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 April 2022

Reflecting on Q1 with our President & CEO, Rick Baker

It's hard to believe it's already April! The year is already a quarter of the way done. At our Annual Meeting in February, we presented an economic forecast from the Seidman College of Business. The big takeaways were that Grand Rapids was on a growth trajectory, with the biggest issue in the region being talent. 

We sat down with Rick Baker, the Chamber's President & CEO, to hear what he is seeing in his interactions with the Grand Rapids community, what he's excited for in 2022, and how he thinks our community is rebounding from the pandemic.

This is an episode of the Back to Business podcast you won't want to miss.

Minority Business Councils Lift Up Next Wave of Community Leaders

The Grand Rapids Chamber has formed several Minority Business Councils to bring together diverse leaders, create an inclusive culture in West Michigan, and raise up the next generation of diverse leaders in our community.

"We don't see a lot of minorities or people of color in these conversations, especially at the local and state level," said Caylie Peet, the Minority Business Program Manager at the Chamber. "In the future, our goal is to see these leaders flourish and grow to the point where they're in the seats of county and city commissioners, leaders in their industries, and others are looking up to them as examples. 
When you think of the big names in our city, we want diverse names to come to mind." 

Read more and get involved, here

Institute for Healing Racism Takes Broader Emphasis; Renamed to Inclusion Institute

Diversity, equity, and inclusion were always important. But they haven't always looked the same. The Grand Rapids Chamber has re-envisioned the Insititute for Healing Racism to continue the conversations on inequality from a broader lens, incorporating newer concepts and highlighting the importance of racial equity in our communities.

Learn more about the new curriculum, which is launching this May, 

Grand Rapids Connect Welcomes New Grand Rapidians with VIP Experiences

If a new coworker asked you what experiences are the epitome of Grand Rapids, what's the first thing you'd recommend? Grand Rapids Connect, a new program of the Chamber, was created to help new or returning professionals build relationships while getting a high-speed introduction to the area. With introductions to restaurants, entertainment, shopping, and more, this overnight retreat will guide the newest residents of Grand Rapids through the ins and outs of the city while helping them build friendships along the way. 

West Michigan's Big Impact on Earth Day

This Earth Day, we're celebrating with our members and recognizing an organization that's making an impact in West Michigan and beyond.

John Ball Zoo is committed to making a difference not just in West Michigan, but also across the world. Over 50% of their conservation efforts are focused on West Michigan and the Great Lakes. The rest of their conservation efforts, just like the animals that call the zoo home, span the globe.

Tri-Share Comes to Kent County, Expands Throughout the State
Employers have the opportunity to provide affordable child care today

For the past few years, your Grand Rapids Chamber Government Affairs team has been hard at work addressing the child care crisis in West Michigan and beyond. Led by the Chamber, this coalition of policy makers, industry leaders, and other stakeholders developed The Michigan Tri-Share Pilot.  

In Kent County, 
Vibrant Futures was recently selected as the facilitator HUB and is currently accepting applications for organizations who could benefit from child care support. 
Read more about the program below!

Chamber Team Change-Ups!
We're pleased to announce some staff transitions on the Chamber team! Yadira Garza-Malone has been named our new Director of Development. In this role, Yadira will work to provide strategic visibility and enhanced engagement opportunities for the businesses and organizations invested in the work of the Grand Rapids Chamber. Additionally, Amanda Hentsch has been promoted to Director of Membership. Amanda will lead our membership team as they provide resources and connections for our 2,400+ members in both times of growth, and times of need. Congratulations Yadira and Amanda!
April 2022:
14 | Business Exchange Luncheon
26 | ATHENA Grand Rapids Walking Tour
27 | Hump Day Happy Hour
29 | Latina Connect
May 2022:
06 | Monthly Government Affairs Update
12 | Business Exchange Luncheon
17 | Diversity & Talent Webinar Series
18 | OutPro: Rise Up – Stepping OUT into Grand Rapids
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