Lassiter, Tellem Make a Business Play for a Healthier Community

Henry Ford Health System and the Detroit Pistons proved partnerships and investment can empower communities with the opening of the long-awaited Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center in Detroit. In a one-on-one conversation at the 2020 Detroit Policy Conference, Henry Ford Health System President Wright L. Lassiter III and Detroit Pistons Vice Chairman Arn Tellem discussed this partnership and how it represents more than a business deal 

When Tellem arrived in Detroit in 2015, questions were swirling about the Pistons’ move to Detroit.  

“The vision was that if we moved downtown, I wanted to create a place not just for our players to train,” Tellem said. “We wanted to create partnerships that had a positive impact on the community…and set ourselves apart for how we contributed to Detroit’s rebirth.” 

Tellem wanted a practice facility that broke the mold of the usual private, walled-off facilities of the league and to share its cutting-edge resources with the surrounding community. This is evident in the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center’s public access to healthy groceries, fitness activities and equipment, as well as entertainment space for gathering the community.  

Lassiter and the Henry Ford Health System team shared that same vision for their business, ensuring their work benefits their community beyond patient care.  

“This is a multi-layer partnership,” Lassiter said. “We don’t just focus on sports. We don’t just focus on winning and health care. We focus on trying to uplift the community as well.” 

These organizations’ investments in the city continue to foster ongoing improvements in the communities they inhabit through projects rooted in the longevity and sustainability of their results.  

A poignant symbol of this partnership and connectivity of sports, medicine, and community is the physical bridge that connects the two organizations’ buildings in Detroit. 

“Going back to the idea of how environment shapes culture…it’s been a real positive for both of us.” 

Thank you to TCF Bank for sponsoring this session. 

After learning about its development, see the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center firsthand at the Chamber’s Spring Membership Reception on Tuesday, April 21 from 6-8 p.m. Learn more, and register today.

Mobility, Collaboration Among Topics Discussed at Governor’s Building the 21st Century Economy Commission Meeting

The Building the 21st Century Economy Commission held its most recent meeting in Detroit at the Chamber on Feb. 22. The Commission, created by Gov. Rick Snyder, has traveled across the state to gain public input from the business community on what needs to be done long-term to grow Michigan’s economy.

The discussion was led by Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah, who chairs the Commission. Chamber Board members Matt Cullen and Sandra Pierce also make up the 15-member Commission.

The day-long event included presentations from featured guests including: Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel; Wright Lassiter III, president and CEO of Henry Ford Health System; Eric Larson, CEO of Downtown Detroit Partnership; John McElroy, host of “Autoline Daily”; and Mark Wallace, president and CEO of Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

Hackel discussed the possibilities of efficiencies by local government operational consolidations; Lassiter discussed the transformations taking place in health care due to technology; Larson and Wallace discussed the keys to success for urban areas; and McElroy focused on next-generation mobility with his view that Detroit has already prevailed over Silicon Valley in the race to build the autonomous car.

A panel of millennial Ford Motor Co. engineers discussed and shared their thoughts on how young talent want to live, work and play in Michigan.

Several Chamber staff members were on hand for the meeting, including Greg Handel, vice president of education and talent; Roy Lamphier, vice president of health care and business solutions; and Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives.

The Commission plans on presenting its recommendations at the 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference.

Jeff DeGraff: Don’t Wait for the Next Best Thing to Pass You By, Innovate

By Daniel Lai 

“Innovation is a key ingredient for leaders to scale their business and sustain growth,” Jeff DeGraff, professor of business administration at the University of Michigan, said during his keynote address at the annual Middle Market CEO Summit.

“If you seek growth, innovation isn’t your best friend … it’s your only friend,” DeGraff said.

Drawing on examples from his past clients, such as Coca-Cola and Microsoft, the self-professed “dean of innovation,” said successful leaders are ones who understand the importance of:

  • Finding, developing and connecting the best people
  • Establishing a sustainable high-performing culture
  • Engaging a wide array of expertise and capability
  • Creating a collaborative learning environment

In order to accomplish those goals, oftentimes leaders must adopt a “prismatic” way of thinking, DeGraff said. The prismatic model divides innovation into four areas: collaborate, create, control and compete. Watch DeGraff’s presentation on prismatic thinking and how it can spark innovation.

Following the keynote, panelists John Fikany of Quicken Loans, Wright Lassiter III of Henry Ford Health System, and Paul Rogers, director of the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) discussed how culture is driving innovation in their respective organizations.

“Two of the biggest issues in health care right now are preventable medical errors and the overall expense of care. Innovation is a way to solve both of these issues,” Lassiter said. “At Henry Ford we celebrate those who not only have the forethought for an idea, but also help to bring it to market.”

Pointing to the success of Henry Ford Health System’s patented Model G patient gown, Lassiter said innovation is often spawned by collaboration, adding that the hospital is currently working with a tech startup to redesign the traditional hospital bed.

Fikany said innovation is such a critical component of Quicken Loans’ success that the company gives employees a half-day weekly to follow their passion, which has led to the creation of numerous product ideas such as the high-speed internet service, Rocket Fiber, serving Detroit.

Additional coverage from the Middle Market CEO Summit:

Regional CEOs Tackle Innovation, Cybersecurity and Challenges for the Middle Market

Cybersecurity Starts at the Top: Why Middle Market CEOs Must Lead

Business Leaders are Called On to Help Heal the Country When the Election is Over

Wright Lassiter III

Henry Ford Health System

Wright Lassiter III is president of Henry Ford Health System. As president, Lassiter oversees all hospital and service operations for the five-hospital health system consisting of more than 60 clinical locations and more than 23,000 employees. A seasoned health care executive, Lassiter has more than 20 years of experience working in large health systems, including Methodist Health System in Dallas, and JPS Health Network in Fort Worth, Texas.

Lassiter previously worked at Alameda Health System in Oakland, Calif., where he is credited with leading the expansion and turnaround of the $865-million public health system. For his work, Lassiter has received numerous national accolades, most notably: “Top Blacks in U.S. Health Care” by the John Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions; “Top 25 Minority Health Care Executives in U.S. Health Care” by Modern Health Care magazine; and one of “20 People Who Make Health Care Better” in the United States by Health Leaders magazine. Lassiter received his master’s degree in health care administration from Indiana University, where he graduated No. 1 in his class.