Robin Hornkohl

Great Start Collaborative Coordinator

Robin brings over 18 years of invaluable experience in the field of Early Childhood Education. She holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Grand Valley State University. Outside of work, Robin is a loving mother to three children. She enjoys taking walks, collecting antique glass and spending quality time with her kids in her free time.

Lauren Dake

Family Liaison of the Great Start Collaborative

Lauren joined our Great Start Collaborative team in 2024. She brings a diverse background spanning the private, public, and non-profit sectors of early childhood organizations.  She holds a degree in Recreation Management and has furthered her expertise with college courses in Early Childhood. When not at work, Lauren is an avid runner and cyclist, and she takes pleasure in tackling various house projects. Her dynamic approach to both her professional and personal life brings a unique and valuable perspective to our team.

Missy Smith

Family Liaison of the Great Start Collaborative

Missy Smith is a mom to 4 lovely daughters, a lifelong resident of Michigan, and passionate about the nurturing and education of young children. She was an elementary classroom teacher for over 10 years and holds degrees in education from both the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, working with children and families for over 30 years.

Much of her work in the community centers around finding and sharing parent voice to improve our early childhood system to achieve better outcomes for children. Missy guides parent-led work on parent-identified projects within the Great Start Collaborative and 5toONE Network to ensure that children are healthy, thriving and developmentally on track, ready to succeed in school and life. This includes helping families access affordable, high quality early care and learning and building strong families through meaningful community interaction.

“Being a parent is my most important work.  Our children, no matter how they come to us, have so much to offer the world and deserve our complete respect and devotion. Children are the culmination of our most powerful efforts and emotions and there is nothing more worthy or satisfying than to witness their growth into compassionate, creative, hard-working, thoughtful, and giving members of society.”