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Enabling Communities

Unite against the pandemic—and not against each other

This letter originally appeared in Crain’s Detroit Business. Read the original posting.

We, the undersigned, representing a diverse group of women business leaders in Michigan, urge all our citizens, including our elected officials, to commit to following scientific guidance as we face a surge of COVID-19 cases in our state. In addition, we urge civility in public debate — without personal attacks—as we continue to navigate the pandemic and steer toward an economic recovery.

Throughout this unprecedented and challenging year, women CEOs and business leaders across Michigan have taken decisive actions that transformed our companies’ business apparatuses, quickly transitioned our workforces to new environments, and interrupted our business operations with two priorities in mind—to slow the pandemic and to keep our economy going.

The coronavirus pandemic is a global health emergency that has forced quick and decisive action by executive leaders at businesses of all sizes. It is clear the decisive actions by the state of Michigan’s chief executive in managing this emergency are saving lives. The governor works closely with businesses like ours to ensure we have the support and resources we need to protect our employees, customers, and their families. This is exactly the kind of strong leadership we need as our state continues to fight COVID-19 at this critical time.

Sadly, as the pandemic continues, acrimonious public discourse has escalated. Last month, law enforcement officers announced that the governor had become the target of a multistate domestic terrorist plot to kidnap and possibly kill her. We were shocked and dismayed to learn of the planned attacks on our governor due to her efforts to keep our citizens safe and our economy open. No public official should be subject to any form of threat to the safety of their persons or families.

When we disrespect and distort the views of others, we undermine our democracy by ultimately excluding and silencing divergent voices. Civility — the ability to operate with respect, consideration, and decency — is critical. The consequences of breaking the rules of civil society is that disorder, brutality, and chaos reign. Michigan cannot afford such turmoil, especially as we must band together, united against the pandemic’s resurgence.

This country was built on civility, and the ability to operate with decency, consideration and respect for one another. We cannot afford to lose touch with those values. And despite the deep divisions in our country, we must remember that at the end of the day, we are all Michiganders and Americans. It is time for all of us to lock arms and stand firmly against the pandemic—instead of against each other—and we must do it now.

The future of our state is counting on us all.

  • Tonya Allen, president and CEO, The Skillman Foundation
  • Lizabeth Ardisana, president and CEO, ASG Renaissance
  • Beth Chappell, retired president and CEO, Detroit Economic Club
  • Lisa Corless, president and CEO, AF Group
  • Audrey Gregory, CEO, Detroit Medical Center
  • Darienne Hudson, president and CEO, United Way for Southeastern Michigan
  • Denise Ilitch, president, Ilitch Enterprises LLC
  • Sabrina Keeley, chief operating officer, Business Leaders for Michigan
  • Judy Kelly, vice president-client sales, IBM Corp.
  • Kathryn Levine, CEO, Blue Care Network
  • Florine Mark, president and CEO, Weight Watchers
  • Linda Orlans, founder & executive chair, Orlans PC
  • Andi Owen, president and CEO, Herman Miller Inc.
  • Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, president, Oakland University
  • Vivian Pickard, president and CEO, The Pickard Group, LLC
  • Patti Poppe, president and CEO, Consumers Energy
  • Lynda Rossi, executive vice president, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
  • Andra Rush, president and CEO, Rush Group
  • Nancy Schlichting, retired CEO, Henry Ford Health System
  • Suzanne Shank, president and CEO, Siebert Williams Shank & Co. LLC
  • Barb Tronstein, chief operating officer, Gardner White Furniture
  • Rachel Tronstein, president, Gardner White Furniture
  • Carla Walker-Miller, founder and CEO, Walker-Miller Energy Services

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