Filling Big Shoes

[This post is by Jamie Schriner-Hooper, CEDAM’s Executive Director.]

I’m now on week number four as CEDAM’s new executive director. Even before I started, I knew I would have big shoes to fill with Angie Gaabo’s departure.  However, with each passing day, I’m learning even more about the role Angie filled, working with our member organizations across the state.

I have a background in traditional neighborhood commercial district revitalization. I worked in Lansing’s Old Town neighborhood, helping to continue the efforts to transform the neighborhood from a place with a bad reputation to a destination. While there, I worked with business and property owners, residents, employees, volunteers and anyone interested in helping to make the community a better place. From there, I joined the Michigan Main Street Center @ MSHDA, working with traditional downtowns and neighborhood districts across the state, teaching the Main Street Four-Point Approach® to revitalization. While at the Michigan Main Street Center, I had the distinct pleasure of watching communities band together with determination and begin the work of revitalizing their neighborhood. With every position, I am inspired by the work of organizations across Michigan.

In my brief time at CEDAM, I’ve seeing amazing groups working together to revitalize their community. Whether through affordable housing, foreclosure prevention, capacity building, traditional economic development or any number of other methods, groups are taking steps daily to make Michigan a better place.  Every day, I learn about more organizations doing their part to implement creative strategies to improve their community. I look forward to learning even more about these efforts, as well as meeting the people behind them.

In the mean time, I appreciate so many of you taking time out of your busy schedules to help to educate me on your efforts. CEDAM’s staff, board, volunteers and members impress me with every passing day. If I or CEDAM can be of service to you, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of Michigan’s revitalization.