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Community Engagement

Let's set a new standard and maximize our impact!

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Let's set a new standard and maximize our impact!

If there was ever a time to get involved and make a difference, it is now. In one of his final acts in office, President Obama encouraged people to "grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself," if they were disappointed in their elected officials. 

While we need good, honorable and focused individuals to run for office, we also need passionate and energetic people to step in to lead the nonprofit organizations filling the gaps in services our government no longer provides.

With an open seat in my district, now that Congressman Sander Levin announced his retirement, I was given an opportunity to run for this open seat.

Like many of you, I am frustrated by just sitting on the sidelines, watching and listening to the news around me. Real or fake I am ready to do something about it. Instead of running for political office, I have decided to focus on getting involved in philanthropy, lending my experience to causes I am passionate about children's health and education, finding a cure for Multiple Sclerosis, literacy and filling food deserts among many others. Perhaps I will even try to help corporations find their soul and become more engaged through corporate philanthropy. Brands can do more than government today to solve the problems that exist around us -- education reform, workforce training, environmental issues, free trade, gender issues, income inequality, climate change and sustainability are all issues companies can have an impact on and force government to act upon. I am going to connect companies to causes and communities, for the purpose, profit and impact.

In addition to running for office, getting to know your elected officials, or voting, together, we can maximize our impact if we get involved in a cause that matters to each of us. Whether it is through fundraising, networking or rolling up your sleeves to pick up the work, there are many opportunities to have a direct and immediate impact on the lives of others -- Without the politics.

Finding a way to turn her campaign movement into a movement to get people engaged, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is encouraging everyone to get involved around issues you are passionate about or into problems affecting your life that you have the power to change. Clinton said,

  • If it does not exist build it.
  • If you think someone should do something then you should do it.
  • If a problem is affecting your life then change it.
  • Stop keeping your opinion to yourself -- speak out on social media and in the media.

We have the power to change. We just need to stop talking about it and start doing it. By getting involved we will make a difference and will set a new standard for public engagement and community involvement.

The standard, however, should not be politics. It should be the community and it should be through philanthropy. The average Congressional seat costs $1.5M. Imagine what you can do if each campaign raised $1.5 and donated it all to a charity. There are 435 House Seats. If the Democratic and Republican nominee each raised $1.5M and donated their funds, that would bring a total of $1.3B to support filling a void left by government.

While rich with a great family, I am part of America's middle class -- Where I want to and need to work to support my family. To make sure they have food on the table, a warm and safe place to sleep at night, a strong education and an even stronger support network around them. After I can guarantee that, my wife and I can make sure our children have a chance to experience the things they enjoy and help them discover their true potential. Then we shift our focus to the community around us and work together to support others where we can. In getting involved locally, I am able to make a difference in my community, together as a family. That is where I can make the greatest impact. Starting with my children and moving forward to the community around me.

I am frustrated when politics gets in the way of policy. When people in positions of influence lose focus and forget why they wanted to get involved in public service. To help people in influential positions remain focused, I have built my career on starting conversations. No matter how hard the issues are, we need to start conversations about issues that matter to us. It should not matter if the person we are talking to agrees with us or not. If we don’t start the conversation we will never be able to find consensus out of chaos.

Once we start the conversation we are bound to find something that we can agree on. Whether you bond with someone over a policy issue, yesterday's football game or the weather, we can find something to start the conversation and open the door to a deeper discussion over what matters. After all, there is always a path forward and I work to help others get on the same path.

In starting the conversation, I am not the expert. I am, however, good at keeping people focused on their goals and helping them reach an outcome they could be happy about. Professionally, it is my responsibility to keep everyone focused. I do this by listening and being engaged in the conversation we started.

Running for office, however, takes you away from your family and politics kick you off the same path. As a dad and husband, I want to be near and with my family, and I want to provide them with every opportunity to live a long life, enriched with family, culture and community. I equally enjoy being near my wife. Together we work hard on focusing on our children. While we want to give them everything, we live within our means, do not spend what we don't have, and make the most of everything we do have.

As an individual, I am frustrated by the world around me. I am disappointed that we still live in a world where people are suffering as a result of bad people craving power and somehow influencing others to support them. I am concerned that we live in a world, full of technological advances to enhance our lives but technology and data that can destroy our lives. As a private citizen, I will work through philanthropy to make a larger impact in the world around me. While I will support people running for political office, for now, I will make my impact by rolling up my sleeves, giving up some time and getting involved in the community. I hope you will join me!

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Today we cut more than just a ribbon #DETROITPROUD

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Today we cut more than just a ribbon #DETROITPROUD

Today we cut a ribbon officially opening the Little Caesars Arena, the new home to the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons and the hub of Detroit's new entertainment district -- District Detroit. But today's ribbon cutting is more than just a chance to bring together the city leaders who helped bring this project together, it is our chance to celebrate Detroit. 

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How to bring order to chaos and Help Save Michigan

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How to bring order to chaos and Help Save Michigan

Public policy disputes have the potential of polarizing communities with the affect of delaying important decisions on vital issues of public policy, often resulting in diluted policies or no action at all.  Facilitation helps resolves some of the high-profile policy disputes and finds resolution through controversy and clarity amidst chaos.

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Who will save Michigan?

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Who will save Michigan?

It's time to take the politics out of the system and create a process to deal with the challenges Michigan faces. It is time we ask the politicians to lead by stepping aside and allow neutrals to step in to guide the stakeholders seeking resolution

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The Way Forward Is To ENGAGE

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The Way Forward Is To ENGAGE

That is why North Coast Strategies is proud to announce that we are a pre-approved service provider for Motor City Match (MCM), through the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC). a grant program that connects Detroit-based entrepreneurs and commercial property owners with financial and technical resources, all with the goal of growing businesses in the city's neighborhood commercial corridors.  

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The PR Strategy For Michigan's Governor Must Engage The People Of Flint

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The PR Strategy For Michigan's Governor Must Engage The People Of Flint

Engaging the public through strategic communications is a vital component of any strategy, in both the public and private sector.  That is why the State of Michigan, the Governor, each state Department, the City of Flint, the business and community groups in Flint, the Mayor of Flint, and other organizations affected by the water crises needs someone to help define the narrative to communicate about the situation, to find the people and their stories to share, to run interference between the national media looking for a story and the people of Flint looking for answers, for solutions and for help. 

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Restoring the public's trust after a crises

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Restoring the public's trust after a crises

Crisis just don’t just happen, they evolve.  Just like hurricanes do not suddenly appear, they are given time to gain momentum or dissipate.  A forest fire does not start out as an inferno, it starts out as a brushfire.  And a terrorist attack does not just happen, the terrorists plot, plan practice and kill. 

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There is always another way!

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There is always another way!

Campaigns are about ideas and how to build upon the present. Once elected, politicians ideally become policy makers, but today many of these politicians never make the transformation. 

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How Flint Can Find Resolution Through Chaos

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How Flint Can Find Resolution Through Chaos

While every community is different, many issues are the same. However, when the issue becomes emotional or even political, finding a solution becomes difficult but not impossible. To help facilitate that process, they need to bring in a neutral third party who is sensitive to the politics of the problem, familiar enough with the people involved, but not connected to anyone so that they can help facilitate ways to bring a resolution forward. 

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How to Avoid WICKED Problems

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How to Avoid WICKED Problems

Despite the festive aurora of Halloween we are surrounded by wicked problems.  They affect a lot of people and for a company they can disrupt business or even change the industry. To deal with these problems, companies need to be agile and both need to deal with issues quickly and easily before an issue becomes a wicked problem.

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A  Plan For Community Engagement

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A Plan For Community Engagement

Conflict is inevitable with any high profile project. However, a carefully structured dialogue could offer a more effective and durable method to resolve conflicts and build consensus around controversial or often complex projects.

If project teams for high profile projects, such as a new international border crossing, a jail, new stadium or arena or a large mixed-use development are serious about seeing their vision a reality while contributing to the community, an effective strategy would be to engage the community and other stakeholders early in the process. 

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RELATIONSHIPS MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

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RELATIONSHIPS MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

Public affairs professionals with a solid reputation in the community and one who is familiar with the stakeholders and the issues important to them, can then help develop strategic and meaningful relationships, long before a high profile and often controversial project is announced.  That professional can then create a  community roadmap to help the project team navigate through the minefields of any project.  They will help minimize risk and help anticipate barriers to seeing projects to their completion.

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The community benefits when everyone is engaged

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The community benefits when everyone is engaged

The community benefits when everyone is engaged. From the design stage to the public process in securing permits, in addition to raising capital and targeting potential retailers and other tenants, constant engagement is vital to the success of any high profile project. 

Developing strategic relationships “early-on” helps minimize risk and helps anticipate barriers to seeing projects to their completion. Effective communications is vital to the public’s understanding of the project and the governments involved in helping the project move forward. Therefore, the company or consortium leading the project should be in control of the process and be proactive with their messaging and outreach.

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