Trying to find a common denominator to linking up various organizations, political figures, small business owners, corporations and various community groups and non-profits was one of the main focuses at the recent ninth annual Synergy Leaders Council Meeting at Sindbads Restaurant and Marina in Detroit.
Most of the 40-plus attendees at the event, sponsored by GreeningDetroit.com, agreed that improved education, not just with youths but adults as well, must take place in order to bridge the gaps between those in different sectors of Metro Detroit, as well as southwestern Ontario. An understanding and connection must be made by different demographics and age brackets to the political, financial, educational, environmental, industrial/manufacturing and new business sectors to help improve this region in many ways, both in the near and distant future.
“It all starts with education,” beamed Alvin Tessmer, Professor at Eastern Michigan University. “And we better change the way things are done. Not just prepare students (of all ages) to take a test, but to prepare them for the real world.”
The event, moderated by Larry L. Fobes, founder of Learning From Leaders, LLC, who also has ties to Duke University, Wayne State University and multiple companies throughout his career, saw Fobes ask a series of questions to the panel of attendees, who had each previously submitted a survey and potential questions regarding various topics of discussion.
“It’s all about helping each other. Synergy is a word that was popular in the 1970s and is kind of back again,” reminded Fobes. “It’s more than exchanging business cards and having a drink. Here it’s all about making real connections. It’s about getting to know each other and finding ways to help each other in their work, whether you’re a businessman, an educator, a local politician … We all need help with something. You can always offer your expertise to help someone else and (several) will benefit.”
The council broke down the session into four main topics — regional development, economical development for southeast Michigan, business development and workforce education, and environmental energy.
“Everything (crosses over) into those categories,” added Fobes, who challenged the council members to look at the big picture of Metropolitan Detroit, the eight-county southeastern Michigan region, Windsor, Ont., and even Michigan as a whole.
“How do we get the attention of the rest of the world?” he asked. “How do we get the outside world to see us other than (for) cars?”
“There are so many resources available not just in Oakland County, but for the whole southeast Michigan region,” offered Madonna Van Fossen, Ombudsman for SMART. “We all know a little bit about each of them, but we don’t know enough about all of these resources, these organizations that can help. How do we streamline all of this information? How do we educate each other on all of the information? Not just students but adults as well — that regardless of where you live or where your business is from (or serves), you have to know a lot of information to talk about it. And a lot of us (in society) don’t know enough about.”
Improving transit issues, providing solutions for health epidemics such as clean water, bringing new technologies and businesses to the region, educating the masses to break down invisible barriers and to prepare individuals for new technologies and potential job growth, and to gain cooperation of thousands of people serving in eight counties, hundreds of municipalities, cities and townships, and to other areas of Michigan is all a daunting and long-term task.
While trying to get the entire region on the same page in efforts to improve and re-establish the region, many felt that adaption to an ever-changing global market will be essential to reclaiming Detroit-Windsor as an important and viable destination for new business, and to strengthen existing businesses.
** Story By Dan Stickradt
* To get involved in the Synergy Leaders Council or affiliated events, contact GreeningDetroit CEO and Synergy Leaders Founder John Carlos by email at JCarlos@GreeningDetroit.com. He can be reached via his cell number at (248) 388-2828.