took the position of Program Director for the organization, and co-founded Ypsi Pride, and Festival of the Pollinator.  Elize worked for four years as manager for Bona Sera Restaurant until 2018 when they took the role of DDA Coordinator for Ypsilanti.  Elize also manages/co-owns Ypsi Alloy Studios, an artist studio that focuses on providing affordable work space for 3D artists.  Elize lives in Ypsi with their spouse Rikki, and their four cats  Jasper, Bazil, Susan, and Fluffy. 


To keep the YDDA moving towards achieving all of our long term goals, we also have a standing committee that meets each month. That is the Operations & Finance Committee, made up of a combination of YDDA board members and community-at-large members. In addition to the Operations and Finance Committee, the YDDA may periodically designate Ad Hoc or Subcommittees designed to address very specific projects as needed.