Creating Macomb County’s leaders

Leadership Macomb … what is it? It may be an organization that you’ve heard of, or, maybe you haven’t, but, either way, it’s certainly one whose mission is worth sharing. I spoke with Leadership Macomb Executive Director Karen Smith to find out more about what this group does.

Smith said Leadership Macomb is a nonprofit organization whose 10-month program brings together leaders from numerous institutions, disciplines and geographic areas to strengthen their leadership skills, develop long-term business relationships and obtain in-depth information about Macomb County. Each year, approximately 40 to 50 individuals are accepted into the program. Sessions start in September and end in May.

“The mission of Leadership Macomb is to ‘produce a network of informed community leaders who understand the roles and relationships of people and systems that support and sustain our community,’” she said.

Graduating class of Leadership Macomb, May 2014

Graduating class of Leadership Macomb, May 2014

The group meets for 11 full-day sessions, each focusing on a different topic relevant to Macomb County. Topics include government, justice, education, arts, environment and many more. The monthly sessions are planned by subject experts and provide unique learning experiences that cannot be duplicated anywhere. Sessions include proficient speakers, panel discussions introspective exercises, group discussions, one-on-one dialogue with impressive leaders and once-in-a-lifetime field trips.

“Participants expand their knowledge about the assets and issues in the county and surrounding region,” said Smith. “Leadership Macomb graduates are invaluable resources to businesses, corporations and organizations and are key contributors to the overall strength of Macomb County and southeastern Michigan.”

John Paul Rea, senior planner for Macomb County’s Department of Planning and Economic Development, was a recent graduate of Leadership Macomb. He said he felt participating in the organization was “an incredible opportunity to evolve as a leader, a professional and a person.”

“With such a robust curriculum and a dynamic set of classmates, each session was filled with fruitful discussions and engaging topics,” he said. “Throughout Leadership Macomb, I found myself continually amazed at the inspiring work and dedication of so many people around this great community.”

“The results are extraordinary,” agreed Smith. “Graduates emerge from the Leadership Macomb experience eager to make a positive difference in Macomb County. Whether it’s the organization they represent or the community as a whole, each and every one reaps the benefits of the Leadership Macomb experience.”

“What I learned from the subject matter experts and my classmates has established a new foundation for my future endeavors,” added Rea. “I am incredibly humbled and inspired to be a part of the great legacy of Leadership Macomb.”

Since 1996, over 650 individuals representing more than 150 organizations have participated in the Leadership Macomb program. For more information, visit

Sarah Cormier works for the Macomb County Executive Office, often writing about interesting activities taking place in Macomb County.

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