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News Release: Become an Economic Club member today!

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June 05, 2019
The 2019-20 Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speakers Series Season
Memberships available beginning at 10 am today!
Join us for an exciting Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speakers Series season and experience the benefits membership brings!
  • Best ticket prices of the season
  • Priority seat selection before individual tickets go on sale
  • Priority membership renewal for the 2020-21 season
In additional to a thought-provoking lineup of speakers outlined below, there are several new features we want to share with you.
New presentation format & reserved seating
Beginning this season, everyone will be seated in the Mainstage where speakers will deliver their presentations. This will provide a better all-around experience, more people will see the presentations in person, and we can offer reserved seating, eliminating the need to arrive early to get your preferred seat. As a first-class performing arts theatre, the Mainstage is also better suited for optimal sound, lighting, sight lines, and comfort.
This format preserves pre-presentation networking and socializing in the lower Mainstage lobbies for those interested. Cash bar and light bar snacks will be available. In addition, a pre-presentation buffet dinner will continue to be available in Grand Upton Hall. More information on the dinner option is available below.
New membership options
A variety of membership options are available, providing you with the best prices of the season and flexibility in selecting the speakers you want to see. Full details and pricing is available in the membership letter and season brochure.
You are invited to become a member beginning at 10 am today:
1) online through The Mendel Center website
2) by calling the box office at 269-927-8700, option 1
3) in person at The Mendel Center Box Office in the Grand Upton lobby, weekdays 10-6
4) by mail using the downloadable order form.
We encourage you to purchase memberships early. Beginning this season, all tickets are reserved seating. Ordering early gives you the opportunity to select the best available seats.
Order your membership today!
Nicole Malachowski
First woman Thunderbird pilot, combat veteran, fighter squadron commander, White House Fellow and adviser
Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 7:30 pm
Col. Nicole Malachowski (USAF, Ret.) defies stereotypes. A leader, a combat veteran, the first woman pilot on the Thunderbirds Air Demonstration Squadron, a White House Fellow, and an inductee into the Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame, Nicole’s distinguished 21-year Air Force career exceeded her wildest dreams. But the dream came to an end when a devastating tick-borne illness left her unable to speak or walk for ten months. An indomitable spirit, Nicole fought back against overwhelming odds and prevailed. Nicole will inspire you to rethink everyday challenges during her presentation, “Harnessing Headwinds of Change.”
Ann Curry
Emmy Award-winning journalist, executive producer & reporter for the PBS series We'll Meet Again
Saturday, November 2, 2019, 7:30 pm
Award-winning journalist and photojournalist Ann Curry is the executive producer and reporter of We'll Meet Again, a PBS series that features reunions of people whose lives crossed, and then separated, at pivotal moments. A former NBC News anchor and international correspondent, Ann has reported on wars and humanitarian disasters across the globe including the 2010 earthquake in Haiti during which her appeal via Twitter (@AnnCurry) is credited for helping to speed the arrival of humanitarian planes. During “An Evening with Ann Curry: Being a Tour de Force of Determination and Making a Difference in the World,” she will share stories grounded in her experiences.
Mitch Albom
Author, columnist, and radio host
Monday, December 2, 2019, 7:30 pm
Author of Tuesdays With Morrie, philanthropist, columnist, and sports reporter Mitch Albom is an inspiration around the world. He is the author of eight bestselling books, including The First Phone Call from Heaven; Have A Little Faith; The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and its sequel, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven. Mitch’s next work, Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family, is the true story of Chika, a young Haitian orphan whose short life would forever change Mitch’s heart. In his presentation, "Why Every Life Matters," he will speak about how we are all connected and we all have influence, so it is our responsibility to do whatever we can — wherever we are to make the world a better place.
Note: 6-pack members may add the YP speaker, starting at $10, by calling the box office. 4-pack and a la carte members may choose the YP speaker as one of their standard selections.
Nic Sheff
Author, recovering addict, and subject of Beautiful Boy
Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 7:30 pm
Nic Sheff’s heartbreaking and inspiring struggle with substance abuse disorder is the story of Beautiful Boy, a major motion picture starring Timothée Chalamet as Nic and Steve Carell as his father, David. The film, which earned Golden Globe and SAG nominations for Chalamet, is based on Nic’s New York Times bestselling memoir, Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines and David’s bestseller of the same title. In his talk, “Tweak: A Harrowing, but Hopeful Portrait of Addiction,” Nic puts a compelling human face on our nation’s substance abuse epidemic, encouraging those who struggle to embrace help and bringing hope to all who are touched by it.
The Honorable
Malcolm Turnbull
Former Australian Prime Minister, 2015-2018
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 7:30 pm
Malcolm Turnbull, the 29th Prime Minister of Australia, possesses a unique and timely understanding of the current geopolitical moment. As Prime Minister, he forged lasting connections with world leaders and speaks to the influence that their politics have on the world. During his tenure, he was involved in key policy decisions that have not only altered Australian society but also have international implications for other countries facing similar issues – same-sex marriage, environmental conservation and energy crises, global trade, cyber security, and the ever-worsening refugee crisis. He will share his valuable insights into issues impacting the world during “An Evening with Malcolm Turnbull.”
Brian Skerry
Underwater photographer
Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 7:30 pm
National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry has spent more than 10,000 hours underwater, often in extreme conditions beneath Arctic ice and in predator-infested waters. Journey with him from the North Atlantic, where harp seals face off with commercial hunters, to the Gulf of St. Lawrence in search of Atlantic blue fin tuna, and to research facilities studying dolphin intelligence. The images he captures while on assignment offer a mesmerizing glimpse of the “soul of the sea.” During his presentation, “Ocean Soul,” you will voyage across the oceans and discover a vast, hidden world beneath the waves. 
Henry Winkler
Emmy Award-winning actor, author, director, and producer
Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 7:30 pm
From his breakout role as The Fonz on Happy Days to his current role co-starring as acting coach Gene Cousineau on the hit HBO dark comedy Barry, Henry Winkler has enjoyed over four decades of success as an actor, producer, and director. Beyond this Emmy Award-winning actor’s success on stage and screen, Henry is a New York Times best-selling author. His works include a 34-book children’s series co-authored with Lin Oliver and inspired by his own struggles with undiagnosed dyslexia. During “An Evening with Henry Winkler,” he will share humorous anecdotes and inspirational lessons based on his life and storied career.
Dinner in
Grand Upton Hall
5:30 pm before each speaker event
Member price - $25 per dinner
Join us for a buffet dinner served in Grand Upton Hall before each speaker this season. Each dinner will include a 15- to 30-minute program featuring local relevant topics or entertainment beginning at 6:30. Dinner program content will be communicated as more details become available. Following dinner, you will take a short walk through The Mendel Center to the Mainstage where your reserved speaker presentation seats await. As an Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speakers Series member, you have the first opportunity to reserve your place at dinner – at special member pricing – before tickets are made available to the public. You may order dinner tickets when you purchase your membership. Seating is limited
Order your membership today!
Important dates
Wednesday, June 5 - Memberships open to the public
Wednesday, June 12 - Individual speaker tickets go on sale