Mackinac Policy Conference: Event is more important in divisive times, says Detroit Regional Chamber CEO

The country has become too polarized along ideological lines, says Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah, and “that it’s reached dangerous proportions.”

The Mackinac Policy Conference started in 1981, and seeks to bridge various political divisions by bringing together Michigan leaders in business, philanthropy and civic sectors.

There are heightened expectations on Mackinac Island now that people are able to interact with one another in-person, says Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah.

“Our nation, and our state, frankly, has become too divided. We are so polarized along ideological lines or polarized on particular issues, that it’s reached dangerous proportions.” — Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber

Listen: How the Mackinac Policy Conference strides to bridge political divides.



Sandy K. Baruah is the president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. The Detroit Regional Chamber puts on the yearly Mackinac Policy Conference.

“Regardless of if you’re a conservative or a liberal, can you walk away from this island with just that little bit more empathy for what the other guy or gal is thinking and feeling?” asks Baruah.

Arn Tellem is the vice chairman of the Detroit Pistons. He says that sports should be used to bring people together and bridge political divides.

“Sports is a unifier, it brings people together from diverse cultures and backgrounds and the great thing about sports is it breaks barriers and it’s a way to build relationships,” says Tellem.

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