Diversity Equity Inclusion Summit

Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce / Events & Programs / Diversity Equity Inclusion Summit

Diversity Makes us Stronger

The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce is proudly committed to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion within our organization and our business community.

In principle and practice, the Chamber believes in the value and power of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Without it, we limit our talent, resources and the business opportunities necessary to thrive in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.

To be a top-of-mind region that keeps talent and grows success for all, we must be open to accepting, welcoming, and engaging all people—whatever their socioeconomic backgrounds, skin color, religious beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, or any other identifying differences.

Let’s look to the future and find ways we can work together to support a strong, diverse, and vibrant West Michigan. Your Chamber stands ready to help.

The D.E.I. (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) Summit provides Chamber members and the community with a deeper understanding of the business case for diversity, equity and inclusion. Attendees will gain connections, information and tools to advance their professional skills and business strategies.

Check out our 2017 program below!



Attendees will challenge their personal beliefs and views with the nationally acclaimed DEFAMATION, by Todd Logan – A riveting courtroom drama that explores the highly charged issues of race, religion, gender, class and the law. Here’s the twist: the audience is the jury.


Cultural Transition: Moving from a Corporate Culture to an Inclusive Culture

Facilitated by Jason Reep SHRM-SCP, SPHR, Director of Learning & Inclusion, The Employers’ Association

Sometimes, cultural expectations are entirely different than the stated “Guiding Principles” and “Core Values” of an organization. This session will help differentiate traditional organizational cultures from inclusive, equitable cultures and provide tips to help move closer to inclusion.

Empathy Listening: How Story Can Overcome Bias

Shavon Doyle-Holton, Senior Consultant at Inclusive Performance Strategies (IPS) & Kirk Eklund, Program Manager of Public Agency at WMCAT

Using biology, design thinking and learning by doing, participants will work through how empathy can be practiced as a way to overcome bias. With a focus on tools and practice, this workshop will be a hands-on experience where participants will leave with practical next steps in place.

Mercy Health’s Journey to Creating an Equitable Workforce

Facilitated by Shana Welch, SHRM-SCP, Regional Director of Talent Acquisition, Mercy Health

Shana Welch will describe how the talent acquisition team is using data to make better hiring decisions. Evidence of job-related competencies improves fair and objective hiring decisions and results in both improved diversity and quality-of-hire. The Mercy Health outcomes are based on over 10,000 external hires over the last six years. This process can be easily replicated by other employers to improve diversity. Working together, we can “move the needle” on inclusion and equity in Grand Rapids.

Driving Innovation through Supplier Diversity

Facilitated by Kavy Lenon, Senior Supplier Diversity Manager, Herman Miller Inc. with panelists: Michael Davenport, Owner, Jireh Metals; Karen Scarpino, Owner, Green Giftz; and Andrew Sims, Director, Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council

Supplier Diversity is proven to be crucial in fostering the development of new ideas and achieving success in the marketplace. When organizations build an inclusive supply chain which incorporates a diverse set of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences, they can realize a substantial increase in innovation and creative views and perspectives on the diverse markets and customers we all serve. This session is designed to assist organizations seeking to develop a new, or strengthen an existing, supplier diversity initiative.


Keynote Address: Cultural Intelligence and Why West Michigan Businesses Need It
Sandra Upton, Vice President of Educational Initiatives, Cultural Intelligence Center.

Sandra Upton will introduce the cultural intelligence research and model, as well as its relevance to diversity and the West Michigan business community.

Sandra Upton leads the Cultural Intelligence Center’s work with schools and universities. In addition, she’s a regular speaker, trainer, and consultant on cultural intelligence with companies and non-profit organizations. As a former business school dean and organizational consultant, Sandra understands how to effectively integrate CQ with organizations’ D&I initiatives and global leadership programs. She has also facilitated study abroad experiences in places such as China, Europe, Israel, and South Africa.



Premier Sponsor

Event Underwriter

Award Sponsor

Lead Supporter


Chamber Champion

Demonstrate your company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion by sponsoring the Diversity & Inclusion Forum, contact Omar Cuevas at 616-771-0357 or omarc@grandrapids.org.