People don’t wake up one day and say, “I want to be a lobbyist,” at least not most people. But for Wendy Block, Vice President of Business Advocacy for the Michigan Chamber, she knew early on that she had a heart for public policy and problem solving, which made lobbying an easy career choice for her.
“At the Michigan Chamber, we’re talking to our members every day about their pain points and problems – and then setting to work to find a solution," says Wendy. “Someone else created the problem and I have the privilege of figuring out how it can best be fixed. This is probably the most exciting and rewarding aspect of my job; it’s what keeps me going every day.”
In her role as Vice President of Business Advocacy, Wendy is responsible for developing and advancing legislative and regulatory proposals and agendas that represent Chamber members’ interests on a wide range of issues, including health care, legal reform, workforce development and employment law. Wendy also manages the Chamber’s Health and Human Resources Policy Advisory Committee, a member-based committee that helps shape the Chamber’s position on key issues and public policy proposals.
Since joining the Chamber in 2004, Wendy has been consistently identified by lawmakers, lobbyists, association executives and executive branch officials in the biennial MIRS/EPIC-MRA survey as one of Lansing’s most effective single-issue lobbyists.
Prior to joining the Michigan Chamber, Wendy served as a policy advisor for the Michigan House of Representatives covering health insurance, financial services and education issues and held other policy-related positions in the Michigan House and Senate.
“I have a real passion for the issues I work on,” says Wendy. “And I'm proud to say we’ve had tremendous success at the Michigan Chamber on a number of issues that are within my wheelhouse: unemployment insurance reform – paying down a $4 billion debt when most people thought that was insurmountable; reforming Michigan’s outdated workers’ compensation system – a major reform package that has led to significant reduction in worker’s compensation premiums for our employers; and making Michigan a right-to-work state, which was huge.”
Perhaps her greatest success, says Wendy, was amending Michigan’s paid sick leave law in late 2018. “Going from a ballot proposal, which would have required employers to throw their paid sick leave policies out the window and completely start over, to something that is reasonable and tracks with other states, that was a big one.”
“At the Michigan Chamber, we’re not afraid to take risks, but we’re always going to take calculated risks,” says Wendy. “We know that other organizations are looking to us to provide leadership, so we go through a disciplined thought process before we get involved in an issue. But when we do get involved, we play to win.”
Wendy may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.