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February 19, 2013: BET Founder to Keynote Mackinac Policy Conference; Learn How Detroit is Outpacing Silicon Valley

BET Founder Robert L. Johnson to Keynote 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference

The Detroit Regional Chamber announced Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies, and founder and former chairman of Black Entertainment Television (BET), as a 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference speaker last week. Johnson will take the stage Wednesday, May 29 and will focus on economic opportunity for minorities and access to capital for minority businesses as a contributor to urban economic growth. Johnson will provide insight based on his success in providing “business solutions to social problems.” For additional information on the Conference agenda, participating speakers and island hotels, visit

Key Leaders Discuss How Detroit is Revolutionizing the IT Industry, Outpacing Silicon Valley  Don’t miss the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2013 Detroit Policy Conference on Thursday, February 28 at MotorCity Casino Hotel. One of the Conference sessions, “Outpacing Silicon Valley: How Detroit is Revolutionizing the IT Industry,” will provide insight on the existing high tech opportunities and the policies helping to leverage the talent of the entire region. Panelists for this session include Henry Balanon, co-founder, Detroit Labs; Jen Todd Gray, vice president, marketing and creative services, ePrize; Joey Grover, software engineer, mobile technology lead, Livio; and moderator Zafar Razzacki, account executive, Google, Inc.

This year’s Conference will showcase Detroit’s continued transformation by inviting public and private sector leaders to share their expertise and inspire innovative solutions that encourage urban revitalization. For more information on speakers, the Conference agenda or to register, click here.

Business Roundtable’s Maria Ghazal to Discuss Employer Engagement at Health Care Leaders ForumJoin the Detroit Regional Chamber for the 2013 Health Care Leaders Forum on Thursday, March 21 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago- Detroit branch as some of the nation’s top health care thought leaders examine the current direction of reform and the fast pace of transformation that lies ahead. Attendees will hear from Maria Ghazal, vice president and counsel of the Business Roundtable, on how employers, large and small, can engage on the transformation of health care and the need for entitlement reform.

Ghazal joins an impressive lineup of speakers and panelists who will highlight the rapidly changing health care landscape, its effect on employers, and the obstacles and straightaways that lie ahead. Click here for more information or to register for this event.

Join Us Thursday for a Leadership Detroit Class XXXV Informational Breakfast

Don’t miss the a Leadership Detroit Class XXXV Informational Breakfast this Thursday at the Ford Education Center at the Detroit Zoo from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. This experience provides the chance to enhance and share knowledge, network with more than 1,000 Leadership Detroit alumni in the region and the foundation to impact change in the community. For more information or to register, click here.

Innovation Workshop Highlights Relevance, Discipline of Innovative Thinking

Last week, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Leadership Detroit program, in partnership with the New North Center (NNC), hosted a leadership innovation workshop at TechTown in Detroit. A number of Leadership Detroit alumni and class members from several industries spanning small business, education, nonprofit and IT attended the event, which focused on the theory and practice behind innovative thinking. Former automobile designer and NNC president and founder Nate Young of the NNC discussed the systematic approach to innovation from concept to output.

The program discussion comes at a time when businesses throughout the region and the global economy are putting an increased focus on innovation. Young guided participants to pinpoint their “innovative DNA” and broached the idea that innovation goes well beyond an individual’s ability to be creative. It’s a deliberate process that requires understanding, management and personal discipline. This program aimed to drive meaningful and sustainable change within the organizations the participants represent. For more information on upcoming Leadership Detroit events, click here.

Join Chamber’s Community of Health Reform Experts; Get Answers to Your Reform Questions

The Detroit Regional Chamber is inviting subject matter experts in all disciplines related to health care reform to participate as experts in a new online community. If you or someone you know would make an ideal candidate for this, please submit information here to get started and participate.

In addition, the Chamber is in the process of creating new resources that will help you and your employees better understand the new health care law and how it will impact your business. Your feedback on a short survey will give us a better understanding of the kinds of resources your small business is looking for. The survey, found here, will be available until Friday.

MEDC Hosting LiveWorkLaunchDetroit! Event, Feb. 22

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation will be holding a LiveWorkLaunchDetroit! event on February 22 showcasing entrepreneurial opportunities in Detroit. LWLD! is an event for entrepreneurial college students around the country who are looking for a place to launch or expand a business.  The event will consist of a panel of young entrepreneurs, a resource fair connecting the entrepreneurs to service providers, a strolling supper tour and a pitch competition so that innovation based entrepreneurs gain exposure with possible investors.  Prizes for entrepreneurs include a $10,000 cash prize, consulting services, free incubator space and more. This event aims to attract entrepreneurs and job creators to Detroit, helping to reindustrialize and diversify the urban core. For more information, click here.