The Waymaker: The First Michigan Man Still Blazes His Trail

The heart of a true Waymaker? The first Michigan Man died 192 years ago — but his work still influences my work

Joseph Serwach
Leadership Culture

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The Waymaker, the rock-solid leader we count on, sees through uncertainty. Waymaker visions are seen for years — or centuries.

What is a Waymaker? A trailblazer, a pathfinder, and an original pioneer who creates new roads — and ways of life, pulling people together. Eventually, we realize we’re still on a path the Waymaker put us on.

Look at Texas, the Lone Star standing out in every crowd. Sam Houston was the Texas Waymaker. He led a revolution that made Texas an independent country a decade before Texans became Americans.

My native Michigan has its own Waymaker, the first Michigan Man (founder of the University of Michigan). Gabriel Richard was a French immigrant who narrowly escaped angry revolutionaries. In Michigan, he blazed many new highways and ways of life.

I’ve known about Gabriel Richard most of my life, but only recently considered how much of his work influenced our own work — transforming the culture and character of the state he shaped before it became one:

It will rise from the ashes: Navigating the…

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Joseph Serwach
Leadership Culture

Story + Identity = Mission. Leadership Culture, Journalism, Branding Education. Inspiration: Catholic, Polish. https://serwachjoe.medium.com/membership