Focus on failure: Thursday program to highlight mistakes made on the road to success

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

BENTON TOWNSHIP — An international movement showcasing personal stories of failure is coming to Southwest Michigan on Thursday.

Known as Failure:Lab, the unique format features a diverse blend of storytelling, music and audience interaction.

Failure:Lab Southwest Michigan will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday on the campus of Lake Michigan College at the Hanson Theatre, 2755 E. Napier Ave. in Benton Township.

The event’s main draw is the focus on failure and the often harsh consequences that follow. There are no lessons or recycled mantras about overcoming adversity, said Cornerstone Alliance President Rob Cleveland.

“It’s a unique way of sharing failure and talking about how people can work through their failures on their way to success,” Cleveland said. “It’s not something that’s been done here before. We started with a large list of candidates to speak and found a diverse group of storytellers that could be relatable to just about anybody.”

This edition of Failure:Lab features a lineup of storytellers that includes Andrea Metes-Wilamowski, a former contestant on NBC’s “Biggest Loser”; Pysche Terry, owner of Urban Intimates; David Krock, founder of Sunset Coast Brands; and Jerry Price, founder of the Make Life Happen project.

Failure:Lab was founded in 2012 by a group of West Michigan professionals to try to help others manage fear of failure, and how to move past it.

The format allows each speaker to share a personal failure of what went wrong with no lessons learned. Between each speaker, a performance follows to sort of “clear the air” and allow the audience to recharge.

Speakers will bluntly present their darkest hours with confidence, while working to remove the stigma of failure.

“The Leadership Accelerator class is grateful this community invested in us and we wanted to offer something back to the community,” said Lisa Borre, chairperson of Failure:Lab Southwest Michigan. “Failure:Lab allows us to think about failure as an innovative way to resolve problems and encourage risk taking.”

The event hinges on audience engagement, which takes place during and after the event through social media and organic conversations within the audience.

During the musical breaks audience members will have time to reflect and share their thoughts with others in the audience and on Twitter with the hashtag #FailureLab. Performers during musical breaks will include Leah Tirado, Mike Koch, Char Jones and David Carlock, among others.

Tickets cost $25 per person and are available online at Seating is limited to 250.

For more information about Failure:Lab, visit:

Contact Tony Wittkowski at or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Oct. 25, 2016)

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