Blog: Matt Clayson and Rose Giffen

He said, she said. This week's guest bloggers are Matt Clayson and Rose Giffen. Matt works as a Promotion Manager with ePrize, serves the Chair of Leadership Next and is active on Detroit Renaissance's "Road to Renaissance" initiative. Rose is the Director of Fund Development for the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity & Inclusion. She also serves as Vice-Chair of Leadership Next. Rose and Matt will be writing about developing strong leadership in SE Michigan and engaging new talent.

Post No. 2


Matt: It's as if we're constantly searching for solutions to the same old issues that have haunted us for the past 50, 100 years. Why don't we have transit?  Why are we so segregated? Why is education not valued? Why is the media so negative? Why are insurance rates for city residents so high? Why can't we expand or even renovate Cobo Hall? Why can't we appreciate who we are as a region? Why can't we hold ourselves, our leaders accountable? Why are we so caught up in entitlements? Why can't we live united in the dream of a city and region of opportunity? Why can't we expect greatness? 

Yet, a lot of solid solutions to these problems have been proposed over the years. And a lot of solid solutions are continuing to be proposed. So, could it be that the issue is not with solutions, but rather the execution of those solutions?  

Rose: Regional solutions need regional execution. Unfortunately, we tend to isolate ourselves when the going gets tough. Rather than uniting behind executing solutions, we point fingers and hide behind our barriers and fears.  This failure to implement solutions across borders is a regional liability, resulting in a lack of regional vision, lack of a regional plan and a lack of regional leadership that inspires and conveys opportunity.   

Matt: To me, nothing steers young persons away from the region more than the perception that there is no opportunity here. Perception remains an important piece of attracting and retaining young talent. Branding campaigns and initiatives; incentives to live in urban areas; networking events and a vibrant nightlife – sure they help. Nonetheless, when they're not supported by effective, meaningful policy that is executed at a regional level, they're merely icing on the cake.   

Rose: Well, don’t forget that lot of great solutions are happening at the grassroots, civic and not-for-profit level. From Focus Hope to ACCESS to United Way to One D to our work at the Michigan Roundtable, we're talking and innovating in ways that we never have before. We're building a foundation of collaboration that includes various perspectives and innovative ideas.   

But, maybe, could it be that a central piece to overcoming the stigma that there is no opportunity in Southeast Michigan is ensuring that young talent is welcomed and engaged in finding and executing solutions to regional problems.  It's essential to find avenues to get young talent invested and engaged in their communities, and much of the work around regional transformation that is occurring provides the perfect opportunity to create those on-ramps to meaningful community engagement. 

Matt: That's the key – meaningful on-ramps to community engagement.  Engage young talent in the policy making and policy executing process. Rather than ask "hey, young talent – where's the next cool bar where we can host a happy hour and networking event," maybe we should ask "hey, young talent – what are the amenities that will keep you in this region" and "hey, young talent, how can we co-create and co-execute policy that will enable you and your peers to grow and flourish in Detroit." 

Of course, as young talent, we must take it upon ourselves to define our vision for the future, know about and understand the current regional transformation initiatives underway, learn from the successes and failures of current stakeholders and, most importantly, learn to walk that fine line between being patient and demanding results.