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Winter Quarterly Newsletter

15 Dec

MYP-December V1


It’s hip to MOCK gov!

14 May

By Heather Litle

I love the month of May. Spring has arrived (hopefully!) and the promise of a great summer filled with family, friends and fun is just around the corner. The sun is finally shining, the flowers are blooming and with that comes the possibility of more date nights and girl’s nights out!

May also kicks-off the 2014 MATRIX:MIDLAND Festival and it’s tagline: ‘It’s hip to be HERE’ couldn’t be any more true this season. With a lineup featuring Huey Lewis and the News (SOLD OUT…sorry!), Tiempo Libre, ChefSteps and Brian Regan just to name a few, it is no wonder this is one of the hottest Festivals in the region. To kick it all off, though, is Capitol Steps, with a wickedly funny cast that holds nothing back and where it doesn’t matter what side of the political spectrum you are on, they will MOCK both.

capstepslive-reyna2014-jumpingstepsPhoto courtesy of Midland Center for the Arts

Capitol Steps has been satirizing current events, politics, and the latest scandals from Capitol Hill for the last 30 years. These former Washington insiders will take a stab at anyone within reach and will win everyone’s vote of approval.

Don’t take my word for it though. Take a look for yourself. Below is my favorite YouTube clip of Capitol Steps called Lirty Dies. I promise you will be hooked by the 1 minute mark, although you shouldn’t stop there!

So call the babysitter or grab your friends and get down to the Midland Center for the Arts on Saturday, May 31st at 8:00pm. You won’t be sorry!

Robberies, Fires and Prohibition: The Midland History You’ve Never Heard

12 Mar

midland michigan

Did you know that Detroit was the first city to pave a concrete road? Or did you know that Michigan supplied an estimated 75% of liquor to bootleggers during prohibition– thanks to our helpful Canadian friends? (source) Or what about the fire that almost destroyed parts of Midland? I didn’t think so.

Don’t worry. I haven’t either and I was born and raised in this town. It’s easy to dismiss this quiet, conservative city to be boring and uneventful. That’s not true today and that’s not true of its past.

Midland has contributed a lot to the history of Michigan and there’s a lot more to tell. We’re sitting down for lunch on March 25 with Gary Skory, the Director of the Midland County Historical Society to hear Gary’s stories specifically about Midland County’s rich (and sometimes scandalous) history.

You don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy this stuff.

Gary will share stories you’ve never heard about Midland’s rich history at the next MYPros Luncheon. His presentation has only ever been told to Leadership Midland graduates and now you have a chance to hear from him, too. Gary is smart, witty and engaging. If you think history is boring, you have never heard Gary present.


The presentation “Robberies, Fires and Prohibition” starts at 11:30 am on March 25 and concludes at 1 pm. Questions before registering? Leave a comment. We’ll get back to you.

Event Recap: Ribbit, Rhythms and Red Shoes

17 Feb

Even though I’ve lived in Midland all my life, the Midland Center for the Arts keeps coming up with ways to surprise me. The MYPros event on February 8, “Ribbit, Rhythms and Red Shoes,” brought together the Center’s museum exhibits and symphony orchestra in an event that drew over 30 people, including several new faces (hi, new folks! Thanks for being there!). Here are what I found to be the three best parts of the event.


One of the killer-but-not-really frogs. (Photo courtesy Midland Center for the Arts)

1)   We got cultured. People who aren’t very familiar with Midland sometimes say there aren’t any cultural opportunities here. To which I’d reply: In a couple hours, we saw frogs from around the world, we saw the work of local artists who have been recognized nationally, and we saw the symphony play music spanning almost a century. Then we all got in our cars and drove five to ten minutes and were home. It’s hard to beat that.

2)   We learned a few things. I didn’t realize there were frogs the size of my thumb that were poisonous enough to kill me (and though I subsequently learned the frogs at the exhibit aren’t as venomous as their wild cousins, I still whimpered). I didn’t know Shostakovich, one of the composers on the symphony program, slept with a packed suitcase under his bed in case the KGB came for him during the night (Stalin didn’t like him much). I wasn’t planning to engage my brain this particular evening, but it happened in spite of my best efforts.

And perhaps most importantly…


The Midland Symphony Orchestra in action. (Photo courtesy Midland Center for the Arts)

3)   We were all there together. Going to any concert, let alone a classical concert, is intimidating when you’re by yourself. The best part of MYPros is having a reason to go to the places you want to visit. I heard several comments from people who “kept meaning to check out the symphony” but, let’s face it, didn’t want to go alone.

So if you want a reason to discover some of the hidden gems of Midland, then keep watching this page for events and updates. And if you were there on February 8, comment below and let us know what you thought!

It’s only classical music! Don’t be scared! [Guest Post]

22 Jan

By Kimberly Dimond

Managing Director of the Midland Symphony Orchestra

The Midland Symphony Orchestra is pairing up with MYPros for our next concert on Saturday, February 8. Attending a classical music performance can be intimidating if you are unsure what to expect. Everyone is welcome at our concerts, no matter how familiar you are with the program. This is the time to let go of any preconceptions you may have about classical music or the concert experience. We want you to feel comfortable and enjoy yourself. Don’t be scared, it’s just music!

Classical music is all around us: in commercials, movie soundtracks, television themes, cartoons, video games, and battling Kenny G and Celine Dion for top airplay in elevators and doctor’s offices. Attending a live orchestra concert formalizes the classical music experience, but it shouldn’t feel daunting. Just like lyrics to a song, a symphony tells a story. You can sit back, relax and listen to it as background music, try and follow the themes and motivations, or visually follow the movements of the conductor and musicians.

The Midland Symphony Orchestra will perform the same night as MYPros Ribbit, Rhythms & Red Shoes event at the Midland Center for the Arts. MYPros will have a chance to meet and greet the music director before the show!

Why Classical Music?
Orchestras encourage creativity and bring people together to share the experience of live music. Orchestras fuel local economies, attract new business developments, increase tuxedo sales (☺), educate young people, and unite individuals and cultures in times of suffering and joy. The country is brimming with extraordinary musicians, live concerts, and orchestras as unique as the communities they serve. We are lucky to have a professional orchestra to enjoy right in our own backyards here in Midland.

Attending the MSO Can Make You Smarter!
Known as the “Mozart effect,” a set of research published by the Oxford University Press contends that classical music can make you smarter, raising your IQ by a few points while you’re listening. Next time you’re trying to crack a crossword or Sudoku puzzle, it couldn’t hurt to crank up the classical tunes. This is the one time your elderly neighbor may jam along.

Classical music isn’t just for your parents. Give it a try – you might really enjoy it!

Classical Music De-Stresses Like a Valium!
According to a study at the University of Baltimore, classical music and Valium both have the same anti-anxiety benefits for heart patients. Thirty minutes of classical music equals one dose of the stress-free drug. The MSO is here to help you do some serious relaxing.

Symphony 101 
If you’re still unsure and need some more tips on what to wear to a concert, when should you clap, etc., you can read our Symphony 101 guidelines. It’s only classical music though. Don’t be scared!

Midland Symphony Orchestra Music Director, Bohuslav Rattay, is known for his red shoes.

Music Director Bohuslav Rattay and Principal Trumpet Matt Thomas give you an exclusive preview of the Feb. 8 concert in this interview.

Learn more about the MSO and conductor Bohuslav Rattay! We hope to see you at the upcoming MYPros event on Feb. 8!


Ribbits, Rhythms & Red Shoes MYPros event will take place on February 8 at Midland Center for the Arts. Register here.

MYPros in 2013: We Didn’t Take This Year Lying Down!

15 Jan


I was going to start off this blog post by saying something like “wow 2013 has come and gone, and… Can you believe it’s already 2014!” But that seems so generic and I tend to try to do things a little differently! So I am going to start by saying that I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds for MYPros. In 2013 we accomplished so much and added a few more layers to this program. If you’re someone who likes to go by the numbers, here’s a breakdown of the 2013 MYPros program.


  • There were 14 total young professional events.
  • MYPros hosted 10 total events for the year and we were hosted by Saginaw and Bay City YPs for four events, two per city.
  • MYPros held four luncheons, four social events (two were regional) and two Pilsners & Politics.
  • There were 527 total young professionals that attended at least one MYPros event.  I have to say that again…that’s 527 individuals!
  • We raised $2,300 to pay for MYPros t-shirts to be given out to YP’s. We raised this money by hosting the “Fury at Currie” golf outing.
  • We started a new giving circle in Midland specifically for young professionals, the 100 Young Professionals Club. The 100 YP Club’s goal is to obtain 100 members; in our first year we have 46 members.
  • The 100 YP Club held two meetings and donated a total of $3,900 in 2013; $1,600 to Midland Area Homes and $2,300 to Creative 360.
  • In 2013, the MYPros Communications Subcommittee created 12 newsletters, one every month.
  • The Communications Subcommittee also unveiled the new MYPros blog in July of 2013. To date we have had 2,146 hits in just six months.
  • The MYPros Marquee was created in 2013 as a resource for young professionals to find out what’s going on in the community and all the fun events happening.
  • 2013 was the last year our wonderful, fearless leader, Karl Ieuter of Ieuter Insurance Group, was Chair of the MYPros Steering Committee.  A special thank you goes out to Karl; he has devoted much of his time to this program and has been a dedicated Chair for the past three years. Thank you Karl!


So after all this you might be asking, what’s next in 2014? Well here’s a peek into the upcoming year…

  • Ben Morlock of The Dow Chemical Company  will be Chair of the MYPros Steering Committee, and Trish Ross of Members First Credit Union will be Chair-Elect.
  • New this year, MYPros will host two orientation sessions for new members of MYPros. This will help new YP’s learn more about the program and how they can get involved. These sessions will be sponsored by Northwood University’s DeVos Graduate School.
  • We will continue with our events, hosting four luncheons, social events and Pilsners & Politics.
  • The 100 YP Club will meet twice this year again and we hope by the end of 2014 we will reach our goal of 100 members!
  • We will continue to grow the MYPros blog and newsletter, as well as the MYPros Marquee.


This is just a sample of what’s to come in 2014! Thank you to all of you who help to make the MYPros program what it is today, either by volunteering on a committee or attending events. Without all of your participation we wouldn’t have this program. So thank you again for making 2013 a success! If you have any comments or suggestions for programming in 2014, please feel free to email me your thoughts at  I always love to hear new ideas!


“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants to be happy.” -Benjamin Franklin [Guest Post]

13 Jan

By Sydney Allen, MYPros Government Issues Chair,

Greater Midland Community Centers, Inc.


Beer and politics have long gone hand in hand—since the beginning of America, even! President George Washington was apparently an avid beer connoisseur and even made his own homebrew. Flash forward 224 years to the Presidential tenure of Number 44, Barack Obama where polling questions are asked, like, “which Presidential candidate would you most like to have a beer with?” and meetings consisting of  “Beer Summits” are actually a thing. Ever heard of the White House Honey Ale? Well, you can’t buy it at Eastman Party Store, but the true aficionados can brew their own at home with this easy to follow recipe straight from the White House brewmaster.

President Obama with Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley during the “Beer Summit” in 2009.

President Obama with Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley during the “Beer Summit” in 2009.

This White House home brew experiment is all made possible by President Obama’s early predecessor, President Jimmy Carter, who in 1978, signed into law a bill legalizing home beer brewing which until that point had been illegal since prohibition began in 1920. Speaking of prohibition, did you know that the Great Depression began during the height of prohibition era? Not that I’m trying to peg prohibition as a key factor in causing the Black Tuesday Market crash of 1929 but…

Thankfully, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who campaigned on the promise to end prohibition, signed the 21st Amendment in 1933 which again legalized the consumption of alcohol and opened the gateway for the now 2,000+ breweries found nationwide.

Democrats aren’t the only ones making strides with the “proper drink for Americans.” Luckily for Busch, er, I mean, Bush…in 2004, Americans resoundingly chose our 43rd President over Senator John Kerry as the person they’d most like to have a beer with. The beer drinkers’ voices were heard and George W. Bush was elected to his 2nd four-year term. Unfortunately, for Americans, President Bush has been sober since 1986 so it’s non-alcoholic only selections for Dubya.

President Bush laughs with German chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2007.

President Bush laughs with German chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2007.

Ever visited the Ronald Reagan Pub? Well clearly you’ve never been to Ballyporeen, Ireland then! The Irish pub renamed their establishment after our 40th U.S. President made a stop there in 1984. There is now a replica of the Ronald Reagan Pub located in Reagan’s Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California.

President Reagan receiving a beer during a visit to O’Farrell’s Pub in Ballyporeen, Ireland in 1984.

President Reagan receiving a beer during a visit to O’Farrell’s Pub in Ballyporeen, Ireland in 1984.

Beer unites generations, political ideology and turns strangers into friends. Cheers to you, President Obama for popularizing the “Beer Summit” – serving politics up to the American people as it should be, with an ice cold pilsner.

Join us on Tuesday, January 14 for Pilsners and Politics featuring a lively conversation with former State Representative Jeff Mayes (D) Bay City. Spaces are limited. Register today to secure your spot!

16 Nov


We’ve got a very interesting luncheon coming on December 12th at  D’Alessandro’s Tuscany Hall. We will have Dr. Todd Thomas who is a professor at the DeVos Graduate School at Northwood coming to do the True Color Personality workshop.  Dr. Thomas is a speaker, author, educator and coach who has provided seminars and presentations in over 20 countries. Dr. Thomas has coached and consulted with over 3000 leaders from 40 different countries spanning 4 continents.. He has been featured on Fox Business News, CNBC’s Squawk Box, the Wall Street Journal, the and other media and publications. 

“In this highly interactive and entertaining workshop, Dr. Todd Thomas will take you through the process of not only examining your own personality, but finding the strengths and barriers that your personality bring to effective leadership and relationships. Using the True Colors© tool, you will have a chance to develop new insights, even if you’ve taken many personality assessments before. This is one of Todd’s most popular workshops, presented to hundreds of leaders around the globe. Whether you are the direct “Just Get-‘er-Done” type of leader or the loving “Kumbaya” type,  you will leave this workshop with ideas you can put into action immediately.”

To register for this event or for more info click here.

Holiday Wishes Gala

15 Nov

holiday wishes gala 111413

I am very excited about the next MYPros social event. MYPros and the Young Leaders United are getting together for a fun festive event that benefits the United Way Sharing Tree, Safe & Sound Child Advocacy Center and Midland Area Homes.  The Holiday Wishes Gala was started in 2009 by a group of Midland residents that wanted to help the community.  Since then they have hosted the event each year at the Dow Diamond. They came up with this fundraiser to help the United Way fill the sharing tree requests, as well as two other local non-profits.

I attended this event for the first time last year and it was blast! There is a ton of food, great prizes for auction, raffles, and ways to win prizes. Since I had such a good time at this event last year I thought it would be a great event to host a MYPros social at.  We will have a private reception just for young professionals from 4:30-6:00 p.m. in the Great Lakes Reserve (the bar in the suite level), Sue Moody, Mortgage Officer at Chemical Bank has sponsored an iPad give away just for us. Peter Baiardi, Realtor at Ayre/Rhinehart has also sponsored the beverages for the YP reception.  Also, don’t forget to bring a new unwrapped toy to be entered in a special prize drawing that I am working on. Trust me the prize will be a good one, I have many businesses eager to donate to help out! The more toys you bring, the more tickets you will receive to be entered into the drawing. Click here to register or for more info.

$49 Million in Change: Midland’s East End Project

4 Oct

ImageOver 140 young professionals packed the Dow Diamond on Thursday, Sept. 26 to hear the latest news about the East End development (a.k.a. “the huge building across from the stadium”). On hand were Midland City Manager Jon Lynch along with Gillespie Group President Pat Gillespie and Caddis Development Group President Kevin McGraw (the project developers) and Spence Brothers President/CEO Herb Spence (responsible for the construction). Here are some of the highlights:

The Tenants

  • Current tenants include Chemical Bank Wealth Management, Warner Norcross & Judd, MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland, and a second-floor fitness center, along with another “major” tenant to be announced soon. The Michigan Baseball Foundation has also announced State & Main Restaurant will be a tenant as well.
  • In total, there are only about 7,000 square feet left to lease (out of over 250,000), and the developers would like 4-5 restaurants to start with. They’re looking for suggestions (see the end of this post for the way to contribute).

The Construction

  • The construction, which has been greatly accelerated, is still even a little ahead of schedule. The “core and shell” work to enclose the building might be done as early as the first week of November. Indoor “fitouts” for the major tenants’ spaces are starting this month.
  • If all goes well, there should be people in the building by sometime next spring.
  • The building is working toward LEED Silver certification to be environmentally friendly.
Conceptual rendering taken from

Conceptual rendering taken from the Midland East End website

The Impact

  • About 800 people currently work in Midland’s Downtown. Pat Gillespie predicted the East End project will add another 800 by itself.
  • The development will help fill current vacancies even though it’s adding new space. Gillespie has seen businesses eager to take advantage of new development rent nearby existing space at a lower price point. He predicts that within three years, Downtown Midland will be entirely filled with “stuff you don’t have now.”
  • The project was originally a $33 million investment; today, it’s $49 million. This has raised the taxable value of that property from $800,000 in 2011 to $13 million today.

The Future

  • The East End development is not including residential space – it’s difficult for residents and businesses to share the same elevators and other infrastructure. But the developers and the City are discussing other possible residential development. Since Pat gets “five to ten calls a week” asking if there are apartments available in the East End, he predicted there will eventually be 70-100 apartments in Downtown Midland.
  • In order to have those apartments, though, and to have associated services like taxis, there needs to be enough demand for a private-sector investor to take the projects on. Apartments downtown would probably need be priced between $775 and $1100/month to be viable.

The East End project is exciting by itself, but the impact on Midland and the region will be even bigger. As the project shapes up, the developers encouraged MYPros to have our say in the tenants we’d like to see. Leave a comment on this post and tell us what you think should be in the East End!