Detroit Regional Chamber > Mackinac Policy Conference > CEOs on Embracing the Power of & in Business and Civil Discourse

CEOs on Embracing the Power of & in Business and Civil Discourse

May 31, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Future-thinking, simplification, innovation, and compromise are opportunities within business. 
  • Engaging others with differing political views with your core values encourages civility.


To discuss the 2023 Conference theme, the Power of &, and what it means to their organizations and what it looks like in business, four chief executive officers from the health, technology, and finance industries joined a panel moderated by WOOD-TV 8’s Rick Albin. 

The panelists were: 

  • Tina Freese Decker, President and Chief Executive Officer, Corewell Health   
  • AB Ghosh, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Hemlock Semiconductor  
  • Kenneth Kelly, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, First Independence Bank  
  • Suzanne Shank, President and Chief Executive Officer, Siebert Williams Shank & Co., LLC 

Opportunities Within Business to Embrace the Power of & 

There are many opportunities for businesses to embrace the Power of &, panelists shared, with the top being future-thinking, simplification, innovation, and compromise.  

At Corewell Health, Freese Decker said they’re constantly considering the future when making decisions and take an integrated, uncomplicated approach with the goal of making health care “simple & equitable & affordable & exceptional & accessible.” 

Ghosh shared that at Hemlock Semiconductor, they focus on investing in the future, as well as “win-win” solutions – or what’s in it for everyone – which he stated is the only way to grow your business. This sentiment was echoed by Kelly, who rejects the idea of “either or” and heavily relies on the Power of &. 

Shank focused on the importance of innovation and collaboration, sharing: 

“Our audience is comprised of leaders, innovators, changemakers. We are the essence of change that needs to happen. We’re the group that will make it happen in Michigan,” said Shank. “I know we talk a lot about threats to our society … it’s really us. Until we, as educated, informed citizens, lean in and take action, reach across the aisle to someone you might not normally do so, we’re not going to succeed. We need to be the catalyst for change.”  

Using the Power of & for Civil Discourse 

Shank likened civility to marriage, sharing, “If we aren’t both good, the marriage is not good, and I think it is the same as we deal with different political views. If we can’t come to common ground, if we can’t compromise, we’re going to lose.”  

Despite this being the key to success, this concept can be difficult for people with opposing views to achieve. Kelly even went so far as to say that it’s no longer “either or,” in today’s political environment but “nor.” “We shouldn’t tolerate nor behavior. As business leaders, we have a responsibility to not feed into that frenzy. If we’re going to expect to be what we are capable of becoming, we’re going to have to behave accordingly,” said Kelly. 

A solution Ghosh presented is to engage with your core values, stating that they are the only way we can retain existing and attract new talent.  

“I always like to be in someone else’s shoe[s] before I react. People have a certain point of view, but I want to understand why do they have that point of view. Because really, there is no solution if it’s I win, and you lose,” said Ghosh. “Somehow, we have to find a way where everybody wins all the time, at some level, otherwise it’s just not going to work. If we all have the same values, and I think we all do in the United States, frankly, we can solve any of the problems.” 

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This Mackinac Policy Conference session was sponsored by Delta Air Lines.