MICHELE HODGES:
 
MICHELE HODGES




 
 
 
 
 
President, Troy Chamber of Commerce. In her role, Hodges oversees seven staff, a $500,000 budget, 750 members, and a 19-member board of directors. Her emphasis is on economic development, and she has increased membership for the chamber. She created the Oakland County Wellness Coalition, the Non-Profit Network, Consumer Outreach, and SmartZone Maximization Committees. Hodges also created the ďAsk an ExpertĒ website. Previously, she held several positions with the Detroit Regional Economic Partnership, where she created a technology-based economic development strategy for the 10-county Detroit region, formed a technology task force, and oversaw all new international investment markets. She also held positions with the cities of Southfield and Eastpointe. Hodges has been recognized as one of Southeastern Michiganís Most Influential Women by Inforum and Deloitte, named the Michigan Chamber Professional of the Year, a 40-Under-40 by Crainís Detroit Business, a Distinguished Leader by Leadership Oakland, and an Executive to Watch by Oakland Business Review. She serves as a board member of the Troy Downtown Development Authority and is a member of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce Executives, Automation Alley, Great Lakes Interchange Coordinating Council, Oakland County Economic Development Roundtable, and the Oakland County Economic Developers Group. Hodges earned a bachelorís in urban planning from Michigan State University and a masterís from the Institute for Public Administration at Central Michigan University.


WHERE BORN: "Proudly in Detroit."

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: "My mentor was Les McAlister, the city manager of Eastpointe. We still stay in contact 18 years later. He understood the profession, was a decent person, philanthropic, and those lessons have stayed with me. Also, Phil Powers, whoís working on finding a unified vision for Michigan and statesmen-like leaders. I think thatís so very important. Iíve always admired people like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, who have the courage and respect to focus on their goals."

LAST BOOK READ: "I'm a mother of a 6- and 4-year-old. But I did read The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall. The lesson there is that you can be innovative with your will. The Fancy Nancy books are my favorite children's books right now."

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: "Honored and humbled. Iíd rather you ask other people that question."

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: "The pros of chambers of commerce are that weíre uniquely positioned to make a difference in the community. We have an objective to be statesmen, to role model behavior. We need the courage to know what needs to be done to sustain our communities. We need to be experts in every issue whether green, social, health, leadership in general, and in the arts. By obtaining that, we need to turn it into tools for our members. The bottom line to all of that is relationships. If youíre hoping to succeed, you need relationships. How can our members make the links and contacts and partnerships to move forward in a technologically based world? Iíve been reading Henry Ford for inspiration. He said, ĎIf I would have asked my customer what he or she wanted, they would have said a faster horse.í You need to be in touch with your customers and know what they may need and not what they think they need. Thatís something we need to embrace as a profession."

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: "My BlackBerry has changed my life. Itís such a relief to know where you stand at any given moment and be able to tackle it in the grocery line if you need to. It optimizes your time."

FAVORITE PLACE: "Assuming my husband and daughters are nearby, one is sitting in a theater seat with the lights dimming and curtain rising, or on a plane thatís about to land in a far away land."

FAVORITE HOBBIES: "Right now, itís burying my face in the lilacs when I get home. Weíre addicted to culture, whether itís Pewabic pottery, Eastern Market, or the theater in general. We also like the African American museum and the whole gamut of arts and culture."

FAVORITE FOOD: "Diet Coke is absolutely the breakfast of champions. That is my main course. But I canít ignore that I love spicy Indian and Thai food. Costcoís pizza is my guilty pleasure."

MY HIDDEN TALENT: "I can sing the theme song to ĎAll in the Family.í We can also throw a mean party."

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: "I hope people know that I always did my best and was well-intentioned and concerned with the best outcome of everyone impacted. No regrets, either. Whatever needed to be said was said, and what needed to be done was done. I never missed an opportunity for kindness and decency and was sincere. For my profession, I was a champion for the region."

At the annual awards reception in May 2015, one Leader & Innovator from the previous 12 months will be selected as the Leader & Innovator of the Year.