Hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber, the Mackinac Policy Conference is 3-day-long conference and is attended by elected officials and other top leadership. This year’s policy conference focused on uniting Michigan under the three pillars: prepare, grow, and love. Attending the policy conference for the first time, we caught up with Sly Sandiha, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce (CACC), who told us about his first time on the island with MPC alum and CACC president, Martin Manna.
CN: What did you think of this year's conference?
SS: This was my first year attending the policy conference. It was nice to meet so many of our state's influential political, business, and community leaders. It highlighted the many achievements our state has made over the past year, as well as a vision for the future.
CN: Why is it important for the Chaldean Chamber to attend?
SS: Attending the conference is so critical in helping our chamber and foundation advance our mission of service. The ability to meet policymakers face to face and discuss all aspects of our community's needs is priceless. We had the opportunity to cover a range of topics such as our Chaldean community's economic contributions, the needs of our newly immigrated Chaldean Americans, and our goals for the future.
CN: What have been some of successes for the Chamber over the years regarding this event?
MM: Gaining new contacts and having the opportunity to promote the contributions Chaldeans are making in Michigan to many of the State’s leadership.
CN: What sessions stood out for you or interested you?
SS: I enjoyed hearing Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan speak about executing his plan to revitalize the city. The founder of Ann Arbor based, Zingerman's Deli, also provided a glimpse into how he built a great culture within his company. Great insights to learn from and apply to any organization.
CN: How important is it for you to follow up with people you meet on the island?
SS: All great relationships require communication and cultivation. It is important to stay in touch with so many people who want to hear our story and who really want to be engaged with our community.
CN: Do real news, real business deals and real relationships transpire on the Island?
SS: Yes. Being "sequestered" on the island gave us the opportunity to run into individuals multiple times per day. It really helped to foster our relationships. Much gets accomplished in only a few days. That's the power of this gathering.
CN: What tips do you have for people who have never attended?
SS: Have an agenda and be ready to shake hands, network, and take in beautiful Mackinac.