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Chamber Blog

Sneak Peek: 2021 Diversity and Talent Summit

2021 Diversity & Talent Summit 11

Solutions for Today, Strategies for Tomorrow

The Grand Rapids Chamber’s Diversity & Talent Summit returns on Tuesday, November 16. The agenda features speakers who will examine the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in business. From neighborhood storefronts to global enterprises, implementing solutions to create more inclusive environments for employees and consumers will position businesses to strategically navigate the ever-changing marketplace long-term. Participants can expect to hear success stories, get caught up on the latest community DEI metrics, and explore systems thinking as an approach to embed DEI in business, education, health care, and beyond.

Local Leaders with a Global Perspective

Scott Ayotte and Frances Hogsten, leaders behind Haworth’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, collectively contribute years of experience in supply chain and logistics, human resources, and talent acquisition. Together, they will highlight the latest DEI trends for business and share best practices they’ve picked up along the way. 

Changing the Narrative

Marcel “Fable” Price is Executive Director and one of seven teaching artists who make up The Diatribe, a local non-profit using performing arts to empower young people to share their stories, raise awareness of social issues, and create change within their communities. Price also serves as Executive Director of the 49507 Project, which launched in May 2021 to shift the narrative of the 49507 neighborhoods from that of violence and gentrification to resiliency and beauty. The project’s lifecycle, which has been captured on film, will debut as a brief documentary alongside remarks from Price on the intersectional role art and DEI play in building a better community for all.

Measuring Up

What are the numbers saying? Dr. Paul Isely, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University and go-to economist for the West Michigan region, will reveal the latest diversity, equity, and inclusion metrics and draw inferences about how we can continue moving the needle forward.

Systems Thinking for a Better Tomorrow

There is no silver bullet to overcome the complex issues we face daily at home, at work, and in our community. What could we accomplish if the various systems we interface with — business, education, health care and beyond — embedded diversity, equity, and inclusion into the everyday? We’ll explore the idea further with a panel of community experts.

  • Dr. Sandra Upton, Founder & Chief DEI Strategist, Upton Consulting Group
  • Dr. Kevin Polston, Superintendent, Kentwood Public Schools
  • Dr. Anthony Chang, Founder & CEO, BAMF Health

Courageous Conversations

Has anyone ever calculated the total cost of discrimination in the workplace? Derreck Kayongo, Ugandan refugee turned successful entrepreneur, CEO, and renowned human rights activist, will tackle the subject head-on by sharing how his organization found itself grappling with the issue. Through examination of how diversity and inclusion problems impact your corporate bottom line, Kayongo will reveal the potential savings that come about when employees understand the cost of discrimination and the value of their fellow employees.


Find more information on the 2021 Diversity and Talent Summit: Solutions for Today, Strategies for Tomorrow here. We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, November 16!

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