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Looking forward to this year: 2008 aims to set new standards.

It's been an exhilarating ten months preparing for the 2008 Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference. Our goal was to focus the Conference on identifying issues that matter most to the business community. There has been a concerted effort over the last few years to connect the dialogue on the island to tangible results back in the Detroit Region, and this year's Conference will once again meet this objective.

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I owe the Mackinac Policy Conference Planning Committee a debt of gratitude for the countless hours they volunteered and the limitless great ideas they produced. Without them, the Conference agenda would not be what it is today. I am honored to have had the privilege of serving as the chair of such a great group of leaders.

This year's Conference theme, "Building a Stronger Michigan-Policy and Political Reforms that Support Regional Transformation," says it all. We set out on a path to make the event an interactive experience for the business community before, during and after the event, and we succeeded.

We had businesses prioritize the policy and political reforms they felt were essential for the transformation of the Detroit Region and Michigan. We accomplished this in three stages. Phase one consisted of a poll and focus groups to gauge the pulse of the business community. This phase was instrumental in identifying the issues that needed to be addressed on the island. During phase two, we will have a healthy debate on those topics and then vote to select the top reforms to work on in the coming months. During phase three, the Chamber will take the lead to develop strategies in collaboration with other organizations that support building a stronger Michigan.

One D is an integral part of the Mackinac agenda again this year. This important collaborative effort among the Detroit Region's leading business and community organizations is producing some great results. The Mackinac Policy Conference will continue to serve as vehicle for reporting out these results and for pushing the initiative forward.

A new feature to this year's Conference that I am particularly proud of is having the region's young professionals actively participate in the Mackinac experience. The planning committee believes, and I wholeheartedly agree, that hearing the perspective of the young professionals and entrepreneurs is absolutely essential. Successfully transforming the region and state requires engaging our young talent.

As part of the Chamber's Fusion program, our young professionals will interact with other Conference attendees on Friday and will have a fusion track dedicated exclusively to them on Saturday. The benefits of having young professional at Mackinac are twofold. Not only do young professionals and entrepreneurs have a chance to shape the business agenda, but our regular Mackinac attendees will be able to learn from the fresh ideas the young professionals bring to the island.

As you can tell from this issue of the Detroiter, a lot of time and planning went into the 2008 Mackinac Policy Conference. I'm excited at the prospect of what we will accomplish this year as a result of our aggressive agenda for the Conference. I will stay in touch with the business community throughout the year to report on our progress.

Leslie Murphy is the chair of the 2008 Mackinac Policy Conference, incoming board chair of the Detroit Regional Chamber and president and CEO of Murphy Consulting, Inc.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Setting the Tone
Author:Murphy, Leslie
Publication:Detroiter
Article Type:Conference notes
Geographic Code:1U3MI
Date:Jun 1, 2008
Words:557
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