Chamber Blog

Announcing the LGR Class of 2019

The Grand Rapids Chamber is proud to announce the upcoming 2019 Leadership Grand Rapids Class, a program of the Chamber’s Center for Community Leadership (CCL). Leadership Grand Rapids provides an intensive, nine-month program focused on community leadership. The day-long monthly class sessions take a deep-dive into issues impacting our community. Four platforms support the program curriculum: Leadership Skills, Diversity, Community Connections, and Systems Thinking. The sessions are not intended to provide answers, but rather to equip leaders with the tools and knowledge necessary for them to tackle challenges as stewards of our community.

We are excited to welcome the next class of Leadership Grand Rapids. We look forward to working with them in the coming year and see what they accomplish, “says Megan Smith Jovanovic, VP of Talent Development at the Grand Rapids Chamber. “The Class of 2019 represents a broad cross section of leaders in business, nonprofit and government who will contribute much to the Grand Rapids community through the learning that takes place in this program and well into the future.”

Leadership Grand Rapids Class of 2019

Travis Atkinson, Crisis Systems Specialist/Associate Consultant, TBD Solutions

Jen Brougham , Associate Attorney, McShane & Bowie, P.L.C.

Joe Chamberlin, Vice President of Finance and Administration, West Michigan Whitecaps

Chris Crook, SVP Information Services/CIO Priority Health, Spectrum Health/Priority Health

Jen Cutter, Regional General Manager, AHC+Hospitality

Gabriella De La Vega, Medical Interpreter, Hispanic Center of Western Michigan

Theresa DeVries, People Strategist, HR Collaborative

Steve Dyer, Director of Marketing & Communications, The Potter’s House

Joe Easterday, Project Manager, Van Haren Electric Inc.

Karyn Ferrick, Government & Legislative Affairs Manager, City of Grand Rapids

Sandra Gaddy, CEO, Women’s Resource Center

Isabel Garcia, Director of Leadership Development and Education/Owner, West Side Collaborative/Dreams by Bella

John Gardiner, Member, Bodman PLC

Carolyn Johnsen Clayton, Director of Annual Giving, Grand Valley State University

Margrethe Kearney, Senior Attorney, Environmental Law & Policy Center

Julie Lankes, Principal & Creative Director, BOXBOOM.creative

Joel Lautenbach, Executive Director of Development, Samaritas

Val Lego, Health Reporter/Anchor, WZZM TV 13

James Lewis, Development Director, Pinnacle Construction Group

Rick Meyering, Director of Operations, Camp Blodgett

Lee Moyer, Senior Process Improvement Specialist, Spectrum Health

Tim Noonan, Regional Manager, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Ben Oliver, Challenge Scholars Advisor, Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Matt Orazem, Vice President, Senior Private Banker, Huntington Bank

Jim Overbeck, Vice President, Fifth Third Private Bank

Kelsey Perdue, Assistant Campus Director & Bootcamp Program Manager            , Grand Circus

Courtney Philips, Union Representative, United Food & Commercial Workers Local 951

Alexis Rangel, Community Relations Manager, Lake Michigan Credit Union

Evan Sassack, Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch

Rochelle Sather, Practice Leader II, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s

Jenn Schaub, Neighborhood Specialist, Dwelling Place

Pete Schmidt, Partner, Varnum LLP

Tod Stevens, Learning Practice Leader, Progressive AE

Michael TerHorst, Vice President, Antares Capital

Caitlin Townsend Lamb, Senior Corporate Manager, Cascade Enterprise System, Cascade Engineering

LaTarro Traylor, Stakeholder, GR Community

Amirah Vosburgh, Manager of School and Community Partnerships, Grand Valley State University Charter Schools Office

Allie Walker, Senior Account Executive, Truscott Rossman

Liz Washington, Grants Manager, Kid’s Food Basket

Troy Whittaker , Vice President, Services, ITS Partners

Cheri Williams, Regional Director, Bethany Christian Services

Jennifer Wilson, Foundation Director, Metro Health Hospital Foundation

Ellen Zwarensteyn, Executive Director, Michigan Center for Civic Education

The announcement follows last evening’s CCL Annual Fundraiser, hosted by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. The event directly benefits scholarships that enable new leaders to grow and make connections through CCL’s various community leadership and skill-building programs each year. Due to the success of last night’s event, more than $20,000 in scholarships will be granted in 2019.

The LGR Class of 2019 kicks off in late August and runs through May 2019. Those interested in applying for future cohorts can visit or contact Megan Smith Jovanovic at Applications will open in early spring 2019.


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