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Michigan’s Center Stage

Welcome to Michigan’s Center Stage. For the 34th year, the Detroit Regional Chamber is proud to present the Mackinac Policy Conference.

About five years ago, the Chamber decided to shake things up. Leadership lifted the veil, opening the Conference up to Michiganders in all corners of the state and raising the bar by bringing in the highest quality national speakers.

This new way of “doing business” at Mackinac continues to pay dividends. There is greater C-suite participation. Media interest continues to grow. More people than ever are engaged. The annual To-Do List brings accountability. The Conference is as impactful and far-reaching as ever.

This year features the three pillars of entrepreneurship, STEM education and impact. Every session will tie back to at least one of these themes. For instance, Gallup CEO and author Jim Clifton will challenge Michigan’s leadership to make an impact through entrepreneurship and education while confronting the harsh reality of changing global trends. Mitch Daniels will draw on his wildly successful tenure as governor of Indiana, and share perspective on how to make government work toward common goals and achieve actual results on important issues such as STEM education.

Also, in new programming this year, CNN pundits Paul Begala and S.E. Cupp will put the national political landscape in perspective heading into the midterm elections, and Michigan leaders will inspire attendees during brief “Mackinac Moment” speeches on key issues.

Few sessions, however, will demonstrate the importance of impact more than the Detroit sessions. Mayor Mike Duggan, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and statewide leaders will lead frank, results-oriented discussions on positioning Detroit for long-term success after bankruptcy, which is critical to Michigan’s success.

The rejuvenation of the Conference over the past few years, coincidentally, has occurred as Michigan has experienced a dramatic reinvention under Gov. Rick Snyder. The state is amidst a remarkable comeback and emerging as a national model for executive leadership. The Chamber is proud to Showcase this new way of doing Michigan business and honored to contribute to that effort at Mackinac and beyond.

Enjoy the Conference, but accept the Governor’s invitation to forgo “nice” meetings. Ask the hard questions.

Engage in the difficult conversations. Take away a new idea, a new connection, or a renewed resolve to make a difference. Michigan will be better for it.

Sandy K. Baruah, President and CEO, Detroit Regional Chamber