Due diligence. Lot’s of due diligence is needed to launch a campaign for MSU Trustee. As a graduate with degrees in international relations and political theory from MSU’s James Madison College and as a corporate and compliance attorney who has worked with and/or led some of Michigan’s most successful start-ups – ePrize / HelloWorld, Shinola, Detroit Creative Corridor Center / Design Core Detroit, Detroit Trading Company / 1800CarShow – I prioritize listening, research and establishing tight feedback loops. This private sector experience gave me the opportunity to counsel a portfolio of Fortune 500 companies, providing promotion marketing clearances for more than 700 interactive promotions with 0 legal challenges. It enabled me to develop and support an influencer marketing strategy to support the reintroduction of the Shinola brand. It enabled me to raise more than $5,000,000 to help small business owners and entrepreneurs grow their businesses in Detroit, contributing to the addition of 2,300 jobs in and around the city’s core. It enabled me to develop industry leading compliance standards across one of the country’s largest automotive digital media networks.
“Rather than blast straight out of the gate with big ideas, bravado and bluster…”
I have taken a similar approach to my campaign for MSU Trustee. Rather than blast straight out of the gate with big ideas, bravado and bluster – which would be an easy route given the poor, self-serving decisions that many leaders at MSU continue to make – I elected to spend many weekends and evenings during the past 4 months listening to more than 100 key labor, civic, governmental, business, party and campus leaders, asking questions, taking notes, researching best practices and establishing feedback loops that can be used to further refine policy priorities, build coalitions and bring about the change needed to establish a new standard of transparency, inclusiveness and respect at Michigan State University.
Lessons learned from those meetings:
> There is no clearly articulated process to select MSU’s next president
> People want justice for survivors; they want candidates to speak to that
> People want candidates to speak to the quality and affordability of an MSU education
> People are disgusted with the decisions made by past leadership, they hope current leadership can right those wrongs, and they remain committed to seeing MSU return to its role as one of the world’s great public research universities
> People want an active MSU Board of Trustees who challenge the president and serve as a check on presidential power
> People want to hear from MSU Trustee candidates; they have had enough of the platitudes and after-the-fact crocodile tears and want real answers as to survivor justice, campus safety, college affordability and university accountability, supported by real proposals
From these meetings and prior to launching my campaign for MSU Trustee, I have identified and engaged more than 25 advisors who will serve as critical voices, collaborators, connectors and amplifiers – helping ensure the campaign’s message responds to the needs of and subsequently resonates with diverse communities across Michigan, setting forth key policy initiatives and editorializing on key happenings in higher education, identifying partners to engage and networks who can promulgate key messages. These advisors have real world experience as Title IX investigators and coordinators, leaders in Lansing and D.C., marketing and communications leaders, visual and digital artists, civic and philanthropic leaders, mothers, fathers and active MSU alumni. They will serve as valuable additions to my campaign for MSU Trustee.
We meet on a monthly basis and discuss campaign milestones, debate policy, refine messaging and assign next steps. I am grateful for their commitment.
These meetings have resulted in a policy platform consisting of four planks: survivors’ rights, campus safety, college affordability and board accountability. Campaign for MSU Trustee priorities and objectives are keyed to specific dates, to hold me and my peers accountable. Where possible, objectives correlate to a measurable outcome, so progress can be tracked in an open and transparent manner. Coalitions to help advance these priorities have been identified and engaged, ensuring that this campaign supports a larger movement to transform the role higher education plays in a more equitable, prosperous future for all Michigan’s residents.