This past year has been a big one for Mike Dokter. He entered into a partnership with his wife, Shea, and their interior design ﬁrm Designing Detroit, added the role of IPEX instructor to his teaching repertoire, continued to expand his consulting and speaking career, launched a podcast and received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Davenport University.
We don’t know how he found the time, but Dokter sat down with us to answer a few questions about his new podcast, Michigan Business Talk.
Q: What’s the premise behind Michigan Business Talk?
A: I really wanted Michigan business leaders to have a place to share what they’ve learned along their personal and professional journeys. They have so much to oﬀer in terms of advice and knowledge when it comes to coaching, life lessons, business topics and entrepreneurship. They share their wisdom in what we call the “Interview Series.” The show is also full of vignettes with tips and tricks about lessons I’ve learned in the business world or topics of the day.
The third part of the podcast we’re hoping will also appeal to kids, and I’m working on it with my son, Broton. He’s reading various success books right now, like “Chop Wood, Carry Water” and “Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn for Kids” by Maxwell. He’s going to join me on the podcast and give a book review along with his perspective on what he’s learned. I’m super excited about this part of the show because it’s a way for me to communicate with him on his level about the important subject matter and get important messages out to younger kids, while also allowing Broton to be the star of the show for a bit.
Q: Who are your guests?
A: My guests are people I view as mentors who have added some major value to my life, but also have a lot of wisdom to impart to my audience. Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to Mike Dykstra, a fellow Davenport grad and the president & CEO of Zeeland Lumber Holdings, LLC. Mike took what we learned from our Executive MBA program and used it to take his local company regional and national. It’s a great story about expansion.
One of my ﬁrst podcasts was with Blaine Feyen, who’s not only a life and career coach but also an Aikido instructor. Blaine has experience getting people to the next level of their careers and has worked with thousands of students. We also interviewed Zachariah Booker for the podcast about his successes and failures as an entrepreneur, and speciﬁcally about his latest business venture geared toward easier and more accurate ADHD diagnoses. Just yesterday I had an awesome conversation with a former business partner and great friend, Rob Stam, where it seemed like every line that came out of his mouth was pure gold.
I also have a verbal commitment to interview Frank Novakowski, a Davenport University legend and former professor of mine. I’m really excited about that one, as well as my upcoming talk with Lisa Howze, the VP of Detroit campuses and strategic partnerships at Davenport University. She’s a great business and servant leader in Detroit, and I can’t wait to hear what she has to say.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about your podcast?
A: Michigan Business Talk has given me an avenue to reconnect with people who have been really inﬂuential in my life. I see them in the news or on social media, and I know they’re doing great things. I’m excited to give them a platform to talk about their projects or their latest venture. Our discussions are spawning new ideas for collaboration and inspiration as well as teaching awesome lessons of leadership and entrepreneurship for any business manager.
Q: What inspired you to launch this podcast?
A: I previously hosted a podcast that was centered around Detroit’s real estate community, but I wanted to tell a bigger story of what was going on in Michigan. I was also listening to Gary Vee’s podcast where his advice to a listener was to “take action.” He told the guy to stop talking about starting his own podcast and just do it. I followed the listener and listened to his podcast. Immediately, I started thinking of ways I could improve the model, and that’s when it occurred to me I could start my own podcast. I ordered a mobile studio and audio equipment, made some phone calls to people I know who are great conversationalists and booked some interviews.
There are so many great stories of entrepreneurs and business leaders in Michigan who are reachable, who want to share their stories and who will go out of their way to help you. Whenever I talked with them in the past, I would always say, “I should have recorded that!” Now I’m making it a point to do so.
Q: Is there anyone you’d love to interview?
A: I’m a huge sports fan and a huge Detroit Pistons fan, so I think Ben Wallace would be a great interview. I’d love to discuss his connection to Michigan as a former Pistons champion and as the current co-owner of the Grand Rapids Drive. Tom Gores, the Detroit Pistons owner, would be an exciting interview, too. He’s got deep roots in the Detroit community, and I’d love for him to share his thoughts on rebuilding an organization that brings in top players, a new front oﬃce and coaching staﬀ to the Pistons. He also brought the team back to the city of Detroit, which was awesome for the revitalization of downtown.
The world of sports marketing and management is multifaceted and so interesting. In fact, it’s what I studied in my BBA at Davenport. People are fascinated by it, myself included, and I’m sure a lot of students studying sports management and student-athletes at Davenport dream of working in professional sports. It would be really cool to have someone on the podcast who is from that world.
You can listen to Mike Dokter’s podcast, Michigan Business Talk, on Apple Podcast, GooglePlay, SoundCloud, Spotify and Amazon Alexa by saying, “Alexa! Play Michigan Business Talk on Apple Podcast!”