Western Michigan University hosts Corporate Engagement Southwest Michigan Corporate Leadership Breakfast

On April 26, WMU's Corporate Engagement Team hosted the first Southwest Michigan Corporate Leadership Breakfast, inviting local industry partners to campus to hear about WMU's new approach to building strategic partnerships. WMU President, Edward Montgomery and President of Customer Solutions at Stryker, Mike Carlin, participated in a Q&A session covering topics from career readiness after college to internships to how both universities and corporations will evolve to address rapidly advancing technology. The breakfast also provided attendees the opportunity to network both amongst each other and with the corporate engagement team to foster new partnerships and further engagement between industry and WMU.

The breakfast also featured an overview of WMU's new corporate engagement initiative by assistant vice president for community partnerships, and Corporate Engagement team leader, Lisa Garcia. For the last few years, the University has been working to develop a more holistic strategy for managing corporate relationships. The initiative includes the establishment of a corporate engagement working committee, a designated corporate engagement web presence, the utilization of customer relationship management software to share information across campus, and the introduction of a new process for managing corporate relationships.

The new corporate engagement initiative allows WMU to make it easier for community and business partners to leverage our relationships. "We have created a more holistic, sustainable, and ultimately a much easier way to engage with WMU through a new and consistent corporate engagement process,” said Garcia. “We are being more intentional about our collaborations, going to business with a singular voice through the creation of strategic company engagement plans, and we now have a way to truly measure our relationship value through a new and proprietary valuation tool." This new process is currently being piloted with companies such as Stryker, Bronson Healthcare, Dipharma, Pfizer, Consumers Energy and Kellogg.

The new process has been successful with companies so far. “I have appreciated the way that Western Michigan University has been engaging with my company the last few months,” said Dipharma CEO Brian Eklov. “The corporate engagement work they have been doing is a sign that Western is moving in the right direction.” WMU plans on rolling out the new corporate engagement process to more companies in the upcoming year.