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Walter Robb, Nate Silver and Mellody Hobson to Keynote 2015 Mackinac Policy Conference

DETROIT, December 15, 2014 – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber announced renowned financial expert and Chair of DreamWorks Animation Mellody Hobson, Whole Foods CEO Walter Robb and statistician Nate Silver as keynote speakers for the 2015 Mackinac Policy Conference. Held Tuesday, May 26 through Friday, May 29, the Conference will drive a statewide dialogue on talent, urban revitalization and cohesion.

“The Mackinac Policy Conference continues to bring top tier programming to Michigan’s Center Stage,” said Mark Davidoff, Michigan managing partner, Deloitte, and 2015 Conference chair. “Mellody Hobson, Walter Robb and Nate Silver will add their unique perspectives and expertise to what is shaping up as a dynamic agenda. True to form, this year’s Conference will challenge Michigan’s leaders with innovative ideas to move this state forward.”

The 2015 Conference aims to ensure Michigan’s dynamic and geometric economic growth through three pillars:

  • Talent: Deepen Michigan’s talent base through attraction and retention and by connecting individuals with opportunities.
  • Urban Revitalization: Drive innovative approaches to transforming Michigan’s historic and new urban centers to foster business growth, financial stability, infrastructure improvements and placemaking.
  • Cohesion: Inspire a commitment among Michigan’s leaders to speak with “One Michigan Voice” built on a foundation of shared values and the overarching ethos of “doing well, by doing good.”

“Michigan’s re-emerging as a national economic leader, but there is a lot of work yet to be done to continue that momentum,” said Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah. “Expanding the talent base, revitalizing urban centers to unleash their full economic potential, and developing a cohesive strategy focused on what is good for the state will be critical to Michigan’s continued growth.”

The announcement of Hobson, Robb and Silver build on the Conference’s emphasis on providing thought-provoking programming to Michigan’s business, philanthropic and political leaders. The Chamber will announce additional speakers leading up to the event.

Mellody Hobson, Chair, DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.; Financial Contributor, “Good Morning America”

Money-savvy expert Mellody Hobson has been educating viewers on important financial decisions as “Good Morning America’s” financial contributor for over a decade. Hobson serves as president of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based money management firm. She is a nationally recognized voice on financial literacy and investor education. Additionally, Hobson is a regularly featured columnist for Black Enterprise magazine and board chair of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., and director of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. and Starbucks Corp.

Walter Robb, Co-CEO, Whole Foods Market

With a long and varied history in natural foods ranging from retailer to consultant, Whole Foods Market Co-CEO Walter Robb is the driving force behind the company’s outreach to new markets, notably its expansion into Detroit in 2013. Robb oversees the company’s operations across six regions and sits on the Whole Planet Foundation board of directors. A fervent natural foods entrepreneur, Robb is on a mission to “change the way people eat.”

Nate Silver, Founder,; Bestselling Author

As a former syndicated columnist for The New York Times, Nate Silver first gained national attention during the 2008 presidential election, when he correctly predicted the results of the primaries and the presidential winner in 49 states. In addition to serving as editor-in-chief of, an award-winning website focused on statistical analysis of politics, sports and science, Silver is an on-air commentator for ESPN and has published numerous books including New York Times bestseller “The Signal and The Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail – But Some Don’t.” He was recently named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Influential People in Business.

To register for the Conference, visit

Detroit Regional Chamber 2015 Mackinac Policy Conference
The Mackinac Policy Conference – the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual event – brings together business and government to re-energize Michigan. Since 1981, the Conference has provided access to Michigan’s top business professionals, legislative leaders, corporate CEOs, entrepreneurs and veteran regional champions. Approximately 1,500 attendees will gather for the 2015 Conference, which will be held May 26 – May 29 at the historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber

Serving the business community for more than 100 years, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the oldest, largest and most respected chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission of powering the economy for Southeast Michigan is carried out through economic development, education reform, regional collaboration and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit

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