At just 16, Jack Schripsema had already set a long-standing hospitality career in motion with his first job washing dishes at the local Holiday Inn. The Michigan State University graduate later went on to work at some of the country’s most iconic properties including The Plaza Hotel in New York and the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles before returning to his home state where he’s worked tirelessly with Detroit, Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Flint and Greater Lansing organizations to put Michigan on the map as a thriving national destination—most recently as president and CEO of the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau (GLCVB).

“We’ve spent so many years growing demand significantly and priming the region for some really impactful developments, so to get to visibly see the renaissance happening here and to know we had a small part to play in that is something I’m most proud of,” Schripsema says.

Now, after over 50 years in the industry, Schripsema will officially retire in February. A few of Schripsema’s many colleagues offer their reflections on his time and invaluable contributions to the industry here.

"In the six years Jack served on the MACVB board, he generously gave of his time and talents. Not only was he dedicated to the work of various committees, but he also showed his true strength as an industry leader as the association’s president in 2018. He has been a strong advocate for the tourism industry and is a mentor to me. I will miss working with him in the coming years." —Larisa Draves, CMP, Michigan Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus

“I have had the honor to work with Jack for many years in the Michigan hospitality industry. He has always been a visionary and a leader when it comes to new ideas and collaboration, and has been so supportive of all of our efforts to unite the destinations in Michigan for one common cause—bringing more meetings and events to our great state!” —Kim Corcoran, CMP, Destination Michigan/Meetings Michigan

“It has been a pleasure working with Jack during his tenure at the GLCVB. In my opinion, Jack embodies the Sheryl Sandberg quote, ‘Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.’ We’re going to miss Jack’s leadership but I’m confident the foundation he has established will carry us forward to a bright future.” —Tracy Padot, CTA, GLCVB

League City CVB manager Stephanie Polk shares her career journey.

Originally from Kentwood, Louisiana, Stephanie Polk, TDM, CTE, first made her mark on the travel and tourism industry as director of marketing for the Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau. There, she helped to elevate the city as a destination for recreation travelers and business groups. Wowed by her accomplishments, in 2020, League City brought her on board to lead its marketing efforts. She shares with us highlights and advice from her experience in the industry. 

 

Michigan is home to nearly 150 wineries, many with private events spaces set against backdrops of picturesque vineyards and wide-open rural countryside scenes. While weddings are among the primary celebrations hosted, many also offer venues ideal for business and corporate receptions or events.

 

Dorothy Hecht was just 16 years old in 1937 when she waited on her first table at what was then Fischer’s Restaurant in downtown Frankenmuth, and ecstatically earned her first 25-cent tip. When she met and eventually married William “Tiny” Zehnder, whose family owned Zehnder’s Restaurant across the street, her happiness continued, and a legacy began.