There is no doubt I want one of Roger Penske’s drivers … Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe or Will Power … to win the Detroit Chevrolet Belle Isle Grand Prix. It would be terrific … like winning on the home court. But bringing the race back to Belle Isle is so much more than a win. It’s an opportunity to show off Detroit and its people. It’s about doing something you love and following through with it. I love racing and I love Detroit.
The Grand Prix, and all that leads up to it, focuses on what can be done, not what can’t.
What will make the Grand Prix a success is not who gets the checkered flag. It is how those attending see Detroit and all it has to offer from Belle Isle to the Detroit Symphony to the Detroit Tigers to the Michigan Opera Theatre to the DIA to the restaurants and museums. The list goes on and on. How they see our city will depend on each of us.
We … each one of us … from the person picking up trash on Belle Isle to the bus driver bringing people to the race to those entertaining in the chalets and those watching the race from the grand stands to those walking down the city’s streets have an opportunity to help revitalize Detroit’s image, reputation and character. Everybody needs to be in the game. Character and reputation are the most important assets a person … or a city … will ever own. We need to re-establish Detroit reputation as a safe, clean and vibrant community.
We can do that by speaking well of our city and its people and by keeping it clean and safe. Detroit has a strong foundation and we have the building blocks to make a difference.
As I was think about the strategy involved in racing I couldn’t help but compare it to the strategy and vision we need for Detroit. As you watch the Grand Prix, watch the drivers. They often have split seconds to make a decision and then often spend the rest of the race making that decision work. How do they make those decisions? Sure experience and expertise help, but once they’re on that track the only way to make the decision work is to look down the road and anticipate potential changes.
It’s the same in Detroit. If we look ahead to what our city will be and make decisions based on that vision we’re sure to win. In racing new cars, new engines and a great team play roles in a win. In Detroit the same is true. New attitudes, new outlooks and working together as team will get us across the finish line first.
Cindy Pasky is the founder and CEO, Strategic Staffing Solutions, and chair, Downtown Detroit Partnership