• Meet Jack Schripsema: Passing the Torch

     
    POSTED February 24, 2020
     

At just 16, Jack Schripsema had already set a long-standing hospitality career in motion with his first job washing dishes at the local Holiday Inn. The Michigan State University graduate later went on to work at some of the country’s most iconic properties including The Plaza Hotel in New York and the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles before returning to his home state where he’s worked tirelessly with Detroit, Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Flint and Greater Lansing organizations to put Michigan on the map as a thriving national destination—most recently as president and CEO of the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau (GLCVB).

“We’ve spent so many years growing demand significantly and priming the region for some really impactful developments, so to get to visibly see the renaissance happening here and to know we had a small part to play in that is something I’m most proud of,” Schripsema says.

Now, after over 50 years in the industry, Schripsema will officially retire in February. A few of Schripsema’s many colleagues offer their reflections on his time and invaluable contributions to the industry here.

"In the six years Jack served on the MACVB board, he generously gave of his time and talents. Not only was he dedicated to the work of various committees, but he also showed his true strength as an industry leader as the association’s president in 2018. He has been a strong advocate for the tourism industry and is a mentor to me. I will miss working with him in the coming years." —Larisa Draves, CMP, Michigan Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus

“I have had the honor to work with Jack for many years in the Michigan hospitality industry. He has always been a visionary and a leader when it comes to new ideas and collaboration, and has been so supportive of all of our efforts to unite the destinations in Michigan for one common cause—bringing more meetings and events to our great state!” —Kim Corcoran, CMP, Destination Michigan/Meetings Michigan

“It has been a pleasure working with Jack during his tenure at the GLCVB. In my opinion, Jack embodies the Sheryl Sandberg quote, ‘Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.’ We’re going to miss Jack’s leadership but I’m confident the foundation he has established will carry us forward to a bright future.” —Tracy Padot, CTA, GLCVB

Tony Michaels is no stranger to navigating choppy waters. The CEO and executive director of The Parade Company, which puts on traditions like America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Ford Fireworks, took the helm of the Detroit nonprofit during tough times, at the height of the financial crisis. “2008, 2009, are you kidding me?” says Michaels.

 

Originally from Ontario, Heather Odendaal got her start in event planning early, serving as her high school’s head of social events. She ended up on the West Coast, courtesy of her studies at the University of British Columbia, and launched her career in Whistler, working for the resort in marketing and events. Today, she’s CEO of Bluebird Strategy, a boutique event planning firm, and CEO and founder of WNORTH, a global community of women who have their sights set on the C-suite.

 

You may not have seen her name among Chicago’s James Beard award nominees or caught in the buzz of another trendy eatery opening, but the ripples of Rita Dever’s culinary creations have made an impact far and wide. After cooking around the world, the Pacific Northwest native put down roots as Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ (LEYE) associate partner and corporate chef where she collaborates in the company’s test kitchen to innovate new dishes for all LEYE restaurants.