Since Sandy K. Baruah's selection us new president and chief executive officer of the Detroit Regional Chamber, he has worked closely with Chamber Board Chair Sandy Pierce, and the two naturally strong leaders hit it off immediately. What follows is part two of two of our exclusive "Sandy on Sandy" interview.
Sandy K. Baruah: As chair of the board and in your role on the selection committee, what did you consider while looking for a new president and CEO for the Detroit Regional Chamber?
Sandy Pierce: The economic landscape has been forever altered, creating a crucial time in the chamber's history to forge a strategic direction to foster growth for our members and our region. And that requires a bold leader who will he a connector of commerce and community - and serve as a catalyst for collaboration to help drive initiatives with long-lasting effect in southeast Michigan. You bring deep experience, broad perspective and a track record for working across business, civic and community sectors to help forge a culture of sustainable growth.
SKB: You wear so many hats in the community, giving you a unique perspective on our region. How do you see our region moving forward? What will drive its success?
SP: Talent engagement - not just, retention - and used in the broadest context, meaning everyone in this region participates, gets involved and makes a difference in one's sphere of influence. The talent in metropolitan Detroit can be stacked up against any region in the world. It's in our work force, our work ethic, our Midwestern roots and our hometown pride. Individuals and institutions, young professionals, skilled workers, academia, clergy, large corporations and small businesses, stay-at-home parents and CEOs - everyone. When you unleash talent across all sectors, you sec a domino effect - ideas are embraced, solutions are identified, innovation is fostered, jobs are created. That's how we move our region forward.
SKB: Entrepreneurs and small businesses can be game changers in our region. What advice do you have for start-up businesses seeking financing?
SP: The start-up phase is often the most crucial time when small businesses need capital, but it's at this delicate stage when bank financing is rarely an option. Industry-standard underwriting criteria include the ability to repay based on cash flow and collateral, an established credit history, business equity and experience. Start-up businesses simply don't have a...