Ellen Vial

Civic Engagement Program Manager

B.A. University of Michigan, International Studies and German Studies

Royal Oak, MI

Areas of expertise:
Civic Engagement. Policy & Politics.

On staff since: June 2012

Previous experience:
I worked for a couple of years at the UofM Natural History Museum facilitating hands on science workshops in libraries around southeast Michigan.

Professional Interests

What do you love about cities?

The stories! With the density of cities comes a wealth of history. Buildings, people, parks, politics- everything has a story and I want to hear all of them. There is so much to learn in a city, so much outside of one’s own universe. I often feel as though I could spend a week in a new city and barely scratch the surface!

What is your favorite thing about working at Metro Matters?

Nothing ever feels tedious. I believe strongly in the Metro Matters mission and I take pride in the work that we do. To that end, even the most laborious of tasks is rewarding insofar as it is a contribution to an important effort.

What policy issue are you most passionate about an why? 

It’s difficult to pick just one- I am very interested in health policy, environmental policy and planning. Perhaps the crux of the three is waste management policy, which I think is really fascinating.


What did you want to be when you grew up?

For a long time I wanted to be a doctor and work for the World Health Organization. Still haven’t ruled out the WHO idea!

Name three things that make you happy:

Lake Michigan, outdoor concerts, crossword puzzles

Favorite book:

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie


Your Turn to Make the News!

What do you think are the biggest challenges and/or opportunities facing our region in 2016? What kind of media coverage can effectively communicate the complexity of these issues, and vet possible solutions? These questions are at the heart of our new project with Metromode, Issue Media Group’s regional publication for metro Detroit. We believe that …

Hazel Park: A Point of Pride

Hazel Park is a pretty special place, home to smart local government, engaged community, and unexpected innovation. As they experience new investment and attention from this region and beyond, it’s important to recognize the hard work that brought them to this point. Read our love letter to the city!

Metro Matters: Our Next Evolution

Over the next few months, we’re transforming from the Michigan Suburbs Alliance into Metro Matters. We believe this name describes the organization we truly are, and the organization we want to be: sharp, inclusive, and dedicated to solutions that benefit the entire region.




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