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The Leadership Lansing Blog is the open communication forum of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. In the Leadership Lansing Blog, we will highlight all things related to the Greater Lansing business community. We will feature posts from our staff, our membership and the legislative leaders of this region. If you have any questions or would like to be a contributor to the Leadership Lansing Blog, please contact Eric Dimoff, Marketing and Communications Director, at 517-853-6460 or We appreciate the continued support!


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Young Professionals on Why They #LoveLansing

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Tuesday, August 5, 2014

If I’d have been asked where I would start my career a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have predicted Lansing.

I wanted to go off to a big city like many public relations folks do. But that was before I met my mentor. While interning in Lansing, my boss morphed into an incredible mentor. But she went beyond simply mentoring me as a PR professional; she personally introduced me to Lansing. Through this mentor-turned-ambassador, I got to see the close-knit community, affordable living, job opportunities and entertainment side of Lansing. I found that as a young professional, these attracted me to this unsuspecting city. 

With time, I also learned the impact individuals can have in Lansing. One person can easily make waves, and that’s something unique. While building my network, I’ve realized community members are willing to help one another toward success. In Lansing, I have the ability to make a difference. I’m enthusiastic and proud to call Lansing home.

Hannah Leibinger, Account Strategist at Piper & Gold Public Relations

Lansing, Michigan. Asking someone exactly why they live here will yield a myriad of responses: "I came here for college and, well...I just stayed," "I enjoy the peaceful quaintness," and "I can bike and walk anywhere I need to go." I, too, have similar reasons for why I came here, but the sense of community and the warm embrace of its collective culture is what made me call Lansing home. The hashtag "#lovelansing" represents the people of Lansing as much as it represents the city itself. The passion and love people have for Lansing is contagious. If you want to make a positive impact in your community, the support you get here is unmatched. 


 I have been lucky to find three wonderful communities in Lansing: an incredibly robust creative collective; a well-established Muslim population; and a world class clinical research community at Michigan State University. From the silhouette of Lansing’s hallmark smokestacks to the Brenke Fish Ladder and all the neighborhoods, our capital city has allowed me the opportunity to thrive and continue to develop my sense of self, for which I am thankful. Lansing, Michigan is where I hang my hat and that is something that makes me very proud indeed.

Khalid Ibrahim, epidemiologist at Michigan State University and the owner/lead photographer at Eat Pomegranate Photography


Why I chose to stay in Lansing: This is a question I get asked often, as many of my fellow MSU grads packed up all of those years ago were headed off to big cities around the country: Washington D.C., Chicago, Austin. They were moving out of state and here I was looking to put down some roots in the city I now call home- Lansing.

To me, there is no better place to be at this time in my life than Lansing. I am a young professional with big ideas. While I hold down a 9-5 in the policy world, I consider myself to be a community activist. First and foremost, I am a social justice advocate in all that I do, and hope to make my community as equitable, sustainable and fun as possible. Lansing gives me the opportunity to do just that!

Lansing is the type of community where if you have an idea, the stage is set to go for it! Sure, we may not have the food truck scene, biking infrastructure or environmentally sound policy that cities like, say, San Francisco have, but if you are interested in seeing those things happen, Lansing gives you the opportunity to become a part of that process. Rather than just supporting the ideals that I love, I get to be on committees and have a say in making them actually happen. It feels amazing.

Not to mention, the community of people in Lansing are truly one of a kind.

I am lucky to call Lansing home and hope to encourage others to put down some roots and join the movement of young professionals making a home in this city of endless possibilities and unlimited potential.

Shannon Nobles, Outreach Specialist, Michigan League for Public Policy  


Settling down in Lansing seemed like a logical choice for me after graduating from law school at Michigan State.  I grew up here and I already had a good job at a local firm.  However, I quickly realized that most of my friends from high school and law school were gone, and I didn't really know anyone aside from a few work colleagues.  It quickly became apparent that I either needed to make Lansing my own or pick-up and move elsewhere.  Once I started to get involved, the decision was easy.  I was shocked to see how much was already going on in Lansing that had completely flown beneath my radar and how many other young professionals actually lived here.  Given that the area is the seat of state government, home to a Big Ten university, and the headquarters for a number of major businesses, I now realize that this shouldn't have been surprising.  However, I still remain impressed by how easy it was for a young person to get involved in the community at a very high level. 

Lansing is a great place to live, work, and play.  For me, it strikes a perfect balance between life in a small town and life in the big city.  The cost of living is low, and the quality of life is high.  My monthly mortgage payment is lower than many of my friends pay to rent a studio apartment in a big city.  Yet we still have access to fantastic entertainment, from Michigan State athletics and Broadway shows at the Wharton Center to the countless festivals and concerts downtown and in Old Town.  And when it's time to work, there are positions available with world-class employers in virtually every industry, with realistic opportunities for advancement.  Sure, it may be a little easier to find a job in a big city, but in Lansing you can start a career.  As President of Grand River Connection and a member of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Board, I am invested in helping Lansing attract and retain talented young workers by helping them to see Lansing as I now do.

I may have landed here by default, but I'm certainly glad that I stayed.

Brian Gallagher is an Employee Benefits Attorney with Fraser Trebilcock Davis & Dunlap, P.C. Brian is also President of Grand River Connection and serves on the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. 

Tags:  #lovelansing  affordable living  community  entertainment  Lansing  networking  young professionals 

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Tim Daman: Now is the Time to Invest in Higher Education

Posted By Michelle Rahl, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tim Daman: Now is the Time to Invest in Higher Education

Higher education is the best investment to ensure Michigan’s comeback can be sustained, and now is the time to start investing. Universities and colleges develop the skill set and sharpen the talent that is desperately needed for Michigan’s workforce. This is precisely why Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed funding hike for universities is a much-needed investment in Michigan’s future.

Most good-paying jobs in Michigan require applicants to have more than a high school education. By making college more affordable, our state can begin to address the skills deficit in its workforce – which is quickly becoming a glaring weakness.

To fully understand this problem, visit the state’s employment website: Each day there are more than 65,000 jobs waiting for qualified applicants. Michigan’s lingering challenges are not the result of a lack of jobs, they are the result of a lack of education and opportunity. That is why the time to invest is now.

The economic disparity between those with and without postsecondary education is the largest in U.S. history.  For workers between 25 and 34, those with an associate’s degree will earn an average of $7,000 more each year than their peers with high school diplomas. For those with a bachelor’s degree, average earnings are $17,550 above the high school-only average.  Unemployment rates for workers with bachelor’s degrees are 3.8% compared to 12.2% for high school diploma workers. It’s clear, Michigan needs to invest in young minds to remain globally competitive.

Over the past five years, our state has become more focused than ever on finding return for its investment. In 2012, Michigan universities had a $24 billion economic impact on the state. While there were more than 280,000 students enrolled in higher ed that year, many thousands of others did not pursue higher education because it was not affordable.

The governor’s budget is especially important in Mid-Michigan because of Michigan State University and Lansing Community College. In addition to enrolling more than 49,000 students, the 47,000 MSU alumni living in Mid-Michigan contributed more than $3 billion to our state’s economy in 2013. Add that to the 20,000 enrolled LCC students and 500,000 LCC alumni and you begin to see why higher education is so important to our region.

The governor’s proposed budget increase will help universities and colleges pave the way to a more prosperous future for our students and the state.  It’s where the smart money belongs.

Tim Daman is the President & CEO of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Tags:  Budget  Education  Higher Education  Lansing  Snyder  Talent 

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