Our Priorities

About Us

The Council of the Great Lakes Region provides a binational, multi-sector forum for exchange and collaboration on the region’s key risks and opportunities. Beginning with conversations about the Region’s most critical issues, the Council encourages those with common interests to drive commitment and action through dialogue groups, research, advocacy, and programs.

Our Vision

To create the most prosperous, innovative, sustainable, livable, and welcoming region in the world.

Our Mission

CGLR will lead a new era of economic growth, environmental protection, and individual well-being by connecting diverse interests and sectors across the binational Great Lakes economic region to one another, discovering solutions to complex policy problems, and influencing decisions that affect the region’s long-term competitiveness and sustainability.

Looking Back
At Our History


Brookings Research on the Great Lakes region leads to regional summit

Following the Brookings Institute’s extensive work on the future of the Great Lakes economy, in 2011, over 250 leaders – government, business, labor, non-profit, and academic – came together in Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region Summit jointly convened by Brookings and the University of Toronto.


U.S. and Canadian ambassadors support the Council's formation

To fill this void and to implement the Vital Commons Agenda, also referred to as the “Detroit-Windsor Consensus”, the Council of the Great Lakes Region was launched in 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio, with the support of then United States Ambassador to Canada, David Jacobson, and Canada’s Ambassador to the United States, Gary Doer.


Regional leaders at the Summit clarified their needs

Gaps in regional leadership, knowledge sharing, and advocacy needed to be filled, but that no one organization existed to bring these interrelated binational interests together and speak to the region’s priorities.


The Summit sought broad improvements on regional collaboration

Many policy areas were identified where stronger collaboration and voice were needed when it comes to building the region’s future economy, preserving a healthy ecosystem, and deepening cross-border and cross-sector collaboration and partnerships.


The Council fosters dialogue on important regional issues

Working with many of the region’s organizations and diverse interests, the Council seeks to inform state, provincial and federal decision-makers in both countries about the region’s long-term economic, social, and environmental goals. It also connects private, public, and nonprofit actors across the region, cultivating a strong regional voice to promote shared interests and solutions to the region’s common challenges.

Join Us

The Council of the Great Lakes Region provides a binational, multi-sector forum for exchange and collaboration on the region’s key risks and opportunities. Learn more about how we lead change.

Who We Are

Honorary Patrons

Distinguished advocates for the Council of the Great Lakes Region

Bruce Heyman

U.S. Ambassador

David Wilkins

U.S. Ambassador

James Blanchard

U.S. Ambassador

Gary Doer

Canadian Ambassador

Michael Kergin

Canadian Ambassador

Raymond Chretien

Canadian Ambassador

Jim Peterson

Trade Minister

Jean Charest

Québec Premier

Board of Directors

Governors of the Council of the Great Lakes Region

Steve Petras


Brian Ames

Vice Chair

Geoff Wilson

Vice Chair

Will Friedman


Wayne Garnons-Williams


Brenda Drinkwalter


Heather Ferguson


Howard Learner


Mark Lukowski


Matt McCurdy


Priya Patil


Chuck Peters


Blair Severn


Pat Whalen


Jeffrey Weiss



Advancing the mission of the Council of the Great Lakes Region

Mark Fisher

President & CEO

Mark Fisher was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Council of the Great Lakes by the Council’s board in 2014. Mark has 13 years of experience in policy-making, strategic business planning, corporate communications, stakeholder engagement, public advocacy, and issues management and experience in international affairs, with a focus on advancing the U.S.-Canada relationship.

Lora Shrake

Senior Program Director, Business & Sustainability

Lora Shrake is the Senior Program Director, Business and Sustainability for the Council of the Great Lakes Region. With over 20 years of experience, Lora has dedicated her career to the environment and sustainability issues. Her management and leadership spans across non-profit operations, environmental program management, stakeholder engagement, strategy, and research. Prior to joining CGLR, Lora led a national green building council in the United Arab Emirates where she oversaw all aspects of the organization’s cross-functional development, including its impact and reach.

Abby Bodzick

Marketing and communications coordinator

Abby Bodzick is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for the Council of the Great Lakes Region. Abby is a graduate of Central Michigan University where she studied Communications and Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts. She’s spent the last five years enhancing brand recognition, engagement, and outreach for organizations throughout the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. She brings to CGLR a rich background in digital media, videography, and graphic design services throughout a variety of industries including resort/entertainment, mental health, and IT.

Laura Asiala

External sustainability advisor

Laura Asiala is the External Sustainability Advisor for the Council of the Great Lakes Region. Passionate about the power of business to help solve the world’s most intransigent problems, she has extensive experience leading efforts to attract more participation of companies to contribute to global, sustainable development, through their people and their work.

Our Structure

The Council of the Great Lakes Region is a binational network of organizations comprised of: (1) Council of the Great Lakes Region, an Ohio nonprofit corporation exempt from federal income tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (as amended, the “Code”) and classified as a trade association described in Code section 501(c)(6) (“CGLR USA”); (2) CGLR Foundation, an Ohio nonprofit corporation exempt from federal income tax under section 501(a) of the Code and classified as a public charity described in Code section 501(c)(3) (“CGLR Foundation”); and the Council of the Great Lakes Region, a Canadian non-profit corporation (“CGLR Canada”). 

We depend on the support of individual members, government grants, private foundations, and corporate sponsorship to make our work possible. We welcome the support of the diverse institutions and individuals who share our vision for the future of the binational Great Lakes megaregion.

Stay informed

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email us directly at info(at)councilgreatlakesregion.org.