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May 16th, Saru Jayarman – Behind the Kitchen Door


Sara JaraymanSaru Jayaraman is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley.




After 9/11, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded ROC in New York, which has organized restaurant workers to win workplace justice campaigns, conduct research and policy work, partner with responsible restaurants, and launch cooperatively-owned restaurants. ROC now has 13,000 members in 32 cities nationwide.




The story of Saru and her co-founder’s work founding ROC has been chronicled in the book The Accidental American. Ms. Jayaraman co-edited The New Urban Immigrant Workforce, (ME Sharpe, 2005).




Saru is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.




She was profiled in the New York Times “Public Lives” section in 2005, and was named one of Crain’s “40 Under 40” in 2008, 1010 Wins’ “Newsmaker of the Year,” and one of New York Magazine’s “Influentials” of New York City. She authored Behind the Kitchen Door, Cornell University Press, 2013, a national bestseller, and has appeared on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, Melissa Harris Perry and UP with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.




April 25th, Bill Marsh Jr. “Lessons on Leadership: The Bill Marsh Story”

I am an active partner–with my two brothers–in the Bill Marsh Automotive Group a 250-employee multi-franchise dealership group located in Traverse City, Michigan where I oversee marketing, e-commerce, customer service, and leadership development. I am also a public speaker, men’s ministry leader, fitness enthusiast, and father of three children. My wife, Debbie, and I have been married for 29 years.

Register for the April 25th event 


March 21st, Nicole Forrester “Asia: A View from Down Under”

Nichole Forrester, Director Young Leaders Program

Nicole Forrester is director of the Young Leaders Program at Pacific Forum CSIS and concurrently holds a WSD-Handa Fellowship for her research into the impact of social media on Next Generation attitudes toward international issues. She has written on Australian foreign policy, Australia-U.S. relations, and modernizing the U.S. alliance system in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2011, she was awarded the East-West Center’s Asia-Pacific Leadership Fellowship. Previously, Ms. Forrester was the senior international and government relations adviser for the Australian Industry Group. At the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, she served as acting director of the United Nations and Commonwealth Section and as consul for economic and political affairs at the Australian Consulate-General in Los Angeles. Prior to her diplomatic service, Ms. Forrester was an associate lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology, where she earned a bachelor of social science and a master of public health.

Register for the March 21st event.

Feb 21st, Ed Ness & Derk Pronger “Health Care Reform”

Munson Healthcare Leaders

Ed Ness, President & CEO    |   Derk Pronger, VP of Operations


Ed Ness, President & CEO Munson Healthcare

Ed Ness is President and Chief Executive Officer of Munson Healthcare,    a multi-hospital health care system in northern Michigan. Mr. Ness was appointed to lead the system in May 2010. He joined Munson Medical Center as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 1999 and was appointed President of Munson Medical Center in 2004.


Under his leadership, Munson Medical Center has been nationally recognized numerous times for quality, including the prestigious American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize in July 2008. Munson also has received 100 Top Hospitals recognition from Truven Health Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters) 14 times. Munson Medical Center is one of only three hospitals in the nation to be recognized so often.


Before joining Munson Medical Center, Mr. Ness was Assistant to the President, Assistant Vice President, and Vice President of the Hospitals and Clinics Division of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare in Evanston, Ill. from 1990 to 1999. Prior to that, he served as an administrator for health care systems in Virginia, Minnesota, and North Dakota.


Mr. Ness has an undergraduate degree in Healthcare Finance from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and master’s degrees in Business Administration and Healthcare Administration from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.


Derk Pronger, Vice President of Operations Munson Medical Center

Derk Pronger serves as Vice President of Operations for Munson Medical Center, a 391-bed regional referral hospital and Level II Trauma Center in Traverse City, Mich.


Prior to joining Munson Medical Center in 2012, Mr. Pronger served as Vice President, Surgical and Ancillary Services at Beaumont Health System in Troy, Mich. His roles at Beaumont included Vice President, Allied Health and Director, Management Engineering.


Mr. Pronger received his master’s degree in Health Services Administration from University of Detroit Mercy, a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., and an associate’s degree in Business Administration from Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, Mich.


Mr. Pronger is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, a Fellow of the Advisory Board, and a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt from the Amercian Society for Quality.


Register for Event on Feb 21st


Jan 24th, 2014 Neal Ronquist, “The Future of Print Media”

Neal RonquistNeal is a native of Maplewood, Minn., and a graduate of North High School in North St. Paul, Minn.

He attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., where he obtained Bachelor of Arts degrees in both journalism and government/international affairs and a minor in philosophy.

He started his newspaper career as the editor of a weekly newspaper in northeast Minneapolis. He began his daily newspaper career as a government reporter in Marshall, Minn., before becoming a sports editor in Austin, Minn. He then transitioned to the business side becoming an advertising sales rep and an advertising director, before being named the publisher of the Austin Daily Herald in Austin, Minn.

Neal has been the publisher of daily newspapers in Austin, Minn., Russellville, Ark., and Marion, Ind., prior to joining the Record-Eagle in February of 2013. In addition to his publisher responsibilities, he also has been a group publisher with management responsibility for a number of newspapers in Alabama, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia.

Neal and his wife Renae have two daughters Rachel and Reese.

Register for the January 24th event with speaker Neal Ronquist now. 

Oct 18th, 2013 Anthony Scaramucci, “Debunking the Myths of Hedge Funds”

Anthony Scaramucci is the Founder and Managing Partner of SkyBridge Capital, which is a global alternative investment and advisory firm. The firm, located in New York City, has $6.9 billion in assets under management or advisement as of November 30, 2012.


Mr. Scaramucci received a B.A. degree in Economics from Tufts University in 1986, where he graduated summa cum laude and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa society, and graduated with a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1989.


He is a recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2011 New York Award in the Financial Services category. Mr. Scaramucci is a Board Member of Warrior Gateway, The Lymphoma Foundation and The Brain Tumor Foundation, and is also on the Board of Overseers for the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University.  He is a member of the NYC Financial Services Advisory Committee and BENS (Business Executives for National Security).


Mr. Scaramucci is the author of Goodbye Gordon Gekko: How To Find Your Fortune Without Losing Your Soul (Wiley, 2010), The Little Book of Hedge Funds (Wiley, 2012) and a regular CNBC contributor.


Prior to SkyBridge, he was the co-founder of Oscar Capital Management, which was sold to Neuberger Berman, LLC in 2001 after building a managed account business and four hedge funds having in aggregate more than $800 million of assets.  Upon Neuberger Berman’s sale to Lehman Brothers in 2003, he served as a Managing Director in their Investment Management Division.  From 1989 to 1996, Mr. Scaramucci was at Goldman Sachs & Co., where he became a Vice President in Private Wealth Management in 1993.

Register for the October 18th event here. 




September 20, 2013 John Beyrle, Doing Business in Russia

John Beyrle American Diplomat

“Doing Business in Russia — the Risk – to – Reward Ratio”

John Beyrle served as an American diplomat for more than three decades, in foreign postings and domestic assignments focused on Central and Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, and Russia.   He was twice appointed ambassador: to Bulgaria (2005-08), and to Russia (2008-12).  During the latter assignment he led the implementation of policies leading to improved US-Russian relations, highlighted by the signing of the START nuclear arms reduction treaty, Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization, and liberalized visa protocols.

Ambassador Beyrle’s diplomatic service included two earlier tours at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, including as Deputy Chief of Mission. He also served as Counselor for Political and Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in the Czech Republic, and was a member of the U.S. Delegation to the CFE Arms Control Negotiations in Vienna.  His Washington assignments included Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for the New Independent States, and Director for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian Affairs on the staff of the National Security Council.  He traveled extensively with Secretaries of State George Shultz and James Baker as a staff officer in the 1980s, and served as an adviser to Senator Paul Simon, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Ambassador Beyrle received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award from President Obama and the Presidential Meritorious Service Award from President George W. Bush.  In April 2012 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented him with the State Department’s highest honor, the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award.  He retired from the Foreign Service in 2012 and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the US-Russia Foundation, and provides consulting services for a number of clients in the private and non-profit sectors.

A native of Muskegon, Michigan, John Beyrle received a B.A. with honors from Grand Valley State University (1975), and a M.S. as a Distinguished Graduate of the National War College (1996), where he later taught as a Visiting Professor of National Security Studies. He speaks Bulgarian, Czech, French, German and Russian.   He is married to Jocelyn Greene, also a retired Foreign Service Officer.  They have two daughters.

Aug 23, 2013 Libby Andrews, Entrepreneur Stick-e Yoga Socks

Libby Andrews Owner Stick-e Yoga Socks

In 1994, Libby Andrews received her MBA at the University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business. After graduating, Libby continued to pursue a career in sales and sales management in technology for another 8 years before switching careers to full-time homemaker and mother.

In 2004 – while still a mom of three children ages 2, 3, and 4 – the inspiration for Stick-e® Yoga Socks… For that Barefoot Feeling! came from Libby’s concern over the cleanliness of the health club floor, mats and equipment. Additionally, the inability for feet to “stick” when they are sweating was another challenge during Yoga classes. Libby observed that as many as 40% of the participants in the Yoga classes she attended were wearing socks. In 2006, Libby Andrews received a patent for Yoga Sticky Socks and in 2007 Libby received the trademark for Stick-e®.

And as the Stick-e® brand began to take off, Libby started getting feedback from her customers. “They’d say their feet didn’t sweat, but their hands did. I knew if we wanted to get into the big stores, we needed a whole line of products. So we started producing them. First a towel, and then gloves.”

“And then I started watching people roll up their sweaty, smelly mats and put them under their arms. I wanted all of my products to solve a problem and for me, that was a problem. So I thought, ‘How can I make mats that would be easy to clean?’ So I bought some Velcro at a hardware store and attached a strap to the mat. That way it could be hung in the shower. And as a bonus, it also made it easier to carry!”

As an afterthought, Libby decided to add an alignment line. Her instructor was always after her to straighten her hips, so she thought she couldn’t be the only one who needed a little help.


“And that’s what everyone was talking about,” she said with a smile, “the alignment line! After all that work, trying to make it easy to clean, my little after thought became the big selling point.”

And big would be an understatement — not just for the mat, but for the entire Stick-e® brand. Today, five years from the time Libby sold her first pair of socks, she now has ten products that are available at retailers including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Dunham’s, Sport Chalet, Paragon and Amazon.com. Last year, her sales hit seven figures and she’s expecting that to double in 2013 when Stick-e® arrives on the shelves of 350 Sports Authority stores and she adds to her ever-growing line of items.

“People are always asking me how I got into these stores — whether I knew someone — as if there’s a short cut. It took years of calling and calling again and simply sticking with it. It’s a journey.”

“I just took it one step at a time,” Libby said softy, “and each of those steps led me to the next. So many people don’t pursue things because they feel like they have to have all the answers before they do it. But that’s the definition of a journey — you figure it out as you go.”

Register for the Economic Club of Traverse City luncheon featuring speaker Libby Andrews held on August 23rd.


July 26th 2013, David Lorenz, Public Relations, PURE MICHIGAN

David Lorenz, Pure Michigan - Traverse City Econ Club Guest Speaker

Guest Speaker David Lorenz, PURE MICHIGAN | Manager, Public & Industry Relations Travel Michigan

David Lorenz is the Manager of Public and Industry Relations for Travel Michigan, a division of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation – the official State of Michigan tourism promotion agency.  He oversees Travel Michigan’s public relations activities.  He also manages Travel Michigan’s efforts in the areas of international marketing, packaged travel, conventions and meetings, industry relations, golf and sports-event promotion.


Prior to coming to Travel Michigan in October 2002, Mr. Lorenz was the Manager, Partnerships and Promotions, for Meijer, Inc. where he was responsible for the facilitation of collaborative marketing programs with key consumer goods manufacturers.


He also has 14 years’ experience in radio broadcasting in roles varying from announcer and news reporter to numerous management positions.


David Lorenz attended Western Michigan University.  He lives in Norton Shores with his wife, Roberta, and son, Tyler.

Register for the July 26th 2013 event here.


June 21st 2013, Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, Chief Economist, Ford Motor Company

Ellen Hughes-CromwickEllen Hughes-Cromwick joined Ford Motor Company in 1996 and was promoted to Chief Economist in 2004. Ellen manages the corporate economics group with major responsibility for the Company’s global economic and automotive industry forecasts used to support business strategy, finance, and planning. Prior to joining Ford, Ellen was a senior economist at Mellon Bank from 1990 to 1996, and assistant professor of economics at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut during the late 1980s. She also served for two years as a staff economist on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers during the Reagan Administration. Ellen received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame, a Master’s degree in International Development and a Ph.D. in Economics at Clark University in Massachusetts.


Ellen has just completed a six-year term on the National Association for Business Economics, included a one-year term as President. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the NABE Foundation. Ellen also is a member of several professional organizations, including the Conference of Business Economists, Harvard Industrial Economists Group, and the American Economic Association (AEA). Most recently, she was appointed to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Board of Directors for a five-year term. Ellen has been married for 33 years and has three children. Her family enjoys athletics, music, and cooking together.

Register for the June 21st event here.



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