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Michelle DeClerck

2016 Changemaker: Michelle DeClerck, CMP

For relentlessly giving back

Michelle DeClerck, CMP
Conference Event Management

Making Change
I’m a big believer in the power of individuals and businesses to make positive change. Within our company, I launched Sharing & Caring to integrate our team into the community, volunteering on a quarterly basis with an emphasis on homelessness and hunger initiatives. And last month marked the one-year anniversary of Iowa Hospitality Donation Network, a charitable group I founded that connects hotels and event venues with ways to donate leftover food, housewares, and personal care items. It’s been a great success, and we’re looking to expand efforts nationally.

One of my passions is supporting women business owners and providing mentoring. I launched Mentor Tank, a nonprofit group that helps young women in the hospitality profession learn and advance in a casual environment with their peers. I’m also very involved on a volunteer basis with the Iowa National Association of Women Business Owners, Iowa’s STEM Million Women Mentoring, and Opportunity on Deck, a group that provides no-cost athletic programming for families in Central Iowa. 

Defining Success
It’s impossible not to be successful when you surround yourself with great colleagues, when you are selective in your clientele, and choose to work with organizations that appreciate expertise, guidance, and organization. And for me, having a supportive family that thrives on volunteerism and making a difference is essential. 

What’s Next?
Our company is growing, and as we tend to gravitate toward clients who make a difference with their own charitable efforts, it’s likely we’ll find ourselves with more unique opportunities to build positive change. I’m also excited about an upcoming volunteer commitment as a contributing editor for Iowa’s leading business publication. I’ll be writing about how to grow a business, small business issues, and business ownership.

Best Business Advice
Focus on what you do best so you can build the skill set that will show you are the best at what you do. Giving back always pays off. You’ll start to be viewed as the expert in your industry simply by the way you conduct yourself and your business in your community. Saying “yes” creates wonderful opportunities and friendships that you can’t gain in other ways.

Got a Spare Hour?
I tend to make more time for networking events, which usually results in getting asked to participate in more volunteer activities, which is preferable—sitting around isn’t an option
for me.

Previous: Changemaker Vickie Corder, CMP

Next: Changemaker Monica Dickenson, CMP, SMMC

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