Opening Keynote

Maxine Cain 2022


Maxine Hankins Cain was born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia to former sharecroppers, Mack and Rebecca Hankins. She is one of seven children whose parents stressed the importance of education and being of service in the community.

Maxine started working as a professional in 1968 as a primary unit teacher with the Detroit Public Schools and has since served in the capacities of educational resource specialist, principal in Lansing and Detroit, Michigan, Director of Elementary Education for the Lansing District and Superintendent of Sankofa Shule Public School Academy in Lansing, Michigan.

She received her undergraduate degree in elementary education from Norfolk State University in 1968; a master’s degree in reading from the University of Michigan in 1977; administrative certification courses from Michigan State University in 1993 and her doctoral degree in K-12 Educational Administration from Union Institute and University in 2011.

Maxine is a national keynote speaker and workshop presenter. Through the years, she has been invited by many local and national business and educational organizations to speak before youth and adults as she shares her expertise in the use of strategies that strengthen self-esteem, diversity and inclusion, empowering people to improve, and teaching our youth and adults by creating stronger teams: strategies that can be used in the home, school, and workplace in a manner that is both participatory and easy to put into practice. Her evaluations are always at the highest level with comments such as, “Maxine changed my life! She should take this show on the road! Everyone needs to hear her!”

Engagements include keynote or workshops for Michigan Farm Bureau, Sioux City Community School District Sioux City, Iowa Tulsa, the Oklahoma School District, Mary Kay International Conference, National Alliance of Black School Educators, National Organization of Albinism Hypopigmentation, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Education Association, Michigan Student Teachers Association, Women of Michigan Educational Network, Michigan Capitol Girl Scout Council, Michigan Hispanic Education Conference, Michigan Women’s Commission, Michigan State University Alumni Association, Eastern Michigan University, University of Michigan, Dean’s Transportation, Willow Plaza Teen Association, Parent Teacher Association, Cristo Rey Community Center, Parent Support Network, Detroit Public Schools, Monroe School District, Ann Arbor School District, Lansing School District, Professional Substitute Teachers Association, MEMSPA (Camp Kett), Sesquicentennial Advisory Board, Kent County Intermediate School District, Lansing Genealogical Society, the Michigan Historical Society, Lansing Community College, and others too numerous to mention.

Maxine is the recipient of the Sojourner Truth Award (Greater Lansing Area Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club, Inc.), Multi-Cultural Award (Michigan Education Association), NAACP Membership Award (Lansing Chapter), Chairperson Awards (YMCA), the Whitney Young Award (Boy Scouts of America), and the Sister Cities International Volunteer of the Year Award (2018), to mention a few.

Maxine is Vice President of the Lansing Regional Sister Cities Commission, a very active volunteer with AARP, a member of the NAACP, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the National and Detroit Chapters of the Association of Black Storytellers (portraying Harriet Tubman and Fannie Lou Hammer), and is a Certified Laughter Facilitator with World Laughter, Inc. She uses these platforms to emphasize the importance of education, the power of one to make a difference and the importance of giving back to the community.

She is married to Dr. Eugene L. Cain and together they have four sons, Asante D. Cain (Assistant to the City Manager of Grand Rapids, MI), Producer and Grammy Winner, Khari H. Cain (Needlz), Dr. Jabari Paul Cain of Kennesaw University and owner of Cain’s Camera and Juba Watts Cain, MD. They have ten wonderful grandchildren and three awesome daughters-in-law. Maxine enjoys reading inspirational books relative to physical and emotional health and fitness, traveling nationally and globally, being with family and friends and maintaining a positive attitude.