A successful Detroit businessman, Saleem Usmani planned on relocating with his pregnant wife to Chicago to start their family. However, on the way to his job interview, Saleem stopped to chat with a growing furniture company in West Michigan. Four hours later, Saleem accepted a position with Herman Miller, convinced the company provided the opportunities he sought and the region provided the community he desired for raising a family. A few years later, Saleem embarked with his growing family to enjoy their first Tulip Time. The Usmanis were enchanted by the stunning tulip blooms and the rich culture preserved and celebrated throughout the festival. According to Indian tradition, flowers carry meaning, often speaking to purity and innocence. As a result, flowers are cherished throughout India, particularly those blooms not native to the country: many Indians have never seen a tulip before in their lives. For Saleem, this means Tulip Time not only has something to treasure of Dutch culture, but something to celebrate of Indian culture as well. Perhaps that is why Saleem finds such joy in managing volunteer efforts to assist tourists, and particularly Indian tourists, in enjoying the festival. From helping tourists plan their days to assisting in the coordinating of meals that suit their cultural dietary requirements, Saleem never tires of introducing people who share his culture to the region of the world that has shaped his family’s community.
“Ever since my first Tulip Time experience, I have been amazed by the diverse array of cultures drawn to the festival, and I love that culture is celebrated so intentionally throughout Tulip Time.”
Herman Miller Employee
Tulip Time Volunteer