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Letter from the Chair & Vice Chair of MLC BOD

Monday, December 21, 2020 8:00 AM | Andi Barajas (Administrator)

MLC Community,

This past year has been a very challenging one for all of us, where many of us have personally been impacted in one form another because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the MLC family, we have seen many members lose jobs, forced to work extended hours and/or take unpaid furloughs. And in the membership, unfortunately, we have lost loved ones in our families and in our communities due to the virus. 

As we near the end of this year we would like to share some meaningful reflection of the recent activities and thinking within the MLC. We have modified much of what we do regarding our events and networking sessions by going completely virtual, and will continue to evaluate our service offerings as business conditions dictate. We have partnered with several people from various organizations such as Dennis Sergent of Sergent Results Group and the MMTC of Northern Lower Michigan, as recent examples. These relationships, in addition to our newly formed Resource Network will lead us through a series of Single Point learning topics, learning themes that we feel confident, will move us through 2021 and beyond. 

Before I discuss the current state of the organization, I wanted to send sincere gratitude and thanks to our strong MLC Community--

  • Thank you to our dedicated members for sticking with us through this time; you are our life-blood given that membership has accounted for a significant amount of our income these last few months. 
  • Thank you to our volunteers that have been organizing, planning, and supporting our day-to-day efforts to offer great services and provide ever-increasing value for our members. A special thanks to Dave Kippen, our volunteer Events Team Coordinator, as well as all of our event team volunteers. We could not host as many MLC Events without you. Also, another huge thanks to volunteer Tony DeCaria who has been a strong voice working with Vanita DeJesus and our Membership Team over the past several months. Without you and your creativity we would not have been able to navigate these challenging waters. 
  • Thank you to our outgoing and new MLC Board Members who have challenged our current condition and are working to create a strong vision with some challenging themes for the next year. Your work is greatly appreciated. In addition, I want to take a moment to welcome our new Board members, Katie Labedz, Becky Andree, Lauren Wisniewski and Josh Foster, who will provide a strong diversity of thought, complimenting the work and efforts of our already talented Board of Directors. 
  • Additionally, our contract staff comprised of our President - Al Woodliff; General Coordinator - Laura Bankowski; and Finance/Website/Social Media Coordinator - Andi Barajas, in conjunction with Richard Love, our Board Treasurer, all have gracefully sacrificed hours to limit our expenses and manage the internal workings of the organization - you truly are our glue that keeps the MLC clicking on all cylinders! Being a near 100% volunteer organization and sustaining for 10 years+ is a testament to all of you and your personal dedication! 
  • And lastly, I want to thank both Ruth Archer, who has recently departed our board for her valuable and significant contributions over the years, and our Secretary, Anne Cram for her time, significant commitment and dedication to the MLC over the last year, as she has decided to leave the MLC at the end of this year. She has provided structure, organization and most of all significant ideas for us to act on as a Board over the last few months. Their collective presence and contributions will be surely missed! The opportunity within the MLC is not unlike what many organizations faced; we struggled putting our strategy to action, and with the recent pandemic, we experienced financial challenges, significant strain on the organization and our overall effectiveness, so as we move into 2021, we will be looking to leverage our membership in new ways, leveraging the talents that exist within the vast network across Michigan. So stay tuned, as we progress throughout the year to see how you can get involved more directly! 

If you have any questions, concerns or desires please feel free to reach out to Mike Wiersma, myself or other members of the board. We sincerely need your hearts and minds to support our strategy, so please reach out to us to share your ideas, your time and other valuable contributions to make the MLC and Michigan as a whole, a stronger and more agile community of Lean thinkers.

We look forward to hearing from you! 

Thank you, Stay Safe, Healthy, and Happy Holidays to you and yours! 

Tony and Mike

Chair & Vice Chair of MLC BOD

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