Detroit Regional Chamber > Mackinac Policy Conference > Celebrating Wright L. Lassiter III, Chamber’s Progress Since 2021 Mackinac Policy Conference

Celebrating Wright L. Lassiter III, Chamber’s Progress Since 2021 Mackinac Policy Conference

June 2, 2022
Wright L. Lassiter III, president and chief executive officer of Henry Ford Health and former chair of the Mackinac Policy Conference, took the stage Thursday morning to share an update on the progress from the 2021 Conference To-Do List. Some progress highlights include:

  • Bring together business, philanthropy, civic, nonprofit, and government to accelerate data-based collective action to close racial and social equity gaps throughout the Detroit Region.
    • The Chamber is partnering with the Blueprint Group – launched by The Skillman Foundation – and the Gallup Center for Black Voices to bring a survey to Detroit to reflect the lived experiences of the city’s Black residents.
  • Support measures to help employers deploy strategies to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on community health and the economy.
    • The Chamber’s advocacy team worked with the Whitmer administration and state legislature to shape a supplemental appropriations budget to ensure federal relief funding helped communities and businesses recover from the pandemic. This led to most of the $4.7 billion in supplemental bills, including investment in replacing lead lines, water infrastructure, parks and recreation, broadband, COVID-19 relief, and more.
  • Help businesses understand how COVID-19 has permanently changed work life and the workplace so employers can adapt and prepare for a changing environment.
  • Ensure the 2022 Mackinac Policy Conference includes a robust representation of bipartisan elected leaders.
    • This year’s Conference features a debate of Republican Gubernatorial Candidates and more than 70 legislators, including 23 Republican legislative attendees. It has also included two bipartisan policy announcements.
    • “It’s more important than ever that the Chamber be proud in continuing to provide one of the premier places where statewide bipartisan dialogue can occur,” said Lassiter.
  • Capitalize on the Chamber’s education data assets, such as the State of Education report, to encompass the type of research highlighted by professor Raj Chetty that showed the connection between upward mobility and job growth.
    • The 2022 State of the Region and State of Education reports included findings that show demographic connections to economic mobility. The Chamber also is working with nonprofit YearUp, launching a pilot program with Henry Ford College and the new Detroit Drives Degrees Community College Collaborative. This cross-sector collaborative elevates the role of community colleges in working towards regional talent pipeline transformation in Southeast Michigan.

In a toast to Lassiter’s successful career and partnerships in Detroit, Baruah and Tellem offered some memories and sentiments.

“Wright, certainly, in his role at Henry Ford Health, has been a transformative leader on a national scale,” Baruah said. “Having the CEO of Michigan’s premier health organization right at our side to guide us through how to handle the relaunch of the Mackinac Policy Conference in really uncertain times…Wright, you did so much for us as a Chamber, but more importantly, you’ve done so much for me learning from your leadership.”

 width=Next, Tellem shared his words on stage.

“[Henry Ford Health has] been an incredible partner for us, providing us incredible health care, advice, counsel – during the pandemic, we wouldn’t have gotten through it,” Tellem said. “Wright is our number one fan.”

Lassiter concluded the event with emotional gratitude.

“It’s been the best experience of a 30-plus-year career,” Lassiter said. “It’s been a privilege to be here, and I will miss being around on a day-to-day basis, but I will not be far.”