• 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

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better champion of Amarillo than Hope Stokes, director of brand management for the Amarillo Convention & Visitor Council. Born and raised in the Texas Panhandle city, she graduated from nearby West Texas A&M University and her first job in the tourism industry was as an intern at the council. Stokes shared with us her love of her hometown.

What is your favorite thing about marketing Amarillo?

 

Ken Hayward has spent nearly his entire career serving at one hotel. But when you start your career at one of the most iconic and historic hotels in Michigan— even the nation—it’s hard to see yourself anywhere else. Hayward, executive vice president and managing director of Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, was recently named Hotelier of the Year by Historic Hotels of America. This honor comes decades after Hayward was given an unexpected opportunity.

 

A lifelon New Yorker, Emily Schmalholz was a TV producer at VH1 before moving into the events industry and landing at Westchester’s The Capitol Theatre. As director of special events at the historic space and its bar, Garcia’s, she says creating events and working in television have lots in common. “The ultimate goal for both is to tell a great story and create memorable moments.” Schmalholz, a self-described “event therapist,” had more to say about her work.

What’s the biggest difference between producing for television and producing events?