Ian Tran

Principal Strategist, ISMOTION | Advocacy Co-Chair, USGBC MI

Greater Detroit Area
Program Development

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Ian Tran's Overview

  • University of Michigan-Dearborn
  • Private Study

355 connections

Ian Tran's Summary

Authentic relationships, the arts, outdoors, and play awaken curiosity, deepen empathy, and compels us to work for a legacy of purpose beyond profit. Purposeful questions in turn cultivate deeper engagement and emancipate leaders in any organization to take action with their community.

I strive to help people and organizations be at their best by facilitating with curiosity, creativity, innovation, and insight grounded in experience. Seeking and creating proven and effective outcomes in collective sustainability strategy, successful communications & PR, facilitation, collaborative team leadership, cross-functional partnerships, creative project management/event planning, stakeholder engagement, education and community outreach for proactive results-oriented problem solving.

Nearly 10 years' experience in focused creative ventures, and violin performance.

Ian Tran leads U.S. operations for ISMOTION, a global design strategy social enterprise for education, innovation, and sustainability as their Principal Strategist. A 2014 StartingBloc Social Innovation Fellow, Tran serves as chapter leader for StartingBloc in Michigan, a mentor of the Boston 2014 Institute, and co-chairs the U.S. Green Building Council's Advocacy for the State of Michigan to cultivate meaningful work, best practices, and ethical enterprises that benefit local communities, economies, and the environment.

Ian Tran's Experience

Principal Strategist - Sustainability, Operations, and Education


Privately Held; 1-10 employees; Management Consulting industry

June 2013Present (1 year 5 months) Metro Detroit, Global (Headquartered in Sydney, Australia)

Education & design strategy to cultivate an intelligent and resilient public.

I focus on facilitating emergent strategy and innovation for event design, public relations, and education with art, the outdoors, and play to move all stakeholders toward viable sustainability.
We help organizations and the public move forward via solutions in strategic innovation, focus-group consulting, & education for industries, communities, and youth change makers seeking positive legacies for communities, businesses, and the environment.

• Co-create design strategy, solutions, and program development in operational marketing & outreach, media, partnerships, stakeholder engagement and education for sustainability
• Co-lead sustainability curriculum development to connect real-world challenges & learning opportunities with global online education
• Created the Classroom Consultants to Changemakers program to elicit participatory stakeholder engagement for innovation and increase industry transparency while creating meaningful education opportunities with youth
• Convert ISMOTION from grant-driven organization into a self-sustaining social enterprise and establish operations in the U.S.A.

Strategy, curriculum, performer/presenter, violin coach


December 2002Present (11 years 11 months) Greater Detroit Area; Global

Freelance consultation/contract, planning, public speaking and performance services for educational, non-profit, corporate, and commemorative creative programming.
• Sustainability curriculum review/design, strategic organizational, grant and program development consultation: Australia-based Dell Social Innovation Challenge semi-finalist Ride2Learn program (Ride2Learn’s Central Asia unit)

• Violin Performance
Traditional performance:
Classical, rock, traditional folk, early blues as a soloist, chamber musician, and member of the Detroit band Elemental Meaning.

Focused Performance-Presentations:
Bring non-threatening critical focus to society's challenges through violin/viola performance combined with public speaking.

Former clients include: Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra, the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce, TEDX UM-Dearborn, Detroit University Prep Science & Math High School, Belle Isle Aquarium, and additional community organizations

• Violin Coaching: cultivate musicianship, transdisciplinary literacy, mindful body awareness & technical competence

Educational Institution; 10,001+ employees; Higher Education industry

October 2008Present (6 years 1 month) Dearborn, Michigan

English composition, political science, environmental studies, anthropology, critical thinking (basic symbolic/booolean logic), applied music, and the humanities:

• Foster optimized written communication, creative processes, or understanding of course content
• Assess student comprehension and communication of academic content
• Help University students engage academic and creative resources through collaboratively developed and employed strategies

ITS Senior Proctor | Lab Counselor

University of Michigan-Dearborn

Educational Institution; 1001-5000 employees; Higher Education industry

January 2012April 2014 (2 years 4 months)

Senior Proctor:

• Co-created and led a team of intrapreneurial senior proctors
• Co-developed survey and metrics for event engagement
• Developed events to promote IT services, and managed staff of 24 lab counselors

Lab Counselor:
Integrate, train and assist new or naïve consultants and lab/computer users to ensure customer satisfaction
• Co-led department branding, customer service feedback form, and customer survey development
• Established documentation for best practices and formative procedures
• Developed project and task documentation to coordinate voluntary team and lab improvement initiatives through 11 fellow lab consultants
• Developed signage for password security and customer printing to minimize repetitive procedural inquiries
• Trained as a Google Guide to assist others with successful campus-wide deployment/use of Google products

Co-Founder / Community Facilitator

Dearborn Sustainability Coalition

Educational Institution; 1001-5000 employees; Higher Education industry

May 2010December 2011 (1 year 8 months) Dearborn, Michigan

Articulated long-term organizational strategic frameworks, coordinated partnerships, media & outreach strategy, press releases, facilitation for inclusive strategic community dialogues.

• Contributed to City of Dearborn Sustainability and Climate Change Master Plans; nominated to Dearborn Mayor’s Environmental Commission by City Sustainability Coordinator, city signed Climate Protection Agreement
• Created programs for diverse community stakeholder (business, govt., NGO, academia, residents) collaboration and communication reaching mailing list of over 740 individuals and organizations (http://bit.ly/IDTSustPrjcts)
• Directed monthly invitation, design, planning, and facilitation for community dialogues on current local and global issues
• Coordinated and represented coalition insights, advocated to local media, municipal, and state public meetings,
• Led interpretive nature walks integrating infrastructure, public health, and economic awareness with watershed education

Educational Institution; 1001-5000 employees; Higher Education industry

March 2009September 2011 (2 years 7 months) Dearborn, Michigan

• Deepened and diversified scope of organizational activities, funding, partnerships, leadership and member base, revised constitution, established blog (http://bit.ly/SEAblog)
• Substantially increased internet and community presence (http://bit.ly/SEAintheNews)
• Project leadership for week-long campus sustainability festivals, community dialogues, professional/civic engagement, outreach and stewardship events

Articulated organizational vision, revised constitution to functional status, established blog and active social media pages, mobilized students and community members to take informed action through education, and empowering engagement opportunities in civic, professional, and academic capacities bringing environmental topics into context with current societal, public health, and economic issues.

The SEA is recognized for its diverse stakeholder collaboration and activities in local newspapers, featured in a cheerful political cartoon from the Press and Guide, invited to several conferences, land planning charrettes, and public hearings.

Intern, Education and Outreach

The Engineering Society of Detroit

Nonprofit; 11-50 employees; Nonprofit Organization Management industry

June 2009January 2011 (1 year 8 months) Southfield Michigan

Contributed interdisciplinary perspectives in education, outreach, sustainability, and programming to inform new/returning Michigan area engineers and scientists.

• DEPSA Advisory Steering Committee
Provided supplemental advisory for sustainability in environmental education and community development as follow-up to the ESD Institute/Detroit Edison Public School Academy Lean Green School Initiative Symposium (symposium report can be found here: http://www.esdinstitute.net/green-school/index.htm )

• Showgreen TV II Climate Change Student Film Competition (as co-sponsor to Michigan Energy Works):
Contributed content, design, and educational resource guidelines to a solutions-oriented film contest on Climate Change for K-12 Michigan students.

• Future City 2011:
Reviewed and revised educational modules/learning blocks to clarify or substantiate learning examples for math and science, integrated complex systems thinking, and concepts of land planning, environment, economic, and social sustainability into grade 6-8 lesson plans to be utilized nation-wide as a complement to state and national educational standards. (http://www.futurecity.org/)

• ESD Affiliate Council Web and Membership Project:
Led and facilitated a team of 6 interns/youth staff in creative brainstorm sessions to recommend optimal web content presentation, and propose effective member/benefits structures for the Affiliate Council and corporate sponsors that would save $600/year in facilities expenses alone.

• Low Impact Design (LID):
Developed course outline based on the South East Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) LID manual as a USGBC course oriented toward educating municipal representatives for Paul Goldsmith of Lawrence Technical University.

Green Schools Curriculum subcommittee member

USGBC - Detroit Regional Chapter

Nonprofit; 201-500 employees; Nonprofit Organization Management industry

September 2009October 2010 (1 year 2 months)

Volunteer position
• Sustainability programming and curriculum alignment consultation for K-12 schools
• Advisory Committee for environmental and comprehensive sustainability curriculum development for the Rouge Truck Plant Tour at the Henry Ford Museum

Educational Institution; 1001-5000 employees; Higher Education industry

January 2009November 2009 (11 months)

• Help University students engage academic and creative resources through collaboratively developed and employed strategies
• Assess and address optimization of written communication, creative processes, or understanding of course content
• Greet and assist incoming visitors to set up consultation appointments, suggest additional resources to student writers, and perform minor clerical duties

Educational Institution; 1001-5000 employees; Higher Education industry

February 2007February 2009 (2 years 1 month)

• Introduced, familiarized, and integrated incoming students, candidate University employees, and parents into campus community
• Engaged clients and colleagues to cultivate awareness of campus resources, facillities, history, student rights, and benefits through tours and individual council
• Led individuals and groups of up to 80 individuals in coordination with a team of other orientation leaders to deliver welcoming and effectual programming; our efforts contributed to the University's 2.6% enrollment increase for the 2008/2009 academic year

Nonprofit; 11-50 employees; Nonprofit Organization Management industry

June 2006August 2006 (3 months) Metamora, MI

• Performed clerical duties, routed incoming calls, greeted and directed incoming guests and campers, monitored office supply stock


The Greenwood String Ensemble

December 2002March 2006 (3 years 4 months)

• Led and organized the award-winning Greenwood String Ensemble in quartet, quintet, and octet performances
• Provided professional, competitive, and artistic direction through team building and outreach initiatives

Ian Tran's Projects

  • Future Detroit Symposium (Workgroup #4)

    • January 2011 to January 2011
    Team Members: Ian Tran

    Per the guidance of the ESD Institute, one of our chief intentions was to introduce a socially equitable, free-thinking collaborative learning processes to students. We also intended to harness their insights to provide an opportunity to translate these ideas and suggestions into meaningful action. Symposia insights were submitted to various Detroit administrators by the Engineering Society of Detroit Institute.

    Workgroup #4 was facilitated by four individuals who served in multiple interchanging roles: Shani Allison, Emile Lauzzana, John Sier , and Ian Tran. Approximately 32 middle school students participated in our workgroup.

Ian Tran's Skills & Expertise

  1. Community Outreach
  2. Sustainability
  3. Nonprofits
  4. Event Planning
  5. Research
  6. Environmental Awareness
  7. Non-profits
  8. Leadership
  9. Public Speaking
  10. Social Media
  11. Higher Education
  12. Program Development
  13. Sustainability Education
  14. Blogging
  15. Environmental Science
  16. Strategic Communications
  17. Marketing
  18. Microsoft Office
  19. Community Development
  20. Facilitation
  21. Public Relations
  22. Participatory Planning
  23. Strategic Planning
  24. Strategic Partnerships
  25. Community Engagement
  26. Strategy
  27. Participatory Design
  28. Fundraising
  29. Volunteer Management
  30. Creative Writing
  31. Violin

View All (31) Skills View Fewer Skills

Ian Tran's Honors and Awards

  • Social Innovation Fellow

    • March 2014

    Los Angeles 2014 Institute Graduate

    StartingBloc fellows undergo an intensive institute to learn elements of social innovation and entrepreneurship. The institutes bring together an outstanding mix of entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, activists, bridge-builders, and innovators working to create change.

    Using rapid prototype methodology, my team designed and tested user experience and processes for Flip the Clinic, a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Flip the Clinic strives to educate and inform dialogue between patient with doctors by making medical terminology accessible, easy to understand and use.


  • Nominee: 2013 StartingBloc Fellowship Detroit Institute for Social Innovation and enterprise

    • April 2013
  • Nominee: 2012 Distinguished Leadership Award UM-Dearborn

    The University of Michigan-Dearborn
    • 2012
  • Nominee: Mayor's Environmental Commission, City of Dearborn

    David Norwood, City of Dearborn Sustainability Coordinator
    • August 2010
  • Gold status Michigan Green Communities Challenge

    Michigan Municipal League
    • 2012

    "Dearborn achieved Gold status for exemplary action in a variety of categories, including the Sustainable Community Roundtable, which engages institutional, not-for-profit, corporate, academic, governmental, and community leaders in comprehensive sustainability efforts throughout the Dearborn area."

    Michigan Municipal League's 2012 press release on the
    "Michigan Green Communities Challenge"

Ian Tran's Volunteer Experience & Causes

  • Volunteer Experience

    • Advocacy Co-Chair, State of Michigan | Advocacy Chair, Detroit Regional Chapter

      U.S. Green Building Council
      January 2014 present (10 months)

      Help the public and builders create opportunities cost effective living, better places to live, and stronger communities. Apolitical best practices, advisory, and rigorous standards for the places we live, work, and play voluntarily driven by the private and public sectors alike.

      -Policy advisory for state of Michigan municipal, state, and federal government
      -Coalesce internal committees for increased public outreach and education in collaboration with community organizations to advance sustainability for businesses, communities, and cities
      -Cohere West Michigan and Detroit Regional Chapter actions to coordinate statewide action

    • Mentor | Rapid Prototyping Co-Facilitator

      June 2014 present (5 months)

      -Guide and support team of 7 high-performance social innovators through the StartingBloc fellowship process
      -Developed and test micro-startup rapid team building processes
      -Co-Facilitated ReWork's Rapid Prototyping for Boston non-profit, the Food Project

Ian Tran's Education

University of Michigan-Dearborn

Bachelor of Science (B.Sci.), Environmental Science


Environmental Science Biology Concentration, Political Science Minor

Activities and Societies: Student Environmental Association, Organization for Earth Studies, Policy Debate Team, undergraduate research, community service, fine and performing arts

Private Study



Private study under violinist, Dr. Mark Schuppener

Activities and Societies: University of Michigan Life Sciences Orchestra, freelance performance, Greenwood Ensemble, music outreach.

Ian Tran's Additional Information

Groups and Associations:

Boy Scouts of America Order of the Arrow, Brotherhood member Student Environmental Association at UM-Dearborn Cool Cities Dearborn Sierra Club USGBC-Detroit Regional Chapter

Honors and Awards:

• Certificate of Merit, Meeting of the Minds Undergraduate Research Conferences XVI 2008; XX 2012
• 2011 Leadership Legacy UM-Dearborn Student Leadership Award
• 2010 U of M-Dearborn Difference Maker (top 50 students of impact of 300+ nominees)
• 2009 Natural Sciences Scholarship Seat: Paragon Leadership Environment and Energy Epprentice Experience
• 2009 EverGreen Team Sustainable Seeds Award
• Friends of the Rouge Certificate of Appreciation, 2009
For volunteer assistance in the Rouge Education Project
• Dean's List, Winter 2008
• Honorable Mention, 2008 U of M-Dearborn Creative Non-Fiction writing competition
• Eagle Scout with Bronze Palm (achievement beyond Eagle rank)
• Academic Achievement Scholarship, University of Michigan-Dearborn
• Spearheaded 1st string ensemble from Plymouth-Canton school district to qualify for MI School Band Orchestra Association State competition in 25+ years; 2 years highest marks earned

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