There are so many things that define us. If I had to make a list about myself, I would definitely add that I’m a tried and true Michigander. It’s always amazing (and disappointing) to me when I travel around the country and people make disparaging remarks about our great state. I tell people where ever I am that they don’t know the true Michigan — it’s beautiful, the people are hardworking and Midwest-nice. It’s not their fault that they only hear the negative news through media or from someone who doesn’t appreciate this place. Sometimes it’s easy to believe that the grass is always greener on the other side. But, I’ve been around for a while now and know that there are always issues wherever you live. Michigan isn’t perfect, but no place is. It’s hard to appreciate what you have when you’re so busy looking for the flaws. I run into many people who have lived in Michigan most or all of their lives and have yet to visit Mackinac Island or the beaches of Lake Michigan. How can you make sweeping negative assumptions about a whole state without a little research? Until you’ve visited the sun-soaked sand of Grand Haven, dipped your toes into the glassy water of Torch Lake, or (if you’re like me and love the city) seen an amazing theater production at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, I say that you can’t possibly give an accurate depiction of our state. In fact, since there has been a perpetual lack of positivity for some time now, I believe real action is in order. Some talk a good game, but I’m going to put my time, resources and team where my “big” mouth is. Many of you know that I own Motion Marketing & Media in downtown Lansing. It’s a full service advertising, marketing, PR and social media company aimed at providing “aha moments” to our clients. We take our role very seriously. So, seriously in fact, that we are going to help our state take a good look in the mirror and find an “aha moment” or two through a 10-day #MeetMichigan with @m3_group tour to every county in our state (and if you didn’t know there are 83 of them). We are going to tweet from every county about why it’s special. After all, we believe there is something great behind every nook and cranny. If it’s there, we’ll find it. Follow us on Twitter to see videos, photos and read blogs about our natural resources, companies doing great and amazing things and of course — the people. So, I need you to follow us on our great trip in July, learn a few (or a lot) of things about why you should be positive about Michigan and tell everyone you know. It’s that simple. We can change the negative perception about our state one person at a time. For more information, see page 35. One of the many things you should know about and I believe is great regarding Ingham County is the Common Ground Music Festival that happens July 11-17. So, get your tickets and come downtown to Adado Riverfront Park for live music, hanging out with friends and festival-like food — uh anyone else love elephant ears? And, of course celebrating Independence Day will be easy anywhere in our state. Have you ever watched the fireworks over the Cooley Law School Stadium sponsored by LAFCU? They are amazing. Another amazing resource in our area is the Grand River. If you haven’t paid much attention lately, it’s that large body of water that runs through our Capitol City and is a great part of our River Walk. I love to be out there. And, so does our cover gal Cassie Alley. She is utilizing one of our city’s greatest resources by exercising through rowing. There is an entire community that gets up before most of the city and descends on our water resources. I hope her story helps persuade you that having this river in our community is an asset that helps us stay connected to nature and fun. I have a confession to make. As much as I love the view from the shore, I’m not much of a boat enthusiast or swimmer — well, it’s just never really been my exercise of choice. That doesn’t mean that I can’t be a fan of the water. Give me a lawn chair or beach towel and I’m all in — not the water — don’t be ridiculous. Okay, I do dip my toes in the water … keeps me cool and the view is spectacular. Since July is the biggest month for in-state tourism, I hope that you’ve picked your place, but if you haven’t done so pay close attention to our #MeetMichigan tour and maybe you’ll find a new town to explore. Be safe, have fun and most of all, keep the positive perspective about Michigan. Happy Independence Day Mid-Michigan,
Tiffany Dowling is the Founder and President of M3 Group, a full-service branding agency located in downtown Lansing, Mich. She is also owner and publisher of Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine and the Greater Lansing Business Monthly. Dowling has helped businesses and organizations with branding needs for more than a decade. Learn more at www.m3group.biz.