By CBS Detroit

It was talk of Detroit’s revival and inclusion of gays and minorities that were among topics discussed with four high profile CEOs at the Michigan Chronicle’s “Pancakes and Politics” forum.

The sold-out event — which is held monthly during the spring time and launched by the paper nine years ago — featured Nancy Schlichting, President/CEO of Henry Ford Health System,William Pickard, chairman of Global Automotive Alliance, Ric Devore, Regional President, Detroit and Southeast Michigan PNC Bank, and Dr. David Cotton, founder, president and CEO, Meridian Health Plan Corp. at the DAC on Thursday.

CBS 62 is a media sponsor of the event as is WWJ Newsradio 950.

“Michigan Matters” Senior Producer/Host Carol Cain moderated the conversation with Bankole Thompson, senior editor of the Michigan Chronicle, also asking questions.

Pickard, among the most successful African American businessmen in the country, discussed why it was important to talk about inclusion of blacks and other minorities in business.

“With competition today coming not just from other cities or state but other nations, it is more difficult for CEOs to focus on these issues of inclusion,” he said.

“But it makes sense — financially — for CEOs to do so,” Pickard added.

Schlichting also talked about the need to be more welcoming to gays — something that resonates with young people deciding where to live and work.

Schlichting, who married her partner in December in New York City, hopes to do the same in Michigan if gay marriage is allowed in the state. There is a court challenge over the issue right now.

Cotton, who has watched his company grow from a few dozen in 1997 to hundreds today, said the average age of his employees has also gone down with many now in their 30s.

“What I have found on this issue of gays is that it doesn’t matters to younger people,” he said. “It is only us older folks who have an issue with it.”

Devore discussed how PNC bank has offered benefits to same sex partners for years.

You can hear the rest of the conversation on “Michigan Matters” 11:30 am Sunday on CBS 62


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