Board members

Wealth, work, and wisdom leveraged for building community

As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, The Lansing Journal does not have an owner and is instead governed by an independent, volunteer board of directors. Board members are chosen because they believe in the Journal’s mission of building community, and they understand the importance of independent, local journalism. The Lansing Journal’s board is a lean, active board, with high expectations for involvement. Readers who are interested in being considered for a term of board service should email [email protected] to request information.

Jose Gutierrez

Jose Gutierrez, McDonald’s

When Jose Gutierrez added the Lansing McDonald’s to his portfolio of local franchises, he brought a sense of community investment to the enterprise. Jose is a dynamic bilingual entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience with some of the most iconic brands in the world — McDonald’s, Verizon Wireless, and Anheuser-Busch. His marketing savvy and hands-on management style have contributed to increased revenues and market share, but it is his investment in people that earns him long-term returns. Jose is a strategic leader who brings planning and project management expertise to The Lansing Journal board, helping to measurably exceed goals and expectations.

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Melanie Jongsma

Melanie Jongsma, The Lansing Journal

Recognizing that people in her hometown did not have an independent source of information about community events, local government decisions, business developments, or school activities, Melanie Jongsma founded The Lansing Journal in 2017. The venture began as a partnership with the Shopper in South Holland, a free weekly print paper. When the 2020 pandemic shuttered print operations, The Lansing Journal became its own LLC under Melanie’s leadership. Melanie brings to The Lansing Journal board an intentionality about building community by representing Lansing’s diversity in the Journal’s content, advertising, supporters, and writing team.

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Pat Kremer

Patricia Kremer, Big Splash PR

Pat Kremer is a principal at Big Splash Public Relations, a Lansing-based firm that provides marketing and media services to clients across the United States. Her career began as Director of Public Relations and Advertising for Chicago’s Field Museum, where she brought international acclaim to the museum by creating a publicity triumph for a dinosaur named Sue. Pat has served as president of the Publicity Club of Chicago and was an adjunct professor at Columbia College. She has a B.A. in Communications from Mundelein College. She brings to The Lansing Journal board a passion for local news, a love of Lansing, and a gift for connecting people.

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Pastor Thaddeus Searcy

Thaddeus Searcy, Freedom Church Ministries

As Senior Pastor of Freedom Church Ministries, Thaddeus Searcy has unique opportunities and resources for building community in Lansing. His multi-ethnic, multi-generational, non-denominational congregation — which moved to Lansing after outgrowing their previous location — has grown because of the creative ways they find to serve the broader community. “Our goal is to be a place where the community can gather,” said Thaddeus about his church. He brings to The Lansing Journal board a vision for possibilities and a contagious enthusiasm that attracts participation.

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