What do you see as the role of the Michigan Jaycees?
I believe the role of the Michigan Jaycees should be an advocate for the member chapters. They should raise awareness about the great impact Jaycees make by leveraging the clout of the whole state. A way to achieve that is by doing a better job of marketing our chapters and their projects. One such element is to take our social media and website to the next level by improving visual layouts, overall copy, and specific calls-to-action. The result will be better connections, more members, engaged and activated Jaycees, making impacts in our communities to evolve our impact today. Another way the Michigan Jaycees should advocate for their chapters is by providing opportunities for individuals members. By developing a Junior Chamber Mentoring program framework we can create strategic partnerships to build-up Jaycees to be active citizens with critical self-confidence, strong networks, and developed skills for impactful careers.
What would the role of the state board of directors be in your administration?
The MIJC leadership team is the binder connecting members, organizing us into a greater sum than our parts. Each chapter can be strong, providing great programming and events. Yet their larger impact won’t be realized unless creative innovation of ideas and networking are also available beyond chapters’ spheres of influence.
Advocating our programs and services we instill in our communities is a service we must do better. We can’t expect to increase the rate of membership growth without our local governments, other local groups, and our next leaders recognizing the Jaycee opportunity.
Who is the biggest influence in your life?
While I’ve found there have been many influencers in my life at key moments, such as friends, teachers, ministers, and employers, there have been none more consistent or understanding as my parents. While one may think I’ve made a natural decision in highlighting my mother and father while discounting the influences of many others, certainly the foundation they have provided has been a real asset. I have known few to open their home to numerous foster kids, welcome exchange students, or be so thoughtful and accepting of others. All the while they have done this, they have also encouraged my younger sister and me to continue to strive to be better at what we do and maintain a centered self by giving back to our communities. It isn’t enough to be better ourselves if we haven’t supported those around us through volunteering our time and efforts. I can only hope that I’ve lived up to the example they have set.
To me, this drive to volunteer and make our world better given by my parents has permeated into all aspects of my career and home life. As a project architect, I find I enjoy those projects most that connect people to each other and develop an opportunity for a legacy far outreaching the immediate goal of ‘the project’. While each project does this in its own way, the schools, churches, financial institutions, hospitals, museums, and restaurants that have become part of my portfolio have all touched the lives of individuals that have gone onto influence many others. I enjoy thinking about all the experiences I’ve had in my home life involving the Junior Chamber organization – meeting new friends and have the opportunity to support other Michiganders across the state.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I’m very proud of the work my fellow Jaycees and I have done to help make our Michigan better. That community involvement has allowed me develop and appreciate the leadership necessary to guide a team. Those skills helped me in leading the team that renovated the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and the DeVos Learning Center addition. Leading the team through the successful development of design for the exhibit renovation preparations and construction of the addition was very gratifying. Through that project, my architectural skills will influence grade school children, visitors young and old, and newly naturalized citizens for generations to come. I can only feel humble in the midst of a president and his impact – but to be a participant in a message that this country can be great if each of us has the integrity necessary to do what’s right, is quite an honor.