Q&A With Past 10 Over the Next Ten Award Winners

Peter Spadafore

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Lansing School Board President and Vice President of the Michigan Independent Colleges & Universities: Class of 2013

What does it mean to be designated one of the community’s “young leaders?”

Two things come to mind. There is a lot of pressure and a lot of expectations. But it is very humbling to be recognized by your peers, colleagues and area businesses as someone who is a leader. When you do things in your career or volunteer service, or in my case with the school board, there are not a lot of awards or recognition. Then you realize that people are paying attention.

Thinking about future winners, what will they realize about this award?

When you get this award you join a small cohort of leaders. There are about 100 of us. When you get together and look at the faces, you see the people who have been making a difference in the community. Now you are a winner and you know these people. A lot of times I sit there and have the imposter syndrome.

And what advice would you give to future 10 The over Next Ten winners?

Keep it up. Keep doing what you are doing. This should not be a course correction for you. You should recognize a sense of accomplishment, that you are doing something right. Don’t get sidetracked from that trajectory.

Do you recognize certain leadership traits among those given this award?

The strength that you seek in the winners is that they take initiative. That they are critical thinkers and they are not afraid to make mistakes. If someone just stays in their comfort zone, they are probably not going to be recognized as someone to keep an eye on over the next ten years. 

Amanda Lick

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Manager of Advocacy, Governmental and Regulatory Affairs, Michigan Pharmacists Association: Class of 2015

What does it mean to be designated one of the community’s “young leaders?”

I was shocked. First of all, it’s a great honor and also it’s a call to action. You don’t often do what I do and get recognized for it. It’s nice to know that your community is investing in you. I spend a lot of time on community boards and I ran for the park commission. It’s all about trying to make our community the best it can be. Also, for winners, it’s a wonderful networking opportunity. I have established relationships with community leaders who I never would have been in contact with.

Thinking about future winners, what will they realize about this award?

I think when you get an award like this, in the first moment you think about the acknowledgment. And that’s quickly followed by the realization that there is so much more to be done. As individuals, I don’t think we spend enough time outside of our own space. For the award winners, it brings the opportunity to connect with others and it puts the spotlight on you to be a representative in the community. The award is really a resource.

What advice would you give to future 10 Over the Next Ten winners?

I would advise them to be there on the night of the award, to be there with their cohort. And I’d advise them to continue their presence in the community. Also, they now have a family of 100 past award winners in different walks of life, all with one goal: to make Lansing a better place for business and a better place to live.

Do you recognize certain leadership traits among those given this award?

I would say big-picture thinking and idea sharing. Also, collaboration, communications and follow-through. The winners have, I think, the energy, drive and passion to push for the changes needed to build a better Lansing.

Suban Nur Cooley

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Managing editor for Capital Gains Media: Class of 2014

What does it mean to be designated one of the community’s “young leaders?”

It was definitely an honor. For anyone who commits time and energy to working within the community it is very exciting to be selected. For me it was probably a combination of my work as a volunteer, the community engagement side of things and my education — going for my PhD. Both [allowed] judges [to] see that I might have an impact in Lansing.

What advice would you give to future 10 over Next Ten winners?

Obviously, if they picked you, keep doing what you’ve been doing and the ways you are helping shape Lansing. Clearly, it’s what got you the recognition.

Thinking about future winners, what will they realize about this award?

It’s a mix of recognition and acknowledgment that you have the capacity to continue to do more. I’d argue that it is somewhat of a challenge and assumes that in the next ten years you will continue to make an impact.

Do you recognize certain leadership traits among those given this award?

There is a mix and I think the judges do that intentionally. They recognize ambitious community leaders who are known for having an impact on Lansing. Then you have organization leaders who develop institutions like Impressions 5.

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Mickey Hirten

Mickey Hirten

Mickey Hirten is an award winning writer and editor. He has been executive editor of the Lansing State Journal, the Burlington Free Press in Vermont, and was the financial editor and a columnist for the Baltimore Evening Sun. He is the current president of the Michigan Press Association. His wife, Maureen Hirten, is director of the Capital Area District Library.

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