A Lansing Rotarian with a Big Job

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If you’ve ever planned a party, you know there are endless details involved. But if that party also has a guest list of thousands and will end up in the history books, the pressure is really on! Martha Kliebert is executive director of Lansing’s 150th anniversary celebration.

Q: In a nutshell, explain the Lansing 150 celebration.

A: This year we’re celebrating the 150th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Lansing. There are plans already under way for a yearlong, community-driven birthday party showcasing the Greater Lansing area’s bright past, present and future.

Q: Whose idea was it?

A: Lansing Mayor Virg Bernaro approached The Rotary Club of Lansing back in late 2007 to see if it would spearhead a sesquicentennial celebration.

Q: How were you selected to head up the celebration?

A: As a Rotarian, I’m always looking for something rewarding to do. I was interviewed in June of last year by the president of the Sesquicentennial Foundation Board and two board members. After presenting my qualifications to the full board, I was offered the position.

Q: What special experience qualifies you for the position?

A: I believe I was selected primarily because of my organizational skills. I have an extensive 20-year background and relevant skills in the areas of customer service, problem solving and productivity enhancement. I have specific community service skills such as motivating volunteer committees that are needed as executive director of the organization.

Q: Who is involved in the planning and what does it entail?

A: After careful consideration, the Rotary Club agreed that this endeavor met its service mission. A 501c3 nonprofit corporation was established (Lansing Sesquicentennial Foundation Inc., doing business as Lansing 150) with eight Lansing Rotarians as board members. In addition, an executive committee was formed as an advisory board to get the business community actively involved.
While the Rotarians are taking the lead in planning and coordinating the event, there are hundreds of volunteers dedicated to making 2009 a special year for Lansing.

Q: What is the cost of the celebration and how will revenue be generated?

A: The fundraising committee is raising funds to cover the costs of the events as a gift to the city. No revenue is expected to be generated. The goal is to involve citizens, organizations and businesses in the development and execution of a wide range of events throughout 2009.  All events are designed to demonstrate community pride and good will, and they will be free to all.

Q: What are the City’s hopes for attendance?

A: There is no attendance goal. We’re simply hoping events will be well attended and provide joy and fun for everyone.


Author: Jo Anne Paul-Stanton
Photography: Terri Shaver

Martha Kliebert

Current Position: Executive Director, Lansing 150 Office

Recent Resume: President and owner of Banconsultant, Inc., and Okemosbased financial services consulting firm. Serves as co-chair of the Okemos Citizens Milage Committee

Education: Graduate of Miami University, Bachelor of Science in Business, Management and Employee Relations.

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