Detroit Regional Chamber > Mackinac Policy Conference > 2023 Mackinac Policy Conference Opens With Gov. Whitmer, Sandy K. Baruah, & Matt Elliott on the Power of &

2023 Mackinac Policy Conference Opens With Gov. Whitmer, Sandy K. Baruah, & Matt Elliott on the Power of &

May 31, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • The Power of “And” is about collaboration and looking for the win-win.
  • “Either or” can be easy, but it stops synergy.
  • Every Conference session should end with a tangible micro-action.

The 2023 Mackinac Policy Conference opened on Wednesday, May 31, in Grand Hotel’s Theatre with remarks from the Detroit Regional Chamber’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Sandy K. Baruah, to explain more about this year’s Conference theme, which encourages an “and” approach to create a healthy, productive tension among leaders with different points of view.

“Its power is in its simplicity. As a community, as a state, even on the global stage, we are all stronger when we work together,” Baruah said. “”And’ is about doing things together and looking for the win-win as opposed to the either-or.”

Baruah also encourages using the “Five Cs” of critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, and civility during these kinds of conversations during and long after the Conference concludes.

“What’s said in this room is not meant to stay in this room,” he said. “It’s going to take a lot of ‘ands’ to address these…issues.”

Following Baruah, Matt Elliott, Bank of America’s Michigan President, took the stage to give his point of view of this year’s Conference theme and the experience of being this year’s Conference Chair.

“The goal of this Conference is to explore the power of ‘and’ and hopefully build a clear framework to align us towards a winning future for Michigan’s future,” he said. “Even though ‘or’ can be simple and easy, there’s a problem. It stops and there’s no growth [or] synergy. There’s no win-win.”

Elliott gave some tips to create the ‘and’ energy, which includes using data, feedback, and strong leadership.

“We want to shift the conversation from being right to getting it right,” he said. “At the end of every session, we’re asking for a micro-action…and a metric. Packaging those two things will help us evolve.”

Shortly after, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took the stage to talk more about the Power of & and what the state has accomplished in these past few months, as well as give a preview of what she will discuss during her keynote address on Thursday, June 1.

“‘And’ is the key to unleashing our potential,” she said. “The power of ‘and’ is important to think ahead. When I look back on what [Michigan has] done in the past, we compete with an underdog spirit and championship swagger.”