Willis to Lead DLI Board

Downtown Lansing Inc. is excited to announce that Ashlee Willis has been elected as the new President of the Board of Directors. A Lansing native, Willis is the founder and CEO of Michigan Premier Events based out of the Boji Tower. Willis is looking forward to helping the DLI team continue to help Downtown navigate through the changes brought about by COVID. “Collaboration and inclusive leadership are the key to helping recover from the pandemic, and now is the time to focus on Downtown Lansing. Downtown is the core and spine of the community and region. Having a strong and healthy downtown will allow other areas to grow and strengthen as well,” Willis said. Willis believes the comprehensive market analysis DLI is undertaking, thanks to a grant from the MEDC, is a key opportunity to bring the community together to collectively determine how Downtown Lansing can thrive, and how to reshape a downtown for the future. “Post pandemic, downtowns will obviously be aligned differently, so we need a cohesive plan to make our downtown more vibrant, walkable, healthy and equitable for all,” she added.

Willis also stated that she is excited to grow closer with downtown business owners and community stakeholders as she seeks their input in the comprehensive market analysis and other DLI initiatives. Willis is very active within Downtown Lansing and has put together several events to bring the Downtown Lansing community together, as well as helping lead the Lift Up Local campaign. The Lift Up Local campaign started soon after COVID-19 first hit, with the campaign encouraging the community to support local businesses and having local ambassadors lead the charge. Willis is also a part of the DLI board’s strategic plan committee, helping to lead the comprehensive target market analysis and future downtown management vision, and she is leading Diversity Equity and Inclusion efforts along with other high-level initiatives designed to foster a vibrant and sustainable downtown. Wills looks forward to continuing the existing strong partnerships between DLI and community members. “Cathleen [Edgerly]’s and the entire DLI team’s inclusive leadership is moving the Downtown Lansing district forward despite the terrible challenges we have faced recently,” she said. Willis also wished to thank her fellow board members for electing her President. “The members of the DLI board of directors have great passion for Downtown Lansing and a depth of expertise across many areas” Willis said.