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Ashlee Willis: Building a Business and a Strong Community

Ashlee Willis: Building a Business and a Strong Community
Mom of three, entrepreneur, and (almost) habitual community servant. As CEO of Michigan Premier Events, our guest Ashlee Willis built her business and her family almost simultaneously. Join us as we talk through how to manage both, while still carving out time to make your community a better place.

We talk a lot about wearing many hats on the podcast. As business owners, active members of our communities, and moms, we know very well that those hats come with the territory. But few people exemplify this concept of thriving through multitasking quite like Ashlee Willis.

Ashlee is CEO and founder of Michigan Premier Events, an event management company for association, government, and corporate events across the state. Through her work, she combines skills from a broad academic background in business and visual arts, overseeing the creative thinking, logistics, and various other juggling that comes along with event planning.

Beyond the office, Ashlee is a familiar face in her community. She’s active on a number of boards, including Downtown Lansing Inc., United Way of Southwest Michigan, Arts Council of Greater Lansing, ATHENA WIN, and Strikeout Baseball. Most importantly, however, she’s also a mom of three boys.

Yep, it’s safe to say Ashlee’s closet of hats is pretty full. Through it all, how does she find a way to give back, mentor others, and make it all work? Ashlee discusses how lessons from all of her experiences — from event management, to sitting on boards, to family life — overlap to create better end products overall.

Mentioned in this episode:
Michigan Premier Events
Downtown Lansing Inc.



The Rosita is a fiery, red cocktail with roots tracing back to Greg Boehm’s 1974 edition of Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide. The recipe we use has been modernized a bit, delivering a slightly sweeter taste than the Negroni-esque original ingredients. Translating to “little rose” in Spanish, this drink is an elegant, slow-sipper that pairs just as well with a lively cocktail party as it would with a quiet night in with a good book.


  • 1 ½ oz. reposado tequila
  • ½ oz. Martini Rosso vermouth
  • ½ oz. Dolin dry vermouth
  • ½ oz. Campari
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 1 orange twist, to garnish


  1. Combine all ingredients and stir with ice.
  2. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  3. Garnish with an orange twist and enjoy.

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