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December 16: Mellody Hobson, Walter Robb and Nate Silver to Keynote Mackinac Policy Conference; State of the Region Reveals Promising Growth for Southeast Michigan

Mellody Hobson, Walter Robb and Nate Silver to Keynote Mackinac Policy Conference

DreamWorks Animation Board Chair Mellody Hobson, Whole Foods Co-CEO Walter Robb and leading political prognosticator Nate Silver are among the national all-star lineup of keynote speakers scheduled to take Michigan’s Center Stage at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2015 Mackinac Policy Conference. The annual, four-day Conference is scheduled for May 26-29 at the historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. This year’s themes will focus on talent, urban revitalization and cohesion. To register for the Conference, click here.

Drawing on her vast business and financial expertise, Hobson’s perspective fits with the Conference pillar of talent and connecting individuals with opportunities. In addition to her work with DreamWorks, she is a nationally-recognized voice, having served as a financial contributor for ABC’s “Good Morning America” for the past 10 years and as the current president of Ariel Investments in Chicago.

As Co-CEO, Robb is the driving force behind Whole Foods’ market outreach, notably its expansion into Detroit in 2013. Robb oversees the company’s operations across six regions. A fervent natural foods entrepreneur, Robb’s perspective lends itself to the Conference’s cohesion pillar and the overarching ethos of doing well by doing good.

Utilizing a data-driven approach to understanding election outcomes, Silver first gained national attention in 2008 after correctly predicting the presidential winner in 49 states. His presence builds on the Conference’s legacy of attracting first-rate national experts to analyze the local and national political landscape.

Silver is the editor-in-chief of, an award-winning website focused on statistical analysis of politics, sports and science. In addition, he has published numerous books including New York Times bestseller, “The Signal and The Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail – But Some Don’t.”

Click here to view full speaker bios and an updated agenda on the Chamber’s website.

State of the Region Reveals Promising Growth for Southeast Michigan

In case you missed it, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s inaugural State of the Region is now available online.

The comprehensive overview, presented by Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah, highlights Southeast Michigan’s challenges and opportunities for economic growth heading into 2015. Among its highlights, the State of the Region shows that Southeast Michigan’s gross domestic product grew by 9 percent, outpacing the national average by 5 percent from 2009-2013. In that same time period, private sector jobs grew by 9.8 percent, and Michigan’s entrepreneurial climate ranking climbed from 41st in 2008 to sixth in the nation in 2013.

Click here to download the State of the Region and watch a video presentation of the report. The Chamber’s Year in Review that focuses on its initiatives and accomplishments throughout the past year is also available to download on the Chamber’s website.

Help Your Employees Struggling with Mental Health Issues

Depression and stress can be the underlying causes of many chronic health conditions. Additionally, employees with mental health issues display lower productivity and can impact morale. The Detroit Regional Chamber is partnering with Employers Health Coalition to promote the Right Direction initiative, which raises awareness about depression in the workplace, promotes early recognition of symptoms and reduces the stigma surrounding mental illness.

HealthForward members can attend a special presentation at the Chamber’s Employer Health Care Guiding Council meeting on Jan. 15. For more information, contact Jonathan So at

Chamber Closed for Christmas Holiday Beginning Dec. 25

The Detroit Regional Chamber will be closed for the Christmas holiday beginning Thursday, Dec. 25 through Friday, Jan. 2. The Chamber will resume its normal business hours on Monday, Jan. 5. Look for the next eDetroiter in the new year. Have a safe and happy holiday!