Events | Opinion

#MPC15: The magic of Mackinac

It’s been two years since I’ve attended the Mackinac Policy Conference, so when it came time to sign up to attend this year, I dragged my feet. Is it worth the 5-hour trip up and then back again within three days? Is it worth the ticket price? Is it worth the time away from the office in our busiest season?

But I wasn’t even on the island yet when the “magic” of Mackinac began and it all became worthwhile.

Sitting on the ferry next to a candidate for state rep,  who in the 2016 election will be running to oversee my neighborhood as part of her district, was less a campaign move than it was a conversation about what she and her husband are doing to renovate three abandoned properties on their block.

Heading up to catch the reception at the Grand Hotel, I ran into a top executive whose ear I’ve been trying to get about our Connect After 5 Program. The conversation instantly becomes easier with drinks in our hands and Lake Michigan in our sights.

Then I ran into my 9th grade homecoming date and high school classmate, only to find out that he just moved his family back to Detroit from D.C. to take on the executive role at City Year.

And what can be better than sitting with a cup of coffee overlooking the water and chatting with the managers of your bed and breakfast, hearing their stories and the stories of those who have stayed before you?

There’s just something about getting out of your everyday routine, sharing a seat on the ferry and a drink on the Grand Hotel porch, that changes perspectives, opens conversations and seemingly makes it easier to get things done.

Whether there’s an agenda to meet, a schedule to attend to or just new hands to shake and longstanding deals to make, there’s a magic about Mackinac that makes it worth it every year!

Stay tuned for my next blog on today’s “Building Bridges to Small Businesses” pop- up at Mission Point Resort.

Kerry Doman
Kerry Doman is Founder and CEO of After 5 Detroit (, a website that highlights events, hotspots and information targeted at young professionals who wish to fully experience the Detroit lifestyle. She also founded a spin-off business, Connect After 5 ( that develops after-work events and activities for local companies that seek to build morale, engage their employees within the community and increase retention amongst their staff. In summer 2010, she launched the After 5 Intern Program ( that joined together thousands of interns and new hires to retain the area’s top graduates by showcasing the available lifestyle throughout downtown Detroit. With each new program and venture, Kerry strives to create opportunities that showcase the available lifestyle throughout the area, in hopes of further attracting and retaining the top talent to live, work and play within the city of Detroit. Kerry is the recipient of many awards, and is currently Co-Chair of the Emerging Philanthropists Initiative, as part of the United Way of Southeast Michigan. She sits on the Board at The Heidelberg Project, Boll Family YMCA, D:Hive Advisory Board, and the Detroit Creative Corridor Center Advisory Board. Follow her @KerryAfter5.